COVID-19: Wage subsidy plan

April 2, 2020

The government has announced that it will provide eligible employers who have taken a significant financial hit as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak with the funds to pay their full-time, part-time and long-term casual employees $1500 per fortnight.

The JobKeeper Payment will be paid to employers, for up to six months, for each eligible employee who was on their books on 1 March 2020 and is retained or continues to be engaged by that employer (including those who have been stood down). The program will commence on 30 March 2020, with the first payments to be received in the first week of May from the ATO.

Eligible employers will be those with:

  • an annual turnover of less than $1 billion who self-assess as having a reduction in revenue of 30 per cent or more since 1 March 2020
  • an annual turnover of $1 billion or more who demonstrate a reduction in revenue of 50 per cent or more.

Eligible employers include businesses structured through companies, partnerships, trusts and sole traders. Not-for-profit entities, including charities, will also be eligible. Businesses subject to the major bank levy will not be eligible.

Full-time and part-time employees, including stood down employees, would be eligible to receive the JobKeeper Payment. Where a casual employee has been with their employer for at least the previous 12 months, they will also be eligible for the payment. An employee will only be eligible to receive this payment from one employer. Eligible employees include Australian residents, New Zealand citizens in Australia who hold a subclass 444 special category visa and migrants who are eligible for JobSeeker Payment or Youth Allowance (Other). Self-employed individuals are also eligible to receive the JobKeeper Payment.

Eligible businesses can apply for the payment online and are able to register their interest. Participating employers will be required to ensure eligible employees will receive, at a minimum, $1500 per fortnight, before tax. Employers can choose if they want to pay superannuation on any additional wage paid because of the JobKeeper Payment.

Treasury is regularly updating its factsheets and legislation is expected to be put before parliament next week.