TL;DR: Casual workers who started off on low hours but finished up working 40hrs having their "normal" wage "averaged" down and only paid for like 5hrs even though employer still claims 20hrs.
I know a few workers who are on "casual" or no-fixed-hours work contracts.
The amount the company can claim in subsidy is simple; either $585.80 per week if the employees weekly hours averaged over 20 hours over the past 12 months (or since starting) or $350.00 if they averaged less.
The employer is then expected to keep paying the employee at least 80% of their "normal" wage.
The problem is how employers are determining the "normal" wage; as applying the same simple 12 month average doesn't account for a lot of scenarios like staff returning from unpaid leave, training periods where staff initially were paid/worked few hours but then were working full 40 weeks immediately prior to the shutdown.
The workers I know fall into this category where they started off on few hours with periods of no work, then finished up recently working 40 hour weeks. So averaged over 12 mths / job start only works out to like 5 hours but the company can still claim at last the 20hr / $350.00 subsidy from the government.
The company is then only passing on 5hrs / $87.50 of the $350 subsidy claiming this is the employees "normal" wage (long term average instead of recent average) and redistributing the remaining $262.50 to the full-time office staff to ensure they keep receiving at least 80% of their full salaries.
According to the vagaries of the subsidy scheme there doesn't appear to be anything specifically preventing this as companies are allowed to redistribute the subsidy amount over the "normal" wage to other workers so the question is are the any challenges that can be made as to how the companies determines normal wage?
I also suspect this company is also claiming subsidies for casual employees who may have worked like 1 day almost a year ago so they can receive a full $350 subsidy and pay out almost nothing to that employee but more to the full-time staff- which also seems technically allowed (as the person has technically averaged over 0 hours in the past 12 months).
The least controversial option would be for the companies to just pass on the full subsidy they receive to each employee - however there are obviously some flaws in this approach.
The most accurate (and complex) may be to calculate a (recent) time weight average; or more simply a 4-6 week average excluding genuine leave (as opposed to regular days not worked).
Has anyone seen any solutions or successful arguments made regarding this?