Up to six million employees will now be able to receive $1,500 fortnightly after the Senate passed the JobKeeper wage subsidy on Wednesday night.
The $130 billion wage subsidy scheme will last for six months and is aimed at saving millions of jobs affected due to the coronavirus pandemic. Prime Minister Scott Morrison has deemed this package the “biggest economic lifeline in the nation’s history”. More than 730,000 businesses have registered their interest in the JobKeeper scheme via the ATO since its announcement last week, however they will have to meet a certain criteria to be approved.
So, which businesses are entitled to the JobKeeper payment?
- Businesses with a 30% loss in turnover
- Companies turning over $1 billion and have a 50% loss
- Charities who have a 15% loss
Which employees are eligible to receive the JobKeeper payment?
- Full-time and part-time workers – current employees or were employed as of March 1 2020
- Casuals who have been employed for longer than 1 year as of March 1 2020
- Employees with no work to do or who have had their hours reduced
- Employees who are an Australian citizen, the holder of a permanent visa, a protected special category visa, a non-protected special category visa who has been residing continually in Australia for 10 years or more, or a New Zealander on a special category (subclass 444) visa.
If you are unsure if you qualify to receive the JobKeeper payment, then visit this article to put your mind at ease.
How about migrant workers and casuals with less than 1 year employment?
Labor urged the government to include 1.1 million more casuals and migrant workers in the JobKeeper scheme. However, the government refused as “a line had to be drawn somewhere”. What does this mean for them as well as those who have been let go prior to the JobKeeper subsidy? They will be eligible for the JobSeeker Payment (formerly known as Newstart) instead, which provides job seekers $1,100 per fortnight. To find out more about your entitlements as a job seeker who has been impacted by the coronavirus pandemic, then visit this explainer to have all your questions answered.
How quickly will I start getting money?
The PM revealed that employers will begin to receive the payment in the first week of May and will be backdated to that date.
I was laid off three weeks ago. Do I qualify?
Yes. Employees who have been stood down or sacked are qualified to receive the payment if their employer chooses to re-employ them. If a business has been shut down due to coronavirus-related restrictions, the employee can still be paid even if they are not working.
I’m hearing reports some companies aren’t going to pass on the $1500 to their employees. I thought that was illegal?
This is definitely illegal. The JobKeeper scheme is a wage subsidy and not a ‘balance sheet subsidy’. Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said that there is a legal obligation for employers to pass on the JobKeeper payment to eligible employees.
I earn more than $1,500 per fortnight. Am I getting a pay cut?
No, you will not. You will still be able to be paid your normal salary, however your employer will top up your wage using the JobKeeper payment.
I earn less than $1,500 per fortnight. Will I get paid less?
No, exactly the opposite! You will be paid $1,500 per fortnight regardless of your current salary. If you typically earn less than $1,500 per fortnight, you will receive more than your ordinary pay during the six month period.
And if you’re looking for a new job right now, there are many paid positions currently being advertised on the Pedestrian JOBS board, which you can check out here.