JobKeeper v SAT Wage subsidy – which should I apply for?

By CCIWA Editor

If you are continuing to train workers throughout the pandemic, you are probably familiar with the Support for Apprentices and Trainees (SAT) wage subsidy.

The payment subsides up to 50 per cent of an eligible apprentices wages for up to $7000 a quarter.

Since its inception in March, 47,000 employers across Australia have taken up the scheme.

Stick to JobKeeper if:

  • Your meet the eligibility criteria and need to support other staff; it’s a "one in, all in" program.
  • You have 200 or more employees, making you ineligible for SAT.
  • Your apprentice/s or trainee/s were employed, but not registered in a formal training contract at 1 July 2020.

An employer guide to the JobKeeper scheme and eligibility requirements is available via

CCIWA Apprenticeship Support Australia Manager Lena Constantine explains that recent changes to both the schemes mean employers need to consider which works best for them.

“For employers of apprentices and trainees, understanding your options of the support available and which pot to tap into based on circumstances, will be important, as you can only access one program at a time.”

Constantine explains that early uptake of the SAT subsidy has been considerably lower than anticipated, with just 47,000 employers accessing the grant to support 81,000 apprentices and trainees.

“The initial $1.3 billion iteration of the Supporting Apprentices and Trainees Wage Subsidy was designed to support 120,000 apprentices and trainees across the country,” she says.

“The lack of initial uptake for the SAT wage subsidy suggests employers were instead opting for the Jobkeeper incentive.”

Constantine adds that the advantage of the SAT scheme is it does not require businesses to demonstrate a downturn, making it an attractive option for employers not eligible for full JobKeeper payments.

“Additionally, employers of school-based apprentices and trainees can access the Supporting Apprentices and Trainees Subsidy, where eligibility criteria would exclude these employees from the Jobkeeper payments,” she explains.

Constantine suggests employers should consider claiming a SAT wage subsidy where:

  • they do not meet turnover reduction requirements linked to JobKeeper.
  • their apprentices and trainees do not meet the age requirements to claim Job Keeper. Staff need to be aged 18 years or older at 1 July 2020 for JobKeeper, or 16 or 17 if they are independent minors or not undertaking full-time study.
  • You didn’t claim the JobKeeper payment for an entire quarter period. The SAT wage subsidy can be paid for any part-period where you have not received JobKeeper payments.
  • If your apprentice or trainee’s salary is equal to or above $14,000 per quarter, the SAT wage subsidy may exceed the maximum eligible payment available through the JobKeeper scheme – of $1000 a fortnight from 4 January.

More information about incentives to support apprentices and trainees during the pandemic can be accessed via Apprenticeship Support Australia on 1300 363 831 or

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