Business accountants Melbourne

Looking to hire? Our small business accountants explain wage subsidies

Published On: October 20, 2018Categories: Accounting, Payroll

Any small business owner knows that recruiting can be expensive.

It’s not just the additional wages you’ll need to pay, either. According to recruitment agency Kelly Services, the average cost per hire is $5,000 for an entry-level position. This number increases with seniority.

And if you hired through an agency, you can expect your final bill to climb even higher!

As small business accountants, our duty is to help you make smart financial decisions for your business.

That includes introducing you to schemes and incentives which can ease the financial burden of hiring new staff.

Fortunately, there are a range of government incentives which you can capitalise on.


Receive up to $10,000 with wage subsidies for new employees

As part of government initiatives to increase workplace participation by underrepresented groups, the Department of Jobs and Small Business is offering wage subsidies.

In essence, these are payments made to your business by the government over a 6-month period to ease the initial cost of hiring new staff.

You may be eligible for a “kickstarter” payment of up to 40% of the total subsidy after four weeks of hiring.

Alternatively, the way this subsidy is delivered can be negotiated between individual businesses and the Department.

The fine print: is your business eligible, and what jobs qualify?

As a federal government scheme, businesses in every state and territory can apply for a wage subsidy.

There are three main requirements of your business:


  • Your business needs an Australian Business Number (ABN)
  • Private ownership – government agencies are excluded
  • You can’t have claimed a subsidy for the same job seeker in the past


Furthermore, there are also certain restrictions on what type of positions you can claim the wage subsidy for.

For starters, while the subsidy can be claimed for both part-time and full-time roles, the average number of hours needs to exceed 20 hours a week. This eliminates the vast majority of casual positions.

The next requirement is that the position meets all the relevant employment standards. That means adhering to relevant awards and agreements.

Additionally, roles that displace existing employees or pay by commission are excluded. Hiring family members also disqualifies you from wage subsidies.

Finally, the position needs to be ongoing – so no contract workers.

“Who can I hire if I want to receive my subsidy?”

To receive a wage subsidy, all new hires must be registered with an participating employment services provider.

The specific eligibility criteria and the value of the subsidy depend on the individual job seeker’s circumstances. Certain job seekers may qualify you for a subsidy of up to $10,000 such as mature age workers and job seekers between 15-25 years of age.

Other job seekers such as those between 25-59, parents (here’s a tip: if they qualify for parenting support, they qualify for wage subsidies too), long-term unemployed and Indigenous Australians are also eligible, albeit to a slightly lower sum of $6,500 per applicant.

And in case you were wondering, yes, apprenticeships and traineeships are also eligible provided they meet the minimum hour and award requirements.

Multiethnic startup business team on meeting in modern bright office interior brainstorming, working on laptop and tablet computer

Other subsidies and incentives

Hiring underrepresented groups isn’t the only way you can reduce the burden of taking on new staff. Other incentives exist for other circumstances, such as…

The Community Development Programme

Designed with the needs of businesses in remote and rural Australia in mind, the Community Development Programme aims to make hiring easier for businesses in remote parts of the country.

You might know it better as “work for the dole”.

While controversial, from an employer’s perspective this programme has made it possible for businesses in remote parts of the country to bring in more staff than they could without it.

The rules are as follows:

  • Job seekers are hired with a minimum requirement of 20 hours per week
  • Job seekers are recipients of Newstart, Parenting Payment or Youth Allowance
  • Your business needs to be based in one of the 60 regions

Depending on whether your job seeker is hired for full-time or part-time work, you could receive a one-off payment of either $7,500 or $3,750 respectively.

Financial support for hiring apprentices

Eager to bring a fresh-faced apprentice into your tradie business? You may be eligible for financial assistance.

Depending on a range of factors, you may receive a subsidy of up to $4,000 per apprentice.

In particular, you’ll want to think about:

  • The qualification your apprentice is training for
  • The duration of your employment relationship
  • How old you apprentice is
  • Where your business is based
  • Any special accommodation your apprentice requires

Unsure whether your freshly hired apprentice qualifies? Click here to find out.


What do your small business accountants have to do with hiring?

There’s no denying that hiring staff can present a considerable expense.

By helping to identify potential incentives and subsidies, our small business accountants can help bring the costs of hiring new staff down.

Identifying subsidies and incentives is just one way Bruce Edmunds & Associates help your business. Our experienced accountants also provide a wide range of small business accounting services, including:

  • Financial reporting
  • ATO & ASIC lodgements
  • Bookkeeping
  • Tax accounting and auditing
  • Superannuation

We look after all aspects of your small business accounting. Organise a chat with one of our expert small business accountants – give us a call on (03) 9589 5488 to see how we can help you out.

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