Prime Minister Scott Morrison has today announced an unprecedented $130 billion ‘job keeper’ wage subsidy package for workers and businesses who have experienced economic hardship in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The ‘JobKeeper’ plan will see the Federal Government provide cash payments of up to $100,000 to small-medium sized enterprises, who will then pay their employees at a flat $1,500 per fortnight rate.
It will be available to full- and part-time workers, sole traders, casuals who have been with their employer for 12 months or more, and New Zealanders on 444 visas.
Workers who were employed from 1 March will be eligible. If employers who made staff redundant due to economic downturn were to rehire them, they will also qualify for the JobKeeper plan.
“We will pay employers to keep paying their employees, and make sure they do,” Mr Morrison said.
The Prime Minister said he anticipates at least six million Australians will need access to this package over the next six months.
“Our plan will see our businesses large and small right across our entire economy share the load with our welfare system to deliver these important income supports.
“It’s been about keeping Australians in jobs, keeping Australian businesses in business, and it’s been about cushioning the blow for those who most significantly will be impacted, by strengthening our social safety net,” he said.
From today, employers and sole traders will be able to apply to the Australian Tax Office for the relief. Payments will flow from the first week of May and be backdated to today.
This wage subsidy package follows two previous Federal Government economic packages worth almost $70 billion, which have been reinforced by $15 billion from the states and territories.
ACT Chief Minister Andrew Barr said in a statement released on 29 March that his government will finalise their second economic package following the Commonwealth’s announcement to ensure “complementary support is provided to those that need it”.
Visit the ATO’s JobKeeper page here for more information.