Back to Work Support Payments of up to $15,000 are available to employers who hire an eligible unemployed Queenslander
About the Back to Work program
The Back to Work program is designed to give businesses the confidence to employ Queenslanders who have experienced a period of unemployment and help workers facing disadvantage in the labour market. Incentive payments and other supports are available to employers who hire an eligible previously unemployed Queenslander from a vulnerable cohort who has experienced a minimum period of unemployment directly prior to commencing work with them. The revitalised Back to Work program (launched 1 July 2021) now focuses on intensive support for jobseekers, employers and their employees.
The program is available throughout regional Queensland and in select areas of South East Queensland (SEQ).
Where is the program delivered?
Back to Work Support Payments are offered in the following regions:
- Wide Bay Burnett
- North Queensland
- Far North Queenslan
- Central Queensland
- North West Queensland
- South West Queensland
South East Queensland
Back to Work Support Payments are offered in the following South East Queensland local government areas:
- Lockyer Valley
- Moreton Bay
- Scenic Rim
What payments are available?
A Back to Work Support Payment of up to $15,000 are available to employers who employ a jobseeker who identifies as belonging to one of the following cohorts:
- Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples (minimum unemployment period of eight weeks)
- Person with a disability (minimum unemployment period of eight weeks)
- Long term unemployed people (unemployed 52 weeks or longer).
Payments are made directly to the eligible employer, in three instalments:
- Initial payment of $45001 after four weeks of continuous employment and approval of the initial payment application.
- Second payment of $52501 after 26 weeks of continuous employment with the same employer and approval of the second payment claim.
- Final payment of $52501 on completion of 52 weeks of continuous employment with the same employer and approval of the final payment claim.
N.B Claims cannot be made for second or final payments (later payments) unless the previous payment applications for that employee were lodged by the same employer and approved. Pro-rata payments are not available for employment less than the required continuous employment period.
Employers are only eligible to receive one payment type per eligible employee.
1 Figures above are payments for eligible full-time jobs as described in the Back to Work Guidelines for Funding 2021-22. Eligible part-time jobs attract 75 per cent of the full payment.
Who can apply?
All employers are eligible except for government entities (local, state, and Australian governments and entities including government-owned corporations and statutory bodies).
Each eligible employer may enter into a maximum of four Back to Work agreements. This cap of four applications applies to both Youth Boost and Back to Work Support Payments for eligible employees employed after 1 July 2021.
To be eligible for funding, employers must:
- be compliant with workplace health and safety, industrial relations and taxation legislation; and
- demonstrate a genuine commitment to ongoing employment of the employee.
If the employer is an unincorporated association or trust, evidence must be provided that the individual who is entering into the agreement with the Department of Employment, Small Business and Training is operating under the rules and authority of the unincorporated association or trust. The cap of four agreements will apply across all trustees of a single trust.
An eligible job must be predominantly located in the areas of Queensland listed above in Where is the program delivered?, and either be:
- ongoing paid full-time (at least 35 hours per week on average); or
- ongoing paid part-time (at least 20 hours per week on average); or
- for a person with a disability who has a workplace assessment to work between 8 and 20 hours per week, ongoing paid part-time with hours consistent with thier approved benchmark, on average.
Ineligible jobs include:
- a casual job including no firm advanced commitment to ongoing work with an agreed pattern of work. Further information can be found at Fair Work Australia
- periodic employment such as engagements that are short term in nature (e.g. weekly hire basis).
- employees transitioning from casual or periodic employment to ongoing part-time or ongoing full-time employment.
- indirect employment relationships where the employee is contracted through a labour hire arrangement (e.g. when you contract another business to provide you with workers). This may include arrangements through group training organisations where the apprentice or trainee is not directly employed by the Back to Work applicant.
An eligible employee for the Back to Work Support Payment:
- must be a permanent resident of Australia and their principal place of residency must be in Queensland.
