Workers to receive $1500 a fortnight in COVID-19 wage support

The federal government has unveiled a $130 billion wage support package which means employees that have been terminated, stood down or are working in a business that has suffered a minimum 30 per cent downturn from COVID-19 will be paid $1500 a fortnight through their employer for the next six months.

The Job Keeper subsidy is about keeping employees working and means employers can benefit from having their staff on board even if they are forced to shutdown, or hibernate, while the crisis passes.

To access the package, eligible businesses need to register with the ATO and Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Treasurer Josh Frydenberg have assured business owners the reimbursements will start coming through to employers during the first week of May.

“The payment will ensure eligible employers and employees stay connected while some businesses move into hibernation,” Prime Minister Scott Morrison said.

“This is about keeping the connection between the employer and the employee and keeping people in their jobs even though the business they work for may go into hibernation and close down for six months.

“When the economy comes back, these businesses will be able to start again and their workforce will be ready to go because they will remain attached to the business through our JobKeeper payment.”

“The program will commence today, 30 March 2020, 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 businesses can begin distributing the JobKeeper payment immediately and will be reimbursed from the first week of May.”

The payments also covers employees who have been terminated since March 1.

Businesses with revenues of $1b a year must be able to prove they have suffered a minimum 30 per cent impact from COVID-19, while those with revenues over $1b will have to show a negative impact of 50 per cent.

Print and Visual Communication CEO Andrew Macaulay has welcomed the measures.

“This is what we have been crying out for,” Macaulay told Sprinter.

“This is fantastic because it will give some certainty to both the employer and the employee about ongoing income stability and help businesses move forward. The application process appears to be relatively straightforward also.

“They are trying to get everything through the ATO because the ATO has already got the pre-verification for every business and who they are employing. So all the records are central there and it means they can streamline things and simplify processes which is wonderful. This is terrific.”

The latest package takes federal government economic support for the COVID-19 crisis to $320b or 16.4 per cent of GDP.

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