Biden economic team members shaped by hardship, will focus on families


US President-elect Joe Biden’s economic team at The Queen Theatre in Wilmington, Delaware, on December 1, 2020. (Top L-R) Chair of Council of Economic Advisers nominee Cecilia Rouse, Treasury secretary nominee Janet Yellen, and Deputy secretary of the Treasury nominee Adewale Wally Adeyemo. (Bottom L-R) Council of Economic Advisors nominee Jared Bernstein, Office of Management and Budget nominee Neera Tanden, Council of Economic Advisors nominee Heather Boushey.

Chandan Khanna | AFP | Getty Images

WASHINGTON — President-elect Joe Biden introduced six key members of his economic team to the nation on Tuesday. Together, they comprise a diverse group of experts whose personal histories and economic philosophies represent a sharp departure from the past four years of President Donald Trump’s administration.

“This is a family-oriented team,” Biden said during an event in Wilmington, Delaware, featuring the nominees. “This team will always be there for you and your families.”

Indeed, family was the consistent, if unexpected, theme that ran through each of the six speeches delivered by the nominees Tuesday.

Biden’s economic advisors described how their early experiences of hardship became windows through which they still view economic policy as accomplished economists.

Former Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen, Biden’s nominee for Treasury secretary, described how her father, a family physician, treated patients in the basement of their home in a working-class area of Brooklyn.

At night, she said, her father would talk about “what work meant to his patients, our friends and neighbors. Especially if they lost a job, the financial problems, the family problems, the health problems, the loss of dignity and self-worth.”

Yellen added: “I became an economist because I was concerned about the toll of unemployment on people, families and communities.”

Neera Tanden, a veteran Democratic policy advisor Biden tapped to lead the Office of Management and Budget, described how her single mother, an immigrant from India, relied on food stamps to feed her two daughters and Section 8 housing vouchers to pay the rent.

“I am here today thanks to my mother’s grit, but also thanks to the country that had faith in us, that invested in her humanity and in our dreams. I’m here today because of social programs, because of budgetary choices, because of a government that saw my mother’s dignity and gave her a chance,” said Tanden.

Stories like Tanden’s and Yellen’s were also striking because of how deeply they differ from the experiences and biographies of Trump’s first slate of economic advisors, announced a few days after the president’s upset victory in the 2016 election.

Composed entirely of white men, Trump’s financial advisory team was heavily weighted toward Wall Street barons and billionaires.

President Donald Trump, U.S. President Donald Trump’s national security adviser John Bolton, U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin attend a working dinner with Chinese President Xi Jinping after the G20 leaders summit in Buenos Aires, Argentina December 1, 2018. 

Kevin Lemarque | CNBC

“I want people that made a fortune,” Trump said in late 2016, explaining his presidential hiring preferences. More than anything, however, Trump said he didn’t believe “a poor person” could be an effective economic advisor. He wanted rich people running the economy “because that’s the kind of thinking we want.”

There was none of that “kind of thinking” on display Tuesday in Wilmington. Instead, there was a focus on immigrant experiences, marginalized groups and union workers.

Adewale “Wally” Adeyemo, a former deputy director of the National Economic Council and Biden’s nominee for deputy secretary of the Treasury, recounted how his immigrant parents came to America from Nigeria.

Adeyemo described how his parents, “an elementary school principal and nurse, came to America to build a better life for me and my siblings. They taught us that we have a responsibility to serve our community and the country that gave us so many opportunities,” he said.

Cecilia Rouse, a Princeton economist and Biden’s choice to lead the Council of Economic Advisors, described how her first college economics class coincided with a steep recession in the early 1980s. “It was impossible for me to separate what we were learning from what I knew was going on in towns across the country,” she said.

Longtime Biden economic advisor Jared Bernstein, set to join the CEA, recalled being raised by a single mother who kept a photo of Franklin Delano Roosevelt on the wall.

Heather Boushey, another Biden pick to join the CEA, spoke last. She recounted how her father was laid off from his job at Boeing in the 1980s. “For the first time, I truly experienced this pain called the economy,” she said.

“I was struck by the profound power this mysterious force held over my life, my friends and my community,” said Boushey.

Biden is expected to name several more key White House positions in the coming weeks.



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‘Millions face hardship’ as government support ends


Have you made use of a government support scheme? What will the end of support mean for you? Share your experiences by emailing

haveyoursay@bbc.co.uk.



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Bendigo couple on temporary stay visas give back amid pandemic hardship by cooking for community


Malaysians Richard Augustin and Riya Selvaraj first came to Australia around 2016, seeking asylum for religious reasons.

Now living in Bendigo and dependent on community groups for food and accommodation, given that their temporary stay visas preclude them from accessing work or any ongoing government funding, they have been trying to get access to permanent residency ever since.

“It’s called a bridging visa class C, so it’s no work rights, and we don’t have any payment from the government,” Mr Augustin said.

Despite their predicament, they have continued to look for ways to give back to the community that took them in.

