Woolworths opts out of JobMaker scheme

Supermarket chain Woolworths has announced the company will not be participating in the newly unveiled JobMaker hiring credit programme of the Federal Government.

In a memo to employees seen by HRD, the retailer said it might not be appropriate to seek JobMaker benefits given the company’s strong financial performance amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

The $74bn JobMaker scheme will provide businesses a weekly wage subsidy of $200 for hiring workers aged 16 to 29 and $100 for those aged 30 to 35.

“We support the spirit and design of this initiative. It aims to accelerate the growth in the employment of young Australians. However, we believe our current circumstances – where we’re fortunate to be trading strongly, and are entering our usual business cycle of hiring for Christmas and Summer – requires us to be thoughtful in what government programs we access,” said Woolworths CEO Brad Banducci and Chief People Officer Caryn Katsikogianis in a joint bulletin.

Despite economic downturn in most other sectors, Woolworths has seen exceptional growth in recent months as revenue increased 8.1% to $63.6bn in financial year 2019-20.

The retailer also plans to ramp up hiring ahead of the holiday shopping season to cope with the spike in customer demand.

“As we move into our busiest trading period, Christmas, we will be recruiting additional team members to support customer demand during this time. These new roles will be provided to Australians of all ages, including many young Australians entering the workplace for the first time. These are opportunities we’ve offered to young people for generations, and will continue to do so proudly,” Woolworths said.

A finalist in the Australian HR Awards 2020, Woolworths is widely recognised for their employee development programmes.

“We are at our best when we live our purpose, ‘We create better experiences together for a better Tomorrow,’ and we look forward to doing so as we go into what we expect to be a busy but COVID-safe Christmas period,” the company said.

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