Business groups have backed Treasurer Josh Frydenberg's call for an extension of the workplace flexibility that was aimed at cushioning the economic blow from the coronavirus pandemic.
Mr Frydenberg wants to see the flexibility that was linked to the JobKeeper wage subsidy when it was first introduced extended, even if a business no longer qualifies for the payment.
Business Council of Australia chief executive Jennifer Westacott believes cooperation between the ACTU and employment groups has saved tens of thousands of jobs.
"We have to continue to focus on creating new jobs and saving those jobs that might be at risk," she told Sky News' Business Weekend program on Sunday.
The Morrison government announced last week the JobKeeper will be extended beyond its legislated cut-off date in September, but will be reduced from $1500 to $1200 a fortnight and halved to $750 for those working less than 20 hours a week.
From January, JobKeeper will be further reduced to $1000 for full-time employees and $650 for part-time workers until March.
At both stages, businesses will have to requalify for the scheme by demonstrating a significant drop in revenue.
Companies with less than $1 billion in turnover will need a 30 per cent fall in revenue, while the threshold is 50 per cent for large companies.
"Just because a business who is on JobKeeper today is not getting JobKeeper from October onwards doesn't mean that they're not doing it tough," Mr Frydenberg told ABC television's Insiders program.
"This is going to be a hard grind for those businesses. It's not business-as-usual."
He said Industrial Relations Minister Christian Porter would be having discussions with business and unions to continue those JobKeeper arrangements in terms of the IR laws.
"We want to give the businesses the best opportunity to go forward," the treasurer said.
"So this is very much aligning the interests of employers and employees and giving business the best possible chance to get to the other side."
Shadow treasurer Jim Chalmers is very wary about these temporary crisis time arrangements becoming permanent.
"We think it would be a bizarre and potentially disastrous conclusion for the government to draw that the best way to deal with rising unemployment and rampant underemployment is even more job insecurity for Australian workers," Dr Chalmers told Sky News' Sunday Agenda program.
In last week's economic update, Treasury forecast the unemployment rate to peak at 9.25 per cent by the end of the year, compared with 7.4 per cent now.
Separately, Australian Industry Group chief executive Innes Willox notes recent data from the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development show Australia now has the highest minimum wage in the world.
He says it puts to rest the argument that it is too low.
"As employers turn their attention from survival to a tentative resumption of normal levels of activity, Australia's position at the top of this particular league table makes the challenging task of a post-COVID-19 recovery even more difficult," Mr Willox said in a statement.
"It risks imposing more extended periods of unemployment and underemployment on young Australians with little workforce experience and employees with lower levels of qualifications."
Australian Associated Press