Prime Minister Scott Morrison has fired off a third stimulus package to the tune of $130 billion, in a bid to help keep Australians in their jobs as businesses struggle against the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
The stimulus package is intended to assist “hibernating” Aussie businesses and their employees, and brings the government’s spending over the last three weeks to a whopping $320 billion.
The new package includes a $1,500 per fortnight payment to employers, so that they can maintain their employees during this hibernation period.
“We want to keep the engine of our economy running through this crisis. It may run on idle for a time, but it must continue to run. 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,” the Prime Minister said today.
It follows the government’s two stimulus packages: the first $17.6 billion package aimed at retirees and the unemployed; and the second $66 billion lifebelt aimed at small businesses and those who lost their jobs due to the virus.
What’s the JobKeeper Payment? Here’s the $1,500 per fortnight subsidy
In the eight days since the second stimulus package was announced, countless retailers have been forced to shut doors and temporarily stand down workers due to social distancing laws.
Myer was forced to shut doors, with 10,000 employees stood down, while Premier Group, who own Peter Alexander, Smiggle and Just Jeans have been forced to close doors, as have Kathmandu and Mosaic Brands.
Swimwear brand Tigerlily entered voluntary administration, while Flight Centre stood down 3,800 staff members.
Here’s what the third stimulus package means for you:
If you’re an employer or employee...
From today, employers and sole traders will be able to apply to the Australian Tax Office to receive $1,500 per fortnight from the government for staff members on their books.
The payments will be backdated to today for employees who have been on the books since March 1, and flow from the first week of May.
If employees have been stood down by their employer, since March the first, they are still eligible for these payments.
To be eligible, the turnover of the business needs to have fallen by 30 per cent or more, or in the case of a business with an annual turnover of more than $1 billion, by 50 per cent, or more.
“We will pay employees to pay their employees, and make sure they do to keep them in the businesses that employ them and to ensure that I can get ready together to bounce back on the other side,” Morrison said.
It’s a flat payment, which the Prime Minister said was the equivalent of 70 per cent of the median wage.
The payment is available to full-time workers, part-time workers and sole traders. Only casuals who have been with their employer for 12 months or more will be eligible for the payment.
If you’re on the JobSeeker payment...
If your partner’s income exceeded $48,000 per year, you were previously ineligible to apply for the JobSeeker payment, which is $550 per fortnight.
Today, the Prime Minister announced this partner income threshold has been extended to $79,762 per annum.
Morrison said, however, Australians will not be eligible for both the JobKeeper and the JobSeeker Payments.
“I would note though that many of those partners who are seeking those payment will obviously now in very many cases, be covered by this job to the payment by remaining attached to their employers,” he said.
If you’re a New Zealander...
Unlike the Coronavirus Supplement, the JobKeeper Payment does apply to New Zealanders on a 444 visa.
“New Zealanders on 444 visas don’t get access to the welfare system, but they can get access to this JobKeeper Payment,” Morrison said.
“The reason for that is, we have New Zealanders who have been making a life here, have been part of work here, they’re connected to businesses here, they have commitments here, they own properties and they rent properties and they're part of an ongoing economy in Australia,” the Prime Minister said.
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