Yesterday, the Federal Government announced an extension to the JobKeeper wage subsidy program. This is in response to calls from Canberra Business Chamber, through the Australian Chamber of Commerce & Industry (ACCI) and other industry groups, for the continuation of the subsidy. JobKeeper has been an important lifeline to businesses during the COVID crisis, and the extension will give businesses greater certainty to plan for the end of this income support. It will hopefully also lift confidence, which has been impacted by the reintroduction of lockdowns in Victoria and the emergence of COVID clusters in NSW.
Key changes to the program include:
- A second phase of the JobKeeper and JobSeeker programs which will continue post September 2020 until 28 March 2021;
- JobKeeper eligibility will be re-tested in October and early January 2021;
- The eligibility criteria for ongoing support will be based on turnover decline (50% for turnover over $1 billion, 30% for turnover under $1 billion and 15% for charities and not-for-profits);
- Two tiers of JobKeeper will be introduced, based on hours employees worked in February 2020: $1200 per fortnight for those employees who averaged more than 20 hours per week and $750 per fortnight for employees who averaged less than 20 hours per week.