The Federal Government has just announced one of its most important COVID-19 fiscal measures yet: the new JobKeeper payment.
This new $1,500 fortnightly subsidy is designed to keep Australians in their jobs until the pandemic crisis is over.
Here’s how it works: employers who’ve had their business turnover fall by at least 30 per cent due to COVID-19 will be eligible to receive a $1,500 fortnightly payment for every employee (full-time, part-time and casuals), provided they were employed as at 1 March and they have been employed by the business for at least 12 months. Employers can start paying this from 30 March, and will commence receiving the payment from the government from the first week of May, and for the next six months.
This stimulus is designed to stop employers from having to stand down their workers, and enabling them to continue trading throughout this crisis. It means that for employees who work for businesses that have been affected by COVID-19, they will receive a minimum $1,500 per fortnight before tax – even if they were earning less than that amount previously. For employees that have not been stood down and are earning more than $1,500, they will continue to receive their regular income, with the JobKeeper payment subsidising their wage.
Note: employees who are claiming the JobSeeker payment are not eligible for the JobKeeper payment.
Interestingly, self-employed workers are also eligible for this payment.
Businesses who want to take advantage of this new initiative will need to apply to the ATO, as the payment will not be applied automatically.
For more information, see the government fact sheet.