Australia injects $130bn wage package

The federal government has announced a lifeline for Australia’s workforce amid the coronavirus pandemic, providing six million workers with a fortnightly wage subsidy of $1500 per person.

The $130 billion JobKeeper payment aims help Australians to hold onto their jobs after many businesses continue to suffer from the coronavirus’ economic impact.

The $1500 payment accounts for 70 per cent of the national median wage and will be provided to employees for a maximum of six months.

Both full time and part time employees, including those that have been stood down in March, are eligible for the payment.

Casual employees who have been working for their employers for at least a year are also considered along with self-employed people.

Employers will receive the funds to pay any employee that was on their records from as far back as March 1 2020.

This is available for any eligible Australian business affected by the pandemic, including mining companies.

An eligible business is one with an annual turnover of less than $1 billion and sees a reduction in revenue of 30 per cent or more since March.

Employers with an annual turnover of $1 billion or more will need to show a reduction in revenue of 50 per cent or more to be eligible, while any businesses subject to the major bank levy do not qualify for the payment.

Businesses can apply for the payment online via the Australian Taxation Office (ATO)’s website.

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the payment would ensure workers stay connected with their employers during the pandemic.

“We will give millions of eligible businesses and their workers a lifeline to not only get through this crisis, but bounce back together on the other side,” the Prime Minister 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 first payments will be received by eligible businesses in the first week of May in the form of monthly arrears from the ATO.

Businesses also have the option of distributing the JobKeeper payment plan immediately and to be reimbursed in early May.

The JobKeeper payment brings the federal government’s economic support during the coronavirus to $320 billion – 16.4 per cent of Australia’s GDP.

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