When the couple first arrived in Bendigo three years ago they were homeless, and were planning to sleep over for one night before attending an Immigration appointment in Melbourne the following day.

“Then the next day we did receive an email from the Immigration Department saying ‘your appointment has been cancelled’,” Ms Selvaraj said.

Embracing the community

The couple stayed in Bendigo for a few nights sleeping in their car before being put in touch with Loddon Campaspe Multicultural Services.

“From there we got the chance to stay in Bendigo and mix up with the community,” Ms Selvaraj said.

Since arriving, they have found a way to give back to their community, volunteering for initiatives like Bendigo Foodshare and The Old Church on the Hill.

During the pandemic, while they have mostly been confined to their home, the couple has launched a cooking YouTube page called R&R Channel.

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The couple has been making a cooking video a week, sharing a range of recipes, sometimes filming for hours at a time.

“So we just using our smart phones and we using a mic stand as a camera tripod. Richard is very good at that,” Ms Selvaraj said.

“In our experience, the longest cooking video is eight hours — chocolate chip cookies.

“We try to correct all the mistakes, so that’s how we are still learning each and every video.”

Mr Augustin and Ms Selvaraj have been making a cooking video a week, sometimes filming for hours at a time.(Supplied: YouTube)

More without support

Many more temporary visa holders across the country have also found themselves unable to work or access government funding due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Loddon Campaspe Multicultural Services interim executive officer, Rosita Vincent, said the group had received a 75 per cent increase in calls for help, particularly from people on temporary work, spouse and study visas.

“So the frightening thing for people on a temporary visa is they’ve not been eligible for government support, so they don’t get any JobKeeper or JobSeeker if their work situation changes,” Ms Vincent said.

Many people on temporary visas are finding themselves slipping into poverty during the coronavirus pandemic.
Many people on temporary visas are finding themselves slipping into poverty during the coronavirus pandemic.(ABC)

Ms Vincent said it was forcing people into “extreme poverty”.

“One call I received from a woman who had to leave work for a couple of weeks because she needed to isolate, and she was really afraid about how she was going to pay the rent the next week,” Ms Vincent said.

“I got a call from somebody who is sleeping in their car because they’ve already lost their home and nobody can help them.”

In a statement, a Department of Home Affairs spokesperson said short-term funding was available to some visa holders, including access to up to $10,000 worth of superannuation for people working in Australia, and also a $7 million Red Cross emergency relief fund.

“The Australian Government is committed to protecting the health and safety of Australians, and has implemented a range of measures to support Australians and visa holders during the COVID-19 period,” the spokesperson said.

Ms Vincent said people like Mr Augustin and Ms Selvaraj had demonstrated how much value refugees and migrants could bring to communities when they were given the support they needed.

Rosita Vincent says Loddon Campaspe Multicultural Services has seen a 75 per cent increase in calls for help this year.
Rosita Vincent says Loddon Campaspe Multicultural Services has seen a 75 per cent increase in calls for help this year.(ABC Central Victoria: Beth Gibson)

“They were in quite a difficult situation when we initially connected with them, and it’s been amazing to see them as they connect with the community, and then to see the benefit that has been on their mental health and their physical wellbeing as well,” Ms Vincent said.

The two are hoping to start working with the community to make cooking videos showcasing traditional recipes from different refugee groups when the pandemic restrictions ease.



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Shark attack survivors’ group Beyond the Bite aiming to ease emotional and financial hardship


Shark attack survivor Dave Pearson stopped counting the cost of his medical bills once they reached $30,000.

The founder of Beyond the Bite, a charity for those touched by a shark attack, realised his rehabilitation had become one of his life’s essentials, “like paying for bread and milk”.

It is a financial reality that Mr Pearson said confronts hundreds of survivors who battle physical and psychological trauma, and which even stops some from seeking help.

But the group aims to ease some of the burden with the introduction of a free dedicated counselling service.

The initiative comes during a year when attacks in Australian waters look set to be higher than usual, and as demand for the charity grows internationally.

It also comes on the back of study by the University of Sydney, published in the Australian and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry in 2018, showing shark attack victims and first responders are three times more like to experience PTSD and show a higher level of suicidal ideation than other Australians.  

There have been five fatal shark attacks in Australia this year so far, which is higher than usual.(Contributed: Warren Keelan)

People ‘don’t want to hear about it’

For most survivors, the immediate aftermath of an attack is radically life-changing, according to Mr Pearson, who suffered injuries to his arm when he was attacked in 2011.

“Initially it is very, sort of, euphoric, having survived an event that could have taken your life,” he told ABC Radio Sydney’s Evenings program.

But the media spotlight and attention from friends quickly fades, leaving the victim feeling like “yesterday’s news”.

He also had to deal with insensitive comments from strangers on social media.

“It really was a mind-blowing experience to be treated like the enemy of the ocean,” he said.

Soon the medical bills were piling up and the prospect of lengthy, potentially lifelong, rehabilitation was daunting.

