Not even a day after Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced the new JobKeeper subsidy payment, nearly 200,000 businesses hoping to keep vulnerable workers on the books have registered their interest in the relief package.
This morning, Morrison said more than 113,000 enterprises had signed up to the new initiative, which is slated to provide $1500 per fortnight for the employees of businesses which have taken a financial hit during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.
As of 8am today, over 113,000 Australian businesses have registered their interest in the new #JobKeeper wage subsidy of $1500 per fortnight for each employee. Our $130 billion plan is all about keeping Australians in jobs while we deal with this #coronavirus crisis.
— Scott Morrison (@ScottMorrisonMP) March 30, 2020
This afternoon, ABC reported that figure was 192,558.
The JobKeeper subsidy applies to full time and part time workers, sole traders, and casual employees who’ve been at the same workplace for a year or more. It’s slated to last for six months, and comes as part of a $130 billion economic stimulus package.
It covers businesses with a turnover of less than $1 billion which have seen a 30% fall in revenue since the start of the month, and companies with a turnover of more than $1 billion who have taken a 50% hit.
That’s a huge chunk of the working population, and the Government estimates more than six million Australians will be eventually qualify for the JobKeeper payment.
“That’s fantastic for us, it’s been a really de-stressing message,” said business owner Nick Yannas, who has applied for the JobKeeper subsidy to cover staff at his two Melbourne businesses.
Yannas’ Windsor bar, Punk Carla, has closed in accordance with the Government’s mandatory shutdown.
But his hair salon remains open despite an estimated 70% drop in trade, and is currently spreading hours to keep staff on board.
Yannas said that without the subsidy, he may have been forced to dismiss a dozen employees.
“With this JobKeeper incentive from the Government, it gives us a lifeline to keep the doors open, to pay our staff, to give them the security that something is there for them,” he said.
While Yannas said it took “under a minute” to register his interest in the subsidy for both companies, he said there’s still a long way to go before the first JobSeeker payments hit at the start of May.
The unprecedented shutdown has Yannas and his business partners “weighing up their options” with the bar, but he says the subsidy has given him hope for his businesses and employees.
“It gives us the six month period, that six month buffer, so that we can recover on the other side.”
If you’re keen to register your interest in the JobKeeper subsidy, you can do so here.Image: @punkcarla / Instagram