Over the weekend, the Federal Government announced an investment of $130 billion to subsidise wages of Australian businesses in order to ensure Australians keep their jobs and businesses reopen after the coronavirus health crisis.  Described by