COVID-19 and Your Rights at Work

FAQ for apprentices, trainees & workers with a disability

Q: What support is available for apprentices and trainees during the COVID-19 pandemic?

A: There are two types of wage subsidy schemes that can cover apprentices and trainees.

Members can only be on one of these subsidies at any given time, but eligible employers can switch workers from one to the other.

1.    Supporting Apprentices and Trainees

This scheme is limited to small businesses – which are defined as having less 20 employees.

Small businesses can access a 50% wage subsidy for wages paid to apprentices and trainees for the period of 1 January 2020 to 30 September 2020. The apprentice or trainee must have been engaged as at 1 March 2020. The subsidy can move with the apprentice or trainee if they start working for a different employer. There is a cap of $21,000 on the subsidy.

2.    Job Keeper

This only applies where an employer has suffered a revenue reduction of 30% (or 50% for businesses with annual turnover exceeding $1 billion) since 1 March 2020.

The employer will receive a gross payment of $1,500 per fortnight for each eligible apprentice or trainee. In order to be eligible, the apprentice or trainee must have been employed as at 1 March 2020 and remain employed with the same employer.

An eligible employee must receive a minimum gross payment of $1,500 per fortnight from their employer regardless of whether they are working or are stood down. If employees earn more than this from performing duties, they are entitled to their normal wages.

 

Q: Can I receive payments from the Supporting Apprentices and Trainees scheme and the Job Keeper scheme?

A: No, an employer cannot claim both payments at the same time. The employer will need to decide which payment scheme best suits its apprentices and trainees. Any apprentice or trainee who has been stood down without pay will be better off under the Job Keeper scheme.

However, an employer can claim Supporting Apprentices and Trainees payments from 1 January 2020 to 29 March 2020 and then commence claiming Job Keeper payments from 30 March 2020. The periods cannot overlap.

 

Q: If an employee is paid a supported wage rate, are they eligible for Job Keeper payments?

A: Yes, an employee who is paid a supported wage rate is eligible to receive a minimum gross payment of $1,500 per fortnight from the Job Keeper scheme.

However, this will only apply where:

  • their employer suffers a revenue reduction of 30% since 1 March 2020 (50% reduction for employers with a turnover exceeding $1 billion); and
  • if they were employed on 1 March 2020 and remain employed with the same business. A casual employee will not be eligible unless they had worked on a regular and systematic basis for the employer for at least 12 months as at 1 March.

 

Read our full list of JobKeeper FAQs

 

Go back to COVID-19 information centre

 

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