Here’s what you need to know about the JobKeeper wage subsidy, which is now being paid to Australian employers.
The aim of the payment is to keep up to six million people employed during the coronavirus shutdown.
How much is the JobKeeper payment worth?
Employees will receive $1,500 a fortnight before tax, which is 70 percent of the national median wage.
They money will be paid to eligible employers, who will pass the subsidy onto workers.
The payment is $400 a fortnight more than the $1,100 JobSeeker payment, which is the re-named Newstart unemployment benefit.
Who is eligible for JobKeeper?
Both employees and employers are required to meet certain criteria to be eligible for JobKeeper.
For example, eligible employees:
- can be sole traders, full-time, part-time or casuals employed for more than 12-months
- must be at least 16-years of age, however those aged 16 or 17 must also be financially independent
- must be an Australian citizen, or hold a permanent visa
Gig economy workers will be covered, as they are sole traders.
Employers must have lost 30 percent or more of their revenue compared to a comparable period a year ago.
Additionally, charities that have lost 15 percent of revenue are also eligible.
However, government employees, including council workers such as librarians and swimming pool lifeguards are not eligible.
How will the JobKeeper subsidy be paid?
Eligible employers will pay $1,500 each fortnight to each eligible employee from 30 March 2020.
The government will reimburse the employer starting from 1 May.
Employers are able to top up the $1,500 payment.
What if I normally earn less than $1,500 a fortnight?
If an employee ordinarily receives less than $1,500 in income per fortnight before tax, their employer must still pay them the full $1,500 per fortnight, before tax.
It is therefore possible for a long-term casual or part-time worker to receive more than their ordinary pay.
However, employers have gained new powers to change the ordinary hours, duties and location of work.
As a result, they may vary work to match the $1,500 payment.
They cannot vary workers’ ordinary rate of pay.
What if my employer sacked me or made me redundant?
A worker employed on 1 March 2020, who subsequently ceased employment with their employer, can be re-engaged by the same employer.
As a result, the employee will also receive, at a minimum, $1,500 per fortnight, before tax.
The aim is to encourage employers to put their workforce “back on the books”.
Employers who stood down workers must pay their employee, at a minimum, $1,500 per fortnight, before tax.
For example, businesses that shut down due to coronavirus restrictions – such as cafes, restaurants, theatres, casino workers – will continue to be paid even if they are not working.
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