Greedy employers will face the wrath of the tax office if they’re caught pocketing JobKepper cash meant for struggling workers.
Greedy employers will face the wrath of the tax office if they’re caught pocketing JobKepper cash meant for struggling workers.

Dob in a dodgy boss to catch wage rorters

A hotline for vulnerable workers to report dodgy bosses trying to rort the JobKeeper scheme is now open.

Unions and industry groups had raised concerns that workers could be exploited and have money withheld by greedy bosses under the $1500 a fortnight wage subsidy.

But Treasurer Josh Frydenberg has warned the Australian Taxation Office will be watching and acting on those that don't do the right thing.

Mayo MP Rebekha Sharkie says she’s already been contacted by a constituent complaining about her employer’s attempt to pocket part of their JobKeeper subsidy for themselves. Picture: Kym Smith
Mayo MP Rebekha Sharkie says she’s already been contacted by a constituent complaining about her employer’s attempt to pocket part of their JobKeeper subsidy for themselves. Picture: Kym Smith

"The ATO has set up a dedicated hotline where employees, employers and the community can report inappropriate behaviour with respect to JobKeeper," he said.

"Employers shouldn't ask their employees to take a cut from their JobKeeper payment as a condition of them signing on."

The announcement comes after Centre Alliance MP Rebekha Sharkie revealed she was contacted by a South Australian employee who was offered her job back on the condition she gave them $600 of the $1500 per fortnight payment in return.

"The employee quite rightly refused and the employer was no longer willing to file the JobKeeper paperwork with the Australian Taxation Office, all the while being quite unpleasant and intimidating throughout the process," Ms Sharkie said.

The worker, who spoke to The Advertiser on the condition of anonymity, said she told her boss it was "illegal" but he continued "trying to guilt me into it".

"He said 'we need to cut a deal'," she has alleged.

"If I was a person that had nothing and was living pay to pay and I was held over a barrel like that, then I would have had to have taken it, I would have seen no way out of that."

The mother has been out of work for a month after her office was closed and does not feel she can resume her job because the "relationship was probably lost".

She is now looking for other casual employment opportunities.

It is unknown if the employer is among more than 50,000 South Australian businesses have registered for Jobkeeper.

Businesses eligible for the scheme will pay their workers a flat $1500 a fortnight even if they usually earn less.

The Australian Taxation Office will then reimburse the employer with payments flowing from the first week in May.

Under protections in the legislation, the Tax Commissioner may make an entity that has made a false statement or engaged in fraud liable to repay the amount, on top of existing criminal or administrative penalties including up to 10 years in jail.

State Opposition leader Peter Malinauskas on Thursday raised concerns about more than 1000 hospitality workers that are ineligible for the payment because they work for government enterprise Adelaide Venue Management Corporation.

"If the Federal Government won't give these workers the JobKeeper payment, the State Government needs to come up with its own special payment or find a way to put these people to work so they can receive an ongoing income," he said.

JobKeeper tip-off hotline is 1800 060 062.

 

Originally published as Dob in a dodgy boss to catch wage rorters


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