“Shark attacks are not cheap and any funds you have can quickly be deleted,” Mr Pearson said.

When his medical expenses began to climb, Mr Pearson and his partner had to decide how much they wanted to pay for his treatment.

“We came to the agreement that it was just like buying bread and milk — it was what I needed to be healthy — so we decided to stop counting the amount of money,” he said.

“I’ll drive an old, crappy car around as long as I’m happy and healthy.”

But not everyone feels the same way.

A closeup photo of a greyscale tattoo on the inside of a forearm. The tattoo depicts a shark underneath text saying "survivor".
Beyond the Bite is expanding its network overseas with high demand from countries like the United States.(ABC Mid North Coast: Sarah Maunder)

‘It’s a continuous battle’

It was an attitude psychotherapy graduate Jules Alexander wanted to change by approaching the group to offer his services pro bono.

He is one of two professionals to come on board this year.

The former commercial diver has had friends die or be seriously injured in shark attacks, and has come face to face with many himself.

“I know a lot about sharks and a lot about trauma so I’m happy to help in that sphere,” Mr Alexander said.

Mr Pearson said it has been a big help.

“It’s a connection you just don’t get with other people, even our partners,” Mr Pearson said.

Mr Alexander said while counsellors were often willing to make accommodations to help victims, finding the right support could be tricky.

“The perception of what is available and what is actually on the ground when you need it is not the same,” he said.

While it is a challenging process, he said, many people improved.

“I find that most people, over time, get better but it’s a continuous battle,” he said.

A surfer watches the sunrise from his board.
Mr Pearson says there has been a positive response to the counselling service.(ABC Open contributor CurrumbinAli)

Attacks higher than usual

It has been a tough year for survivors, with five people killed in Australian waters so far this year, and a 10-year-old boy from Tasmania among those injured.

Mr Pearson said news of every incident brought up trauma for the group’s 350 members.

“The stress level of all of our people goes through the roof … they start reliving their own experiences,” he said.

But the new service has been a silver lining.

He is now getting requests for help from overseas, including the United States.

“We’ve got members from all over the world now … this week alone we have four or five new members from the east coast of America alone,” he said.

The support service is something Mr Pearson is passionate about extending to shark attack survivors across the world.



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Coronavirus: Portugal return to quarantine list would cause ‘chaos and hardship’


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In a normal year, more than a million UK tourists visit Portugal’s Algarve coast

Holidaymakers will face “chaos and hardship” if coronavirus quarantine measures are reintroduced for those arriving to the UK from Portugal, a travel industry leader has warned.

Portugal has recorded 21.1 virus cases per 100,000 people in the past week.

The UK considers imposing 14 days of isolation on travellers when a country’s infection rate exceeds 20 cases per 100,000, over seven days.

The boss of British Airways’ parent firm said the numbers were “arbitrary”.

It was only on 22 August that Portugal was added to the list of countries that are exempt from UK rules requiring travellers to self-isolate for two weeks, prompting a rise in searches for flights by British holidaymakers.

Writing in the Times, IAG chief executive Willie Walsh said the “ever-changing” quarantine requirements meant “the UK has officially hung up the ‘closed’ sign”.

“Another U-turn by the government, adding Portugal to the quarantine list, will cause further chaos and hardship for travellers,” he said.

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Media captionCoronavirus: How to fly during a global pandemic

“The government is using arbitrary statistics to effectively ban 160 countries and in the process destroying the economy.”

As of 31 August, the UK recorded 24.0 coronavirus cases per 100,000 people over the past fortnight while Portugal recorded 35.7, according to the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control.

There were 21.1 cases per 100,000 people in Portugal in the seven days to 30 August, up from 19.4 in the seven days to 29 August.

So-called travel corridors – which allow people to travel without having to self-isolate on their return – have been scrapped between England and at least 18 countries and territories over the past month, including popular tourist destinations such as France and Spain.

Ministers have said this cautious approach prevents coronavirus cases being imported.

When countries such as Croatia, Austria and Trinidad and Tobago lost their travel corridor status, UK tourists have spent thousands of pounds on new flights and endured long drives in a race to get home before quarantine measures kicked in.

The Department for Transport has not commented on whether requirements for arrivals from Portugal will change in response to the rise in cases.

Travellers to Switzerland, Jamaica and the Czech Republic were the latest to have to self-isolate for two weeks, after a rule change on Saturday.

The UK introduced the compulsory 14-day quarantine for arrivals from overseas in early June.

The following month, the four UK nations unveiled lists of “travel corridors”, detailing countries that were exempt from the rule.

In July, the Portuguese government expressed “regret” at the UK’s decision to continue to exclude it from the safe travel list.

The UK provides the largest number of overseas tourists to Portugal, with more than two million tourists visiting every year.

The Algarve coast is the most popular destination, with 1.2 million visitors from the UK last year.