- must belong to one or more of the following groups:
- Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples;
- persons with a disability
- long term unemployed persons;
- must have been unemployed for the minimum specified period for their group/cohort as outlined in What payments are available? above.
- must not have worked for the eligible employer making the Back to Work application in the 52 weeks directly prior to the commencement date entered into the application.
- must have commenced employment with the eligible employer from 1 July 2021.
- at the time the initial application is made, has been in paid employment with the eligible employer for at least four weeks, but not more than 12 weeks.
- is not currently, and was not previously, classified as a full-time student within the eight weeks immediately prior to commencing employment with the eligible employer.
- must not have displaced any existing workers.
An ineligible employee for a Back to Work agreement includes if the employee is:
- an owner of the company, business or joint venture applying for the Back to Work payment; OR
- a sole trader applying for the Back to Work payment; OR
- a partner in a partnership applying for the Back to Work payment; OR
- a director of the company applying for the Back to Work payment; OR
- a significant shareholder (more than 50 per cent shareholding) in the company applying for the Back to Work payment; OR
- an owner under a trust arrangement of the entity applying for the Back to Work payment. This may include the trustee, a beneficiary under the trust and/or being an owner of a directly controlled or related entity.
Initial payment applications must be received within 12 weeks of the employee completing four weeks of continuous employment.
Later payment applications must be received within 12 weeks of the employee completing:
- 26 weeks of continuous employment for the second Back to Work Support Payment.
- 52 weeks of continuous employment for the final Back to Work Support Payment.
Applications and claims received outside of these timeframes will be ineligible for payment It is highly recommended that applicants submit their applications well before the cut-off date.
Applicants must notify the Back to Work Team immediately of any problems submitting their applications within the required timeframe at firstname.lastname@example.org
From 1 July 2021, each eligible employer may enter into a maximum of four Back to Work agreements. This cap does not include agreements for employees who commenced employment prior to 1 July 2021.
Once a total of four agreements have been entered into for employees commencing employment on or after 1 July 2021, no further initial payment applications will be accepted.
Consideration will be given to a late application if the applicant has experienced extenuating circumstances beyond their control (e.g. ill health, loss of records due to natural disaster or a large-scale internet failure) that prevented the submission of an application within the required timeframe.
Please note that being unaware of the Back to Work program and subsequently not submitting an application within the required timeframe is not considered an extenuating circumstance.
The applicant must submit a request for consideration of a late application in writing, inclusive of the circumstances experienced, via a statutory declaration, and email the Back to Work Team at BTW.ProgramManagement@desbt.qld.gov.au
Applicants will be notified in writing of a decision within 60 business days from the receipt of the written request.
WorkCover Policy or Licence
In Queensland, under the Workers’ Compensation and Rehabilitation Act 2003 (QLD), an employer must, for each worker employed, insure and remain insured for their legal liability to pay compensation and damages to their workers.
You will be required to provide your WorkCover Policy or Licence Number and expiration date in your application. Information provided by you, about your business, including your Workcover Policy or Licence Number, may be disclosed to WorkCover for the purpose of verifying your compliance of the Workers’ Compensation and Rehabilitation Act 2003 (QLD).
Witnessed identification for the person submitting the application
Evidence is required of the identity of the person submitting the application through QGrants. This identification must match the name and details of the person identified in the QGrants account responsible for submitting the application and be witnessed by an independent authorised person.
Acceptable identification documents are:
- an Australian driver licence;
- adult proof of age card (e.g. 18+ card);
- birth certificate;
- citizenship certificate;
The identification must be current (not expired) at the date the application it is supporting is submitted.
Copy of paper ABN confirmation advice
All registered businesses will have received an ABN confirmation advice at the time of registering the business. This advice may have been made available to you electronically at the time you registered for an ABN or have been sent to you in the mail. If you cannot locate this document a copy of the advice (which includes a letter) can be requested from the Australian Business Register.
The ABN and the name on the ABN certificate and/or ABN lookup is not accepted as evidence. This is because this documentation is publicly available and accessible by other parties.
