The Government has formally announced a $1,500.00 fortnightly wage subsidy to help businesses to keep employees in a job throughout the COVID-19 crisis (“JobKeeper Payment”).  Eligible employers will be able to claim the payment per eligible employee from 30 March 2020, for a maximum period of six months.  Treasurer Josh Frydenberg has said this is about 70 percent of the median wage.

According to the Government’s announcement:

1. This subsidy will be paid by the ATO to the Employer to pay on to Employees and will be available to full-time and part-time workers, sole traders, as well as casuals who have been employed for at least 12 months. The same amount applies to all Employees irrespective of whether they are part-time, full-time or casual (even if their wage / earnings were less than this).

2. Payments will flow from 1 May 2020 and will be back dated to 30 March 2020.

3. Employees who have been stood down by their Employer since 1 March 2020, are still eligible for these payments subject to other eligibility criteria being satisfied.

4. Employees who have been made redundant can be put back on an Employer’s books (and therefore become eligible for the payment).

5. Business revenue will need to have fallen by 30% or more to be eligible (or 50% for companies whose turnover is over 1 billion).

6. This will also apply to New Zealand 444 visa holders.

7. There will be no superannuation guarantee levy on this payment.

8. There will be a button on the ATO website which will allow Employers to register.  Noting businesses can still be employing and running their business to be eligible for payments.

9. If an Employee has applied for a JobSeeker payment they are to contact their Employer and see if their Employer will claim the Job Keeper Payment.

10. Parliament will be recalled to vote on the relevant legislation needed to provide for the payments.

11. Other benefits discussed include:

a. PAYG refunds of between $20,000.00 – $100,000.00 for small and medium businesses; and

b. Extending of the partner income test to $79,762.00 per annum for those seeking the Job Seeker payment.

We will provide further updates when a draft of the legislation giving rise to the JobKeeper payment is released.

Contact the HR Law team if you require specific details for your business.

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