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How pandemic hardship widens New York City’s inequality


Alexandra Maruri has seen New York bounce back before. She and her mother arrived from Ecuador in the 1970s “in search of the American dream” as the city was edging toward bankruptcy. And in the recession in 2007, Ms. Maruri lost her marketing job and had to rebuild again.

Now, as the founder of Bronx Historical Tours, she is applying for assistance to keep herself and her small business afloat. At one point this spring, her bank account was down to $1.77.

New York’s pandemic saga is in many ways a tale of two cities. Yes, midtown Manhattan is emptier than in the past, but workers in tech and finance are among those who have fared best in job security, nimbly adjusting to remote work. 

By contrast, as the city’s overall jobless rate pushes 20%, workers with the least have lost the most. The economic disruption of city life has generally landed hardest on lower-paid, public-facing jobs such as in restaurants, retail, and hotels – held by workers who tend to live outside Manhattan in largely nonwhite neighborhoods.

Like many Bronx locals, Ms. Maruri is banking on resilience. “You either keep going or you cave in,” she says. “I chose to keep going.”

New York

Hangouts resume on South Bronx stoops as the sun staves off the rain. The grunt of buses fades behind a block of public housing, where a Saturday basketball game is in full swing and a cluster of cops looks on. Nearby a man removes his hat at the sidewalk shrine of a saint.

Alexandra Maruri has walked East 138th Street for decades as a local and a tour guide. But today there are no tours. One out of 4 Bronxites like her are unemployed; she and thousands of others are survivors of COVID-19. In March, her bank account held only $1.77, after she reimbursed 50 customers who had signed up for her walking tours before a ban on travel.

“It was so sudden. I didn’t really have a plan,” she says. 

New York’s saga is a tale of two cities. Yes, Midtown Manhattan is emptier than in the past, but as the Monitor reported last week, many of its mainstay businesses are adapting. Workers in tech and finance are among those who have fared best in terms of job security, nimbly adjusting to remote work. 

By contrast, as the city’s overall jobless rate pushes 20%, workers with the least have lost the most. It’s true on the health front, where the city’s more than 23,600 deaths have fallen heaviest on Latino and Black residents, who account for about half of the city’s population but are dying from COVID-19 at around twice the rate of white New Yorkers. And the economic disruption of city life has generally landed hardest on lower-paid, public-facing jobs such as those in restaurants, retail, and hotels – held by workers who tend to live outside Manhattan in largely nonwhite neighborhoods.

“There’s no question that New Yorkers who were often living paycheck to paycheck are the ones that have sustained the greatest job losses under the pandemic,” says Jonathan Bowles, executive director of the Center for an Urban Future. For example, half of the city’s more than 3 million immigrants lost their main source of income, the think tank estimates.

Meanwhile, New Yorkers like Ms. Maruri are banking on resilience. It helps to have the long view.

Ms. Maruri has seen New York bounce back before. She and her mother arrived from Ecuador in the 1970s “in search of the American dream” as the city teetered on the edge of bankruptcy. During the infamous decade of fires that engulfed the South Bronx’s housing, she says her family escaped their own building’s blaze. Three decades later came the recession in 2007, when Ms. Maruri lost her marketing job and had to rebuild again.

Now, as the Bronx Historical Tours founder applies for assistance to keep herself and her small business afloat, she revives her survival skills. She finds peace in parks and eats one meal a day. 

“You either keep going or you cave in,” she says. “I chose to keep going.”

Testing the safety net

Locals who stuck out the outbreak have found varying degrees of struggle and stability in New York City, where, by one pre-pandemic estimate, a family of four needs $10,344 a month to sustain a modest living. 

Previous recessions in the city tended to begin with layoffs in higher-income sectors like finance, followed by a ripple effect in lower-wage industries when consumer spending shrank, says economist James Parrott. 

In the current crisis, job losses are flipped. Although high-wage earners aren’t generally unemployed, they have largely changed the office-lunch and business-travel habits that sustained lower-wage workers. 

“We’re testing the viability of the safety net right now,” says Mr. Parrott, director of economy and fiscal policies at The New School’s Center for New York City Affairs. “We’re beginning an unfortunate experiment when you take away the $600 weekly [federal] supplement.”

New York state on Monday was approved for a federal weekly $300 supplemental check for those unemployed, but when the rollout begins is unclear. 

Experts worry that enduring job losses and shrinking safety nets like the expired $600 federal unemployment benefit may further magnify the city’s inequality.

Ms. Maruri says she spent her $1,200 federal stimulus check on bills, saving only $10 to treat herself to dinner. The additional federal unemployment benefit that expired at the end of July had also gone toward payments that were falling behind.

“It’s a very difficult time without the extra $600,” says Ms. Maruri, who shares an apartment with her mother. That amount was three times what she receives in state unemployment insurance.

Faced with a potential $9 billion deficit within two years, Mayor Bill de Blasio is seeking permission from the state to borrow funds for operating costs. Without more aid, a layoff of 22,000 municipal workers could come next month.