An employee must have been in ongoing and continuous paid full-time or part-time employment with your business for at least four full weeks prior to the initial payment application being made and must have worked the minimum average hours relevant to the application being made.
To substantiate that these requirements have been met, please provide copies of the employee’s payslips for the first four continuous weeks of their employment. Payslips must be submitted; timesheets or a payroll summary report is not sufficient. The ABN and name on the payslips you provide must match the ABN and name on your ABN confirmation advice and QGrants organisation account.
Payslips must meet the minimum requirements as set out by Fair Work Australia under the Fair Work Act 2009 and the Fair Work Regulations 2009. This includes any superannuation contributions paid for the employee’s benefit, including the amount of contributions made during the pay period (or the amount of contributions that need to be made).
Information on the legal requirements for payslips is available through the Fair Work Australia website.
Employee consent form
An employee consent form (available on the Back to Work website), must be included with all initial payment applications submitted in QGrants.
This form must be completed and signed by the employee the application is regarding.
Evidence is required of the identity of the jobseeker that has been employed. Acceptable identification documents are:
- an Australian driver licence;
- adult proof of age card (e.g. 18+ card);
- birth certificate;
- citizenship certificate;
Note: if a non-Australian passport is being submitted as evidence, a letter issued by the Australian Government to the employee outlining their visa details must also be submitted.
The employee identification must be current (not expired) at the date the employee commenced employment. The first name, surname and date of birth on the employee identification must match the first name, surname and date of birth on the application.
Employees with a disability
If an employee has a disability and an Employment Services Assessment (ESAT) or a Job Capacity Assessment (JCA) to work between 8 and 20 hours per week, a signed letter issued by a Disability Employment Services Provider or Department of Human Services endorsed JCA must be attached to the application. This document should detail the employee’s approved benchmark working hours or the application will not meet the required eligibility criteria. The employee must be working in accordance with their approved benchmark hours. If the payslips do not align with the approved benchmark working hours the application will not meet the required eligibility criteria.
These eligible part-time jobs will attract 75 per cent of the full-time payment.
Unincorporated associations and trust arrangements
Unincorporated associations and trusts are permitted to make application to the Back to Work program.
In these circumstances, the individual who is authorised to make the application on behalf of the management committee or the trustee/s must provide evidence that they are operating within the rules and authority of the unincorporated association or trust deed when entering into an agreement with the Department of Employment, Small Business and Training.
These declarations must include that the applicant:
- will comply with the requirements of unincorporated associations or trust deed under the Back to Work program
- is appropriately indemnified out of the funds of the unincorporated association or trust arrangement; and
- acknowledges that the applicant accepts to be personally liable under the arrangement with the Department.
If you are waiting on evidence documents (e.g. ABN confirmation advice) to complete your application and it is getting close to the cut off date, you can still apply.
Please submit your application with the information and documents available and provide details of the documents you are waiting for as an attachment to your application. You will be contacted by a member of the Back to Work Team to discuss next steps.
Applications must be made through QGrants.
The online application form contains a series of questions you must answer to progress the application. These questions must be answered truthfully, applications found to include false or misleading information will not be approved and may be referred to the relevant law enforcement authority.
The questions on the form address the eligibility criteria and are arranged in the following sections:
- Employer details – addressing employer eligibility
- Employee details – addressing employee eligibility
- Employment details – addressing job eligibility
- Attachments – to support the information supplied
- Required declarations and consents.
QGrants requires important information to be supplied including applicant contact information, bank account details, business information and evidence documents to support your application.
It is the responsibility of the applicant to ensure contact information is kept up to date so that the Back to Work team can remain in contact regarding future applications, claims and reviews.
Under the revitalised Back to Work program, there is a stronger focus on supporting employers to keep or retain their employees on a long-term basis.
The new Small Business Support Pool is available to small business employers who have been approved for a Back to Work Incentive Payment and need assistance to support and retain their employees.
Eligible employers can access a $2000 payment to support employee retention. Learn more about the Small Business Support Pool here.