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JobKeeper passed: Am I eligible for the $1,500 wage subsidy?

Am I eligible for the JobKeeper subsidy? Source: Getty
Am I eligible for the JobKeeper subsidy? Source: Getty

The government’s $1,500 per fortnight JobKeeper subsidy has officially passed parliament, with payments expected to flow to employers from May.

Around six million Aussies are set to benefit, the majority of whom are full-time and part-time staff members, as well as sole traders - but around two million casuals will miss out.

Here’s a breakdown of who is eligible for the subsidy.

Which businesses are eligible?

Employers with a turnover of less than $1 billion will be eligible for the subsidy if their turnover has fallen by more than 30 per cent over at least one month.

If their business has a turnover of $1 billion or more, they will need to show turnover has fallen by 50 per cent.


Businesses who qualify will receive $1,500 per employee, per fortnight – but they must pass the total flat-rate payment on to their staff.

So far, the payment is budgeted for six months.

Which staff members are eligible?

Full-time, part-time and casual employees, as well as sole traders and New Zealanders on a 444 visa will be eligible.

However, the JobKeeper subsidy applies only to casual staff who have been with their employers for a 12-month period, meaning around two million casuals and temporary migrant workers will miss out.

While some long-standing casual staff may be reaping more than they usually would, other workers who have been hired more recently definitely got the short end of the stick.

Labor put forward amendments to the bill to widen the eligibility criteria for more casuals, but the government rejected them.

However, the Australian Council of Trade Unions told Yahoo Finance it would still lobby for payments to extend to more casual workers.

What can casual staff members do?

If you are a casual worker that has been hired within the 12-month period, you can still apply for the JobSeeker Payment (formerly Newstart).

The JobSeeker payment is $565.70 per fortnight for singles with no children, and the assets test and the waiting period have both been waived.

New applicants will still need to pass the income test, as will their partners.

However, the Prime Minister announced the income test has been increased from $48,000 to $79,762 annually – meaning more Aussies will be eligible.

Casuals can also apply for the $550 per fortnight Coronavirus Supplement, which will bring your total fortnightly payments to around $1,100.

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