“Scared to come back” 

Ms. Maruri began Bronx Historical Tours in 2011 to help reverse decades of negative press and preconceptions about her home borough. It’s been a tough task.

“I’ve had people bring food with them because they thought we didn’t have restaurants here,” she says.

After applying to numerous financing opportunities while sick with COVID-19, Ms. Maruri won a $6,500 Small Business Administration loan and $2,500 Facebook cash grant this spring. She hopes to revive tours no later than November.

“We’re going to see jobs that involve a lot of social contact like restaurants, hotels, tourism … be very depressed until we get a vaccine or effective treatment,” says Heidi Shierholz, former chief economist of the Obama administration’s Labor Department and director of policy at the Economy Policy Institute.

While the city’s COVID-19 caseload has plummeted (with 1,723 new hospitalizations on April 6 and only 32 on Aug. 6), New Yorkers who are able to resume their jobs still weigh the risks. On her subway and bus commute from Queens to Manhattan to make strangers’ beds, Nudolma Lama Sherpa is afraid to sit down. 

Ms. Lama Sherpa, a room attendant at a midtown hotel, says she stopped getting called to work in mid-March. The federal stimulus check and weekly $600 federal payments were extra boosts for her household, which she shares with her mother and two young adult daughters. Two and a half months passed.

“We got a text from work that they want us to come back,” she says. “But we’re scared to come back.”

Ms. Lama Sherpa says she returned to work for financial security. She reasoned a new gig would be tough to find amid citywide layoffs. 

“Without work, nobody can survive,” says Ms. Lama Sherpa, who recently worked nine days straight.

A dozen blocks downtown, Cindy Jaimangal labors at a hospital. The majority of the city’s million “essential” workers are like her: women and people of color. While her uninterrupted employment lent financial security during the crisis, new stresses were added at work and at home.

Cindy Jaimangal stands outside her home with her children, Julie and Ethan, on Aug. 15, 2020, in the Queens borough of New York. Most mornings, Ms. Jaimangal has a long commute on the subway from Queens to Manhattan, where she works as a patient care associate at an emergency room.

Neighbors

When the doorbell chimes, Ms. Jaimangal’s 4-year-old and 9-year-old retreat to their rooms. “It’s the coronavirus!” they say, even though it’s only Mom. No one can hug her until after she showers. 

The patient care associate spends eight-hour days at a Manhattan emergency room that swelled with COVID-19 patients this spring. A Christian music playlist helps pass the hourlong subway ride back to Queens. Home and exhausted, all she wants is curry chicken and jasmine rice. Unless she falls asleep in a chair. 

Ms. Jaimangal lives with her two children, husband, and parents in the middle-class neighborhood of South Richmond Hills. Since her husband, a software developer, has needed peace and quiet during his remote workday, she will soon resume her second job around dinnertime: homework police.

“I have to prepare mentally,” she says, for the prospect of managing more virtual schooling plus her career this fall.

Ms. Jaimangal became a citizen in 2005, and still sends remittances to family back in Guyana. Despite the outbreak’s grueling work-life balance, she says her household has been financially OK. If anything, they’ve saved, especially with an effort to live frugally. She cut her son’s winter sweatpants down to summer sweatshorts.

“We can manage,” she says.

Despite the demands of her job, Ms. Jaimangal never considered leaving. “I always wanted to help people,” she says. “When the day is over, I want to do something good for somebody. It’s not about pay for me.” 

She ended up helping a friend and neighbor who lives two streets away. When her daughter’s godfather, Dean Ragoonanan, spent 11 days at her hospital with COVID-19, Ms. Jaimangal filled in for family who weren’t allowed to visit by tending to him at the start and end of each shift. 

She used to see Mr. Ragoonanan on Sundays as a fellow church member at Bethel Assembly of God. Now Ms. Jaimangal visited him in a hospital bed, praying by his side. He remembers that she even brushed his teeth.

Cindy Jaimangal stands in her backyard where her two children have a trampoline and small pool on Aug. 15, 2020, in Queens.

“I will be forever grateful for Cindy,” says Mr. Ragoonanan. “She never turned her back.”

Now, like so many others, Mr. Ragoonanan has a story that includes both trials and resilience in the face of an uncertain future.

He’s been back home since April. Yet during his recovery he’s had to send his résumé around. His quarter-century career in building maintenance ended this spring. 

He says he misses work. This month he called to tell Ms. Jaimangal that he’d been able to climb up to his roof. He reattached shingles that had scattered in a storm.

Part 1: What will happen to Big Apple’s core? Clues from reopening.

Editor’s note: As a public service, we have removed our paywall for all pandemic-related stories.



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New report reveals gig economy thrives off hardship and instability


A recent Victorian Govt report on the gig overall economy reveals a sector ruled by regulations that act against workers’ passions, writes Sam Brennan.

THE GIG Economic climate exploded on to the scene right after standard and safe get the job done plummeted close to the globe right after the World wide Financial Disaster. The sector is dominated by tech giants who make their profits by connecting employees with shoppers, like Uber, Menulog, Airtasker and much more.

