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$130 Billion JobKeeper payment passes parliament

ONE of the most important pieces of legislation in Australia’s history passed both houses of Parliament late on Wednesday.

Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack said the $130 billion JobKeeper payment, which is a subsidy to businesses to keep more Australians in jobs through the turbulence of the current Coronavirus pandemic, will benefit thousands of workers across the country.

“This is an important moment in Australia’s history,” Mr McCormack said.

“Never before has an Australian Government taken such a bold step to assist workers through an economic crisis.

“This unprecedented level of support ensures regional Australians get a fair go.

“This will save millions of jobs across the nation and will take away some of the stress and anxiety being felt by all Australians at this challenging time.

“The Federal Government is doing all it can to navigate all Australians through these unchartered waters.”

Eligible workers will receive a flat payment of $1500 per fortnight through their employer, before tax.

This figure represents the equivalent of about 70 per cent of the median wage and 100 per cent of the median wage in some of the most heavily affected sectors, including retail, hospitality and tourism.

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.

Importantly, it will apply to the many Australians working in the not-for-profit sector.

The payment will ensure eligible employers and employees stay connected while some businesses move into hibernation.

The Government’s total economic support for the economy during this crisis totals $320 billion or 16.4 per cent of GDP.

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

For more information on the Federal Government’s economic response to COVID-19, please go to Mr McCormack’s website.

For the latest news relating to COVID-19, please visit www.australia.gov.au.

Media Release: April 9, 2020

JobKeeper Payment – the facts

  • The JobKeeper Payment is a subsidy to businesses, which will keep more Australians in jobs through the course of the coronavirus outbreak
  • The payment will be paid to employers, for up to six months, for each eligible employee who was on their books on 1 March 2020 and is retained or continues to be engaged by that employer
  • Where a business has stood down employees since 1 March, the payment will help them maintain connection with their employees
  • 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
  • The program will commence today, 30 March 2020, with the first payments to be received by eligible businesses in the first week of May as monthly arrears from the Australian Taxation Office. Eligible businesses can begin distributing the JobKeeper payment immediately and will be reimbursed from the first week of May
  • The Government will provide updates on further business cashflow support in coming days
  • Eligible employers will be those with annual turnover of less than $1 billion who self-assess that have a reduction in revenue of 30 per cent or more, 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 per cent or more to be eligible. Businesses subject to the Major Bank Levy will not be eligible
  • Eligible employers include businesses structured through companies, partnerships, trusts and sole traders. Not for profit entities, including charities, will also be eligible
  • Full-time and part-time employees, including stood down employees, would be eligible to receive the JobKeeper Payment. Where a casual employee has been with their employer for at least the previous 12 months they will also be eligible for the Payment. 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 www.ato.gov.au
  • Income support partner pay income test – 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. 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.