JobKeeper Wage Subsidy
The Australian Government has unveiled a $130B JobKeeper Wage Subsidy, its third and largest response to the COVID-19 pandemic that has shuttered businesses and eliminated jobs.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison has urged businesses to ‘hibernate’ now to protect the safety and wellbeing of their staff and patrons, but reopen and continue to operate when the worst of the health crisis is over.
Under the JobKeeper Program the Government will provide $1,500 per fortnight per employee or self-employed to subsidise wages for a maximum of six months.
- The JobKeeper Payment is designed to help businesses affected by COVID-19 to cover the costs of their employees’ wages so more employees can retain their jobs and continue to earn an income
- It will be available to full-time and part-time workers, sole traders, and casuals who have been with their employer for 12 months or more
- JobKeeper will also be available to the self-employed
- Businesses with a turnover of less than $1B will be eligible if their revenue had dropped by 30% or more since the crisis hit
- Businesses with a turnover of more than $1B will be eligible if their revenue had dropped by 50% or more since the crisis hit
- The employer must have been in an employment relationship with eligible employees as at 1 March 2020, and confirm that each eligible employee is currently engaged in order to receive JobKeeper Payment
- This is a temporary scheme open to businesses impacted by COVID-19
- Employers must elect to participate, which is done via an application process
- Employers must register their interest in applying for the JobKeeper Payment via ato.gov.au from 30 March 2020
- The scheme runs from 30 March with first payment to be received in early May.
Unlike the JobSeeker Payment through Centrelink, for people who have been let go due to economic downturn, the JobKeeper plan is to subsidise employee wages, to support businesses to keep them on.
The Australian Government’s announcement follows and initial $17.6B economic stimulus package, and a further $66B of support measures.
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