The Victorian Government recently released a landmark report by an inquiry into the on-demand workforce (the gig economic system), which explores the intricate laws encompassing the concern and damning lack of employee safety.

You might be not an employee

If you are a driver for Uber, if Uber decides your pay, if you get your wage from Uber and if you can be fired by Uber, are you an personnel of Uber?

The reply is no, you are not an personnel at all.

In its place, you are – in the flowery language of company jargon – an “entrepreneur”, “partner”, “tasker” or “freelancer”. If you search carefully, you will locate a slate of less flattering, more lawful jargon describing you as a “non-employee”, “independent contractor” or even a “small company owner”. These terms all emerge from a hole in current labour legislation.

Australia’s labour law stems from the “wage-function bargain”, in which an employee will get compensated for a willingness to function for a established period of time of time even if there is no perform to be completed. The principle came from learn-servant associations of the 18th Century, in which the servant would mull all over waiting on their master until eventually they ended up necessary. 

Gig financial state businesses argue that this wage-work bargain is not relevant to them, because their “partners” get to determine their individual times and wages are primarily based on a single undertaking, not several hours invested ready to do responsibilities.

This hugely theoretical authorized difference has quite serious substance impacts. As an employee, you are assured a least wage, the proper to collective motion, superannuation and additional. But a non-staff (a gig overall economy worker) gets none of this.

For instance, a 2018 study located that the ordinary driver for Uber earns $16 an hour irrespective of the national least wage staying $19.84.

On top of that, in 2018 when an Uber driver submitted an unfair dismissal software to the Good Work Fee, his circumstance failed due to the fact he was discovered not to be an worker and for that reason could not be unfairly dismissed.

This lawful loophole indicates Uber only has a handful of staff in comparison to their 60,000 “rideshare driver-associates”, the latter of whom are paid out by 50 percent a dozen subsidiary firms that allow Uber to shell out only $5 million in taxes from its earnings of $474 million, or one particular for each cent. 

The argument that regular personnel get compensated by the hour, when impartial non-employee gig workers get compensated by the job is also a phony binary, as there are labour laws that cover staff who get the job done to a undertaking. 1 case in point is piece fees in agriculture, where the worker is paid out primarily based on how substantially they harvest. Importantly, piece premiums warranty least wage and superannuation.

Uber promises that their motorists like the present deal for the reason that it presents them with the flexibility to pick out the periods they function. This is not totally genuine, as Uber will adjust prices to force drivers to work specific times. The term “flexibility” results in being even much more disingenuous when it can be put in opposition to protection. 

Morrison's JobMaker plan and the 'skill' shortage

Uber’s reclassification threat

Uber, in its submission to the inquiry, mentioned versatility was the most important aspect for their motorists and that introducing employee protections would threaten this.

The business claimed:

‘…present employment regulation means platforms like Uber are constrained in providing further assist to individuals who use the application to locate function. This is since offering advantages and coaching to our partners could compromise the self-utilized position of the individual.’

This is regarded as “reclassification risk”, where enterprises are unwilling to give benefits and safety to their personnel mainly because it may reclassify them as an worker, risking their substantially-liked adaptability.

However, all through the COVID-19 pandemic, we have found millions of personnel doing the job from dwelling at times that fit them, nonetheless still keeping fundamental protections and added benefits, indicating this trade-off is not innate.

Moreover, it potential customers to companies like Uber making the strange argument that they simply cannot supply advantages to their staff, mainly because in doing so they would be tacitly acknowledging them as workforce and therefore mandated to present rewards. 

Persons acquire what they can get

Business groups say we shouldn’t actually treatment about all this because it is this sort of a smaller part of the workforce. The Australian Chamber of Commerce and Business mentioned the gig economy is ‘non-statistically significant’ and advises in opposition to ‘unwarranted, misplaced or premature’ regulation. 

The gig overall economy is tricky to pin down, running throughout various professions. On the other hand, a study executed by the inquiry found that close to 14 for each cent of the inhabitants had engaged in the gig financial system at some place, a not-insignificant sum.

Wanting into why persons perform in the gig economic system only even further reveals the value of very good pay back and stability.

Praise and regret for the casual worker

Inspite of Uber proclaiming overall flexibility was the reason drivers utilized the app, the survey uncovered that the principal purpose people engaged with the gig financial state was to receive extra funds.

The report famous:

‘This is dependable with a vary of data that signifies system [gig economy] cash flow gives secondary alternatively than key money for the vast majority of platform employees.’

This should not be stunning as wages stagnate and people today struggle to come across stable get the job done with a continuous increase in underemployment exacerbated by COVID-19.

Staff want additional cash because they are not receiving compensated sufficient or operating sufficient several hours. As opposed to businesses raising wages or the Authorities furthering stimuli, the gig financial system paves about the failures of the economic procedure by compounding them, featuring even lessen-compensated positions to deal with the shortfall in low-shelling out work opportunities.

Who’s the manager?

