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Is the the Back to Work Scheme still open?

While first instalment payments are now closed, a second instalment payment is available to an eligible employer who received a first instalment payment, in one remaining category:

  • Employers of unemployed people living in the Latrobe Valley and retrenched workers from the Hazelwood Power Station who started work between 1 January 2017 and 30 June 2020. 

How much can I receive if I hire an eligible employee in a full-time ongoing Victorian job?

You can claim:

  • $5000 per unemployed person living in the Latrobe Valley that you employ from 1 January 2017,
  • $5000 per retrenched Hazelwood Power Station worker employed from 1 January 2017.

This category remains open until the $6 million fund is fully subscribed or 30 June 2020 depending on which occurs first. 

Please note that:

  • Your employee needs to start work with you before 30 June 2018 (dairy industry and automotive workers) or 30 June 2020 (Latrobe Valley unemployed or retrenched Halzelwood Power Station workers) for you to receive the Back to Work payment. While you have nine months from the date of employment to lodge your first instalment claim, if the funding pool is exhausted before we receive your claim, it will not be paid.
  • Payments do not include GST.

Claims can be lodged on or after the day the eligible employee started employment with you.

How do I claim the second instalment payment?

The second instalment payment, where applicable, is available to an eligible employer who received a first instalment payment for their eligible employee.

Employers are encouraged to keep track of the date from which the second instalment payment is available and make their claim online by the due date.

What is included in salary?

Salary refers to the gross cash wage or salary payable for the job before taxation and other deductions. It includes over-award and penalty payments, allowances, commissions and bonuses. It does not include:

  • non-cash benefits,
  • employer (pre-tax) superannuation contributions, or
  • reimbursements for work-related expenses such as travel.

Does a person receiving the Australian Government's Newstart or Youth Allowance qualify as unemployed?

Although receipt of the Newstart or Youth Allowance may be an indicator that a person is unemployed, it is not conclusive that the person meets the unemployment test. 

A person can be unemployed and be ineligible to receive Newstart or Youth Allowance because both are subject to income and asset tests, and depend on various factors such as whether they are single, have a partner or dependent children.

A person can be employed in a casual or part-time job for more than 10 hours per week and still be eligible for Newstart or Youth Allowance, but not be an eligible employee under Back to Work.

What does 'actively looking for work' mean?

It includes one or more of a range of activities that a person must have engaged in during the relevant period, such as:

  • Applying for jobs.
  • Approaching employers about job opportunities.
  • Registering with a recruitment agency and seeking regular updates.
  • Signing up with government job service agencies and completing the required activities.
  • Completing a short training course that is required for doing a particular job.
  • Undertaking volunteer work.

Is there a cap on the number of payments available to an eligible employer? 

No. Eligible employers hiring multiple eligible employees can be paid for each employee meeting the eligibility criteria.

The names of employers receiving more than 100 payments per quarter are published on our website.

What evidence do I need to support my claim?

Supporting evidence does not need to be provided when a claim is lodged, although the claiming employer has to declare they are satisfied that the evidence exists and that they are aware they must retain supporting evidence for five years and make it available to us when requested.

Penalties can apply if a claimant:

  • Fails to keep records to enable the claimant's eligibility for a Back to Work payment to be properly assessed.
  • Includes false or misleading information in a Back to Work record.
  • Fails to keep their Back to Work records for five years.
  • Wilfully damages or destroys a Back to Work record.

The table includes information about the type of evidence you need to support your claim:

Eligible employer You need to provide your details and declare that you believe you are an eligible employer when making your claim. We may verify this, including by checking that you are not a government body or authority, and by reviewing information from WorkSafe about convictions under the Victorian workplace safety laws. 
Eligible employee Evidence of employee eligibility depends on the type of eligible employee. 
Eligible job

An eligible job is an ongoing full-time or part-time Victorian job within the salary limit applicable at the time the employment commences. The evidence to support the nature of the job and the salary will generally include the usual personnel and wage records that an employer is required to create and retain.

Evidence to prove that the job is a Victorian job will include records showing that the employee is required to be insured in Victoria for WorkSafe purposes or any other documents verifying that the employee usually works in Victoria when performing the job.

Can a business employing a worker replace them with a new worker in order to receive a further payment?

The purpose of the Back to Work Scheme is to boost genuine ongoing employment in Victoria.

Employers who hire a number of employees during the year may be eligible for a payment for each new employee provided each new employee meets the eligibility criteria. However, we monitor and may investigate claims to ensure eligibility criteria is met.

How do you store and protect my information?

We take care to protect personal information from misuse or loss, unauthorised access, modification or disclosure. Our policies ensure information is securely stored and destroyed or disposed of when it is no longer relevant or necessary to retain.

Last modified: 9 July 2021
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