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PM reveals $130 billion wage subsidy for workers

coronavirus

By Juliano Oliveira

Approximately 6 million workers impacted by the effects of Covid-19 in the Australian economy will receive $1,500 per fortnight in a direct scheme involving government and employer.

Called JobKeeper, the $130 billion wage subsidy announced by Premier Scott Morrison is expected to protect the workers’ purchasing power by preserving jobs for up to six months.

The Government says that the equivalent of around 70% of the national median wage will be covered. The program is already in force and the first payments will commence in the first week of May – delivered by the Australian Taxation Office

“We will give millions of eligible businesses and their workers a lifeline to not only get through this crisis, but bounce back together on the other side,” the Prime Minister said. 

“This is about keeping the connection between the employer and the employee and keeping people in their jobs even though the business they work for may go into hibernation and close down for six months.”

Mr Morrison said the JobKeeper payment would bring the Government’s total economic support for the economy to $320 billion or 16.4% of GDP.

Eligibility

The subsidy will be passed on to employer whose employee was registered on their books on 1 March 2020 and is still part of the company. Employees who have already been stood down will be eligible for the payment.

Employers will receive a payment of $1,500 per fortnight per eligible employee. Every eligible employee must receive at least $1,500 per fortnight from this business, before tax.

Eligible employers will be those with:

  • Annual turnover of less than $1 billion who self-assess that have a reduction in revenue of 30%, since 1 March 2020 over a minimum one-month period. 
  • Employers with an annual turnover of $1 billion or more would be required to demonstrate a reduction in revenue of 50% or more to be eligible.
  • Eligible employers include businesses structured through companies, partnerships, trusts and sole traders. Not-for-profit entities, including charities, will also be eligible.

Part-time and casual

Mr Morrison confirmed that full-time and part-time employees, including those who have been stood down, would be eligible to receive the JobKeeper Payment.

Casual employees need to with their employer for at least the previous 12 months. In this case, they will also be eligible for the subsidy.  An employee will only be eligible to receive this payment from one employer. 

Eligible employees include Australian residents, New Zealand citizens in Australia who hold a subclass 444 special category visa, and migrants who are eligible for JobSeeker Payment or Youth Allowance (Other). 

Self-employed individuals are also eligible to receive the JobKeeper Payment.

Eligible businesses can apply for the payment online and are able to register their interest via ato.gov.au 

Income support partner

Over the next six months, the Government is temporarily expanding access to income support payments and establishing a Coronavirus Supplement of $550 per fortnight.

JobSeeker Payment is subject to a partner income test, and the Government is temporarily relaxing the partner income test to ensure that an eligible person can receive the JobSeeker Payment, and associated Coronavirus Supplement, providing their partner earns less than $3,068 per fortnight, around $79,762 per annum. 

The personal income test for individuals on JobSeeker Payment will still apply.

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