The JobSeeker rate for almost two million Australians will increase by $50 a fortnight from April 1 after the government phases out its coronavirus supplement.
Currently, an eligible single person with no children is paid $715.70 a fortnight.
Of this, $565.70 consists of the JobSeeker payment and $150 consists of the coronavirus supplement.
The coronavirus supplement ends on March 31, 2021.
The new JobSeeker rate will therefore start from April 1 at $620.80 a fortnight, equating to $310.40 a week, or just over $44 a day.
When compared to pre-pandemic levels, the increase results in a real-world increase of $4 a day for recipients.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison said it was the biggest single increase in unemployment benefits since the mid 1980s.
“It is true that it is the single-largest increase in the JobSeeker payment since the mid-’80s, year-on-year, that is true,” Mr Morrison said.
“But I think the more relevant feature to focus on is its percentage of the minimum wage. It brings up from 37.5 per cent to 41.2 per cent.”
9News political reporter Chris Uhlmann said there had been pressure on the government to increase the payment.
“People have been saying forever that you can’t live on $40 a day and the committee and the government agree with that and there’s been pressure on the government to increase it,” he told Today.
“It was doubled last year with the COVID-19 payment – that’s coming down now and is due to run out by the end of March.
What will JobSeekers need to do to receive payments?
The government will introduce mutual obligation requirements for people receiving Jobseeker payments.
Unemployed people will have to conduct 15 job searches a month, and then on July 1, 20 job searches a month.
“We will also, after six months of being on welfare, require people to enter into an intensive training stage,” Employment Minister Michaelia Cash said.
“In other words, we’re going to give them the best chance they can to do a short course to enhance their skills or to do some work experience.”
Employers will also now be able to contact the government if an unemployed person is offered a job and turns it down.
“Remember, this is all about getting people off welfare and into work,” Senator Cash said.
“The best form of welfare is a job, and we will do everything that we can to move people from welfare into work.”
JobSeeker changes explained
Until March 31 this year, the coronavirus supplement is a fortnightly payment of $150 that is applicable for those receiving the JobSeeker payment, Youth Allowance, Austudy and a number of other payments.
On March 31, the coronavirus supplement will cease and the amount JobSeekers are receiving will revert back to their pre-pandemic levels, plus an additional $50 a fortnight.
How much you receive from JobSeeker depends largely on your personal situation.
Caring for a dependent (like a child) or children will raise your payment, while having a partner will slightly lower your payment.
For the sake of simplicity, let’s assume you are single with no children.
Over the past few months, you were receiving $715.70 a fortnight.
Of this, $565.70 is the government’s JobSeeker payment and $150 is the coronavirus supplement.
From April 1 2021, the base rate of JobSeeker will change to $620.80 a fortnight, equating to $310.40 a week, or just over $44 a day.On March 31, the coronavirus supplement of $150 will end.