Uber reported:

‘…the flexibility Uber gives is proving an desirable alternative for quite a few… business owners. …associates explain to us they value the freedom of getting their own manager and deciding upon if, when and in which they travel or deliver.’

Typically, a manager has control around the item that employees use to make products and then requires a slice of the earnings. The boss owns the stitching equipment at a textile manufacturing facility, the coffee machine at a cafe and the software package that connects motorists and passengers.

On the other hand, in a strictly authorized perception, Uber is correct — our latest technique does not consist of gig financial state staff as employees. This has permitted gig financial system organizations to thrust all their personnel into a authorized grey area in which they do not have to supply basic worker protections.

Gig financial state personnel nevertheless engage in this exploitative connection since the weak economic instances go away them very little preference. It is not a coincidence that numerous gig financial state staff occur from susceptible socioeconomic groups, notably migrants and younger individuals.

The report built some crucial recommendations to proper this situation, together with new labour guidelines. Having said that, with the Authorities preaching the positive aspects of versatility and people desperately seeking for no matter what career they can discover, action requirements to be taken sooner alternatively than afterwards.

Economic recovery post-COVID-19 looks dire without a healthy migrant population

Sam Brennan is a freelance journalist. You can abide by him on Twitter @samkbren.

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Basketball players’ union establishes hardship fund


NBL and WNBL free agency remain postponed, leaving many players off-contract, while also being without winter basketball, with those seasons on hold or cancelled.

The NBL cancelled its seasons in Victoria, Queensland and South Australia. Travel restrictions will make it hard for Australians to play in the New Zealand NBL if it manages to have a shortened season.

The WNBA season was meant to begin on May 15 but remains on hold, leaving elite Australian women facing a winter without playing.

Both the NBL and WNBL are working out the format of their respective seasons as they rely heavily on home games for revenue.

Many basketballers didn’t qualify for the government’s JobKeeper payments while most NBL free agents saw their contracts end on April 30. Previously, contracts finished on June 30 but the date moved up this season.

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NBL players have agreed to pay cuts for next season, which saw five star players opt-out of their deals to head overseas, and some have questioned whether the ABPA was too quick to accept the cuts.

“It enables us to work through this year as players, clubs and the league,” Holmes said.

“It’s understandable for people to have different emotions but we were working in the best interests of the players in a collective position and this allows next season to occur and for us to continue to take that trajectory up as a sport and keep growing the league.”

South East Melbourne Phoenix returned to the court on Monday with Mitch Creek, Kyle Adnam, Dane Pineau and Adam Gibson completing individual sessions under social distancing and hygiene practices.



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International students in hardship due to coronavirus a ‘looming humanitarian crisis’, advocates say


At the start of the year Ezgi Karasu and Stuart Craig were a financially stable young couple with big dreams for their new lives in Australia, but within months of coronavirus taking off, the pair found themselves without work, facing eviction and asking homelessness services for help.

The pair are among a large number of international students dealing with increasingly desperate financial circumstances that one advocate has described as a “looming humanitarian crisis.”

Ms Karasu and Mr Craig said before coronavirus they never imagined they would need financial support.

“It has been incredible just how quickly it can happen,” Mr Craig said.

“For us, we have had a string of bad luck, just a few bits of bad luck and it takes you from being financially stable and buoyant, you are fine, to talking with people to avoid being homeless.”

Mr Craig and Ms Karasu’s story began in Prague where they met travelling.

He is from Scotland, she is from Turkey and like many couples from different parts of the world, they faced plenty of obstacles when they wanted to be together.

“Australia was pretty much the only place we could find that could offer visas to Turkey and the UK,” Mr Craig said.

In Melbourne Ms Karasu is a student studying early childhood education and Mr Craig had worked as a data analyst.

When coronavirus took off Mr Craig was unable to find work and the cafe Ms Karasu was a part-time waitress at, closed for the pandemic.

They were left without an income.

Should international students get income support?

Ms Karasu wasn’t able to get JobKeeper payments for her waitressing job because she was not a citizen or resident of Australia.

The couple could not access any income support for the same reason.

He said the pair had invested their savings into their lives in Australia, had paid taxes while working but had found themselves without support from the Australian Government or their home countries.

The Federal Labor Party wrote to the Federal Government in April to request coronavirus support be extended to temporary visa holders.

The Shadow Minister for Social Services Linda Burney said the Federal Government needed to carefully consider the impact of its treatment of international students.

“These are not ordinary times, and the government needs to ensure that international students trapped in Australia are not slipping through the cracks, left with nothing and falling into hardship,” she said.

But Federal Education Minister Dan Tehan defended his government’s position.

“International students continue to have access to our world class health system throughout this pandemic.

“Students who have been in Australia longer than 12 months, who find themselves in financial hardship, will be able to access their Australian superannuation.”

On Friday, the NSW Government announced it would spend $20 million dollars funding temporary crisis accommodation for international students stranded in Australia.

