Prime Minister Scott Morrison has announced an additional $130 billion “economic lifeline” to be delivered to Australians over the next six-months.
He and Treasurer, Josh Frydenberg, announced the plan on Monday afternoon. It will be delivered through the ATO, and will include rent, utility, and wage and job support – notably, a $1500 fortnightly ‘Job Keeper’ payment for COVID-19 impacted full- and part-time employees.
The new package is a “uniquely Australian solution” that will help businesses keep workers on their payrolls through the pandemic “even when the work may dry up”.
It aims to keep businesses functioning, and “cushioning the blow for those who most significantly will be impacted by strengthening our social safety net.”
Treasurer Frydenberg said sole traders, and casuals (who have been with their employers for 12 months or more) are also eligible. That means, you Uber drivers and Deliveroo cyclists might just fit the bill, too. Freelancers, unfortunately, won’t.
The payment is a flat-rate and covers 70% of the median Australian wage, and 100% of the median wages of the worst-hit sectors: retail, hospitality, and tourism. And if you earn more than $1500, your employer has to make up the rest.
Can’t tell you how thrilled I am that the Job Keeper payment is CAPPED and the PM defending that as the Australian way, as indeed it has been and as it’s given us the most targeted social security system in the world
— Nicholas Gruen (@NGruen1) March 30, 2020
The subsidies will not have a superannuation component.
Employers and sole traders can apply to The Australian Tax Office (ATO) from today, and “payments will flow from the first week of May and be backdated to today.”
In other words, the government is paying your boss to pay you – and, if what Mr Morrison promises is true, they will make sure they pay you
Businesses, to be eligible, must have lost 30% or more of their annual turnover.
And even workers who have been stood down – since March 1 – are eligible for the payments. Also eligible are not-for-profits, and Kiwis on 444 visas. So this is genuinely huge.
Interesting that the JobKeeper payment appears to be available to sole traders. This could potnetially be very helpful to many gig economy workers
— Ben Eltham (@beneltham) March 30, 2020
Mr Morrison said in these unprecedented times, called for unprecedented action. He and Mr Frydenberg emphasised how unique and generous this package was – much more than that offered by the UK or New Zealand.
“At the end of the day we want Australian businesses and their employees to get to the other side intact,” he said.
“And that’s why we’re looking at this wage subsidy measure, because it’s all about ensuring there’s a connection between the employer and the employee through what is a very difficult time.”
Image Sources: Facebook (Scott Morrison PM)