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$130bn JobKeeper payment passes Parliament

The government’s $130 billion JobKeeper payment passed Parliament late on Wednesday night, and should see up to 6 million Australians benefit from a $1,500 fortnightly wage subsidy from May.

$130bn JobKeeper payment passes Parliament
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  • Maja Garaca Djurdjevic
  • April 09, 2020
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“This unprecedented level of financial support will save millions of jobs and keep families together, businesses in business and preserve the productive capacity of the Australian economy,” the Treasurer said following the legislation’s passage.

The $1,500 per fortnight JobKeeper payment is the equivalent of about 70 per cent of the median wage and represents about 100 per cent of the median wage in some of the most heavily affected sectors, such as retail, hospitality and tourism, Treasurer Josh Frydenberg explained.

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.

As of Tuesday afternoon, over 700,000 businesses had registered for this support, with that number said to be continuously growing.

Subsidy to businesses

The JobKeeper payment is a subsidy to businesses and will be paid to employers, for up to six months, for each eligible employee that was on their books on 1 March 2020 and is retained or continues to be engaged by that employer, the Treasurer explained earlier. 

While employers will receive a payment of $1,500 per fortnight per eligible employee, every eligible employee must then receive at least $1,500 per fortnight from this business, before tax.

The program commenced on 30 March, 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 employers are described as businesses structured through companies, partnerships, trusts and sole traders, as well as charities, with annual turnover of less than $1 billion and 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. 

"Combined with the government’s previous actions, this totals $320 billion or 16.4 per cent of GDP in economic support to Australian businesses, households and individuals affected by the coronavirus puts Australia in the best possible position to bounce back stronger than ever," the Treasurer reiterated on Wednesday.

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

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