Ezgi and Stuart looks at the camera while holding parcels of food including bananas and pasta.
Ezgi Karasu and Stuart Craig collect food parcels from Ezri’s school. The pair lost their jobs and housing because of coronavirus.

With savings dwindling students can’t pay their rent

In April Ms Karasu and Mr Craig told their landlord they were experiencing financial stress.

A month later they were told to vacate, despite national bans on evictions.

Mr Craig then started searching online for homeless services that could help.

But many organisations have told the couple they need some income even for crisis accommodation.

Ms Karasu said she had considered going back to Turkey but faced travel restrictions.

She said she has also invested a lot of money into her education in Australia.

Her educational provider, Melbourne City Institute of Education, has now stepped in to help Ms Karasu and her partner with emergency accommodation.

Cooking school providing meals for hundreds of students

The Institute’s managing director, Gary Coonar, said more than 90 per cent of the international students studying at his organisation had lost their part-time jobs.

“All of their income vanished and their families back home aren’t able to help, they are in the same boat,” he said.

He said many students could not return home, even if they wanted to.

Mr Coonar said his organisation had been doing what it could to help.

Six chefs in white kitchen clothes work at benches in a commercial kitchen.
Culinary students at the Melbourne City Institute of Education have been cooking meals for international students in need.(ABC News: Michael Gleeson)

“We are hearing stories of staff members putting money into bank accounts of students so they can pay their rent, it is just heartbreaking,” he said.

He said some staff members had offered spare bedrooms to students to stay in, while MCIE has been cooking meals for about 100 students each day.

It has been using its commercial kitchen that its cooking students usually use, to prepare meals.

With the help of a charity, Mr Coonar said MCIE had spent $7000 a week for the past eight weeks making more than 7000 meals for international students who can’t afford to buy groceries.

“We do feel like we have been left on our own to manage our students’ situation right now,” he said.

While the Victorian Government has announced relief payments of up to $1,100 to international students, Mr Coonar said he was not aware of any student receiving that payment yet.

Fourteen people stand in a line outside a city building, waiting to collect meals.
International students wait to collect free meals from the Melbourne City Institute of Education’s kitchen at Southbank.(ABC News: Michael Gleeson)

He said that money would help, but the Federal Government needed to offer some form of income support for students during the crisis.

Another international student who has struggled to survive is Alejandro Montecimos who moved to Melbourne from Chile earlier this year for culinary studies.

He lost his part-time work because of coronavirus, when he tried to go home he couldn’t afford the high cost of a flight back.

He had someone connected with MCIE pay two weeks’ rent for him, but he is still running short of money.

“I am very nervous like everyone because I don’t know what will happen in the future,” he said.

Alejandro Montecimos looks at the camera, while standing in chefs clothes in a commercial kitchen.
Alejandro Montecimos come to Melbourne to study, but has lost his part-time job and can’t get home to Chile.(ABC News: Michael Gleeson)

Advocate says this is a ‘looming humanitarian crisis’

The National Union of Students welfare officer, Ali Amin, said there were international students across the country who were “trapped” in Australia, unable to go home and also unable to access income support from Australia.

“The question will be what happens to these students who can not return home, who do not have the option to work, that have to pay their course fees?” he said.

“It definitely would not be wrong to describe this as a humanitarian crisis in a developed country like Australia.

“Students will struggle, they will go hungry.”

Ali Amin looks at the camera with a serious expression, while standing along an outdoor walkway at Adelaide University.
Ali Amin says some international students are running out of money but can’t get home because of travel restrictions or the high cost of flights.(ABC: Ben Pettitt)

Mr Amin said some universities had offered small amounts of relief funding for students, but more needed to be done.

He said many Australians assumed that international students were from wealthy families, but that wasn’t always the case.

He said many international students had borrowed money from banks in their home countries so they could study in Australia and were now struggling to meet repayments and survive.



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Hardship rates waiver hits snag – Alice Springs News


Hardship rates waiver hits snag

Ratepayers, both residential and commercial, who qualify under COVID-19 hardship criteria, look set to get a rates waiver in the first quarter of the new financial year.

 

This is despite councillors having voted down a motion that Cr Marli Banks out forward to this effect.

 

Left: Committees chairpersons Crs Cocking, Auricht and Melky, in council’s boardroom, Cr Banks at home, for last night’s Zoom meeting. 

 

As councillor decisions in the form of motions (whether supported or lost) trump officer decisions, how could this be? asked Cr Banks at last night’s committee meetings.

 

She obviously wants the relief measure to go ahead but she also questioned its legality in terms of council processes.

 

She had asked CEO Robert Jennings earlier in the day to get advice from council’s solicitor on the position.

 

Mr Jennings told the meeting that the situation is not covered in council’s by-laws in a way that gives any guidance. He would have to do further research.

 

Councillors Eli Melky and Glen Auricht acknowledged the “predicament”.

 

It is expected officers will provide procedural clarity at the end of month meeting.

 

 

– Kieran Finnane

 

 

 

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