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Younger and poorer: The people locked out of JobKeeper

Up to half a million short-term casual workers in industries worst-hit by the pandemic could access JobKeeper if the federal government expanded the scheme to include workers employed at their workplace for fewer than 12 months.

As the government faces calls to widen its wage subsidy program, new research claims the young and poor – “those least able to cope” – will experience the most pronounced financial hit due to the pandemic.

The analysis from Melbourne University’s Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia (HILDA) Survey suggests 28 per cent of the nation’s workforce, or about 3.5 million workers, worked in industries where businesses were forced to close, like hospitality, aviation and the arts, or those that experienced steep declines in turnover, including the real estate, apparel and automotive sectors.

Of these workers, about 500,000 are casuals who have not worked for the same business for more than 12 months, meaning they are ineligible for the $1500 fortnightly payment.

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