THE federal government should amend the JobKeeper eligibility requirements to cover more young people in the labour market and not return JobSeeker payments to their "original poverty level amounts" when the present supplement ends.
The recommendation is contained in the latest policy paper on youth unemployment by the Centre for Social Impact (CSI), which also called on the government to prioritise jobs programs targeted at young people to improve their employment prospects when the economy recovers.
CSI, a national research and education centre comprising UNSW Sydney, The University of Western Australia, and Swinburne University of Technology, also sounded the alarm on what youth will face long-term post-COVID-19.
Lead researcher Professor Paul Flatau said while the pandemic had already had significant impacts on youth employment, younger people were more likely to face deeper impacts in their employment with consequent social impacts in years to come.
"One lasting effect that has occurred after past crises - and that is likely to follow the COVID19 pandemic - is that young people making the transition from education to work will find it more difficult to find employment at entry-level positions due to increased competition for jobs and declining availability of jobs," he said.
"We are extremely concerned about long-term effects on young people as a result of this pandemic. As research shows, unemployed young people are at greater risk of experiencing mental health problems."
He said without "timely and targeted intervention", youth were at a high risk of missing out on a strong entry into the labour market and consequently of being financially disadvantaged and even being welfare dependent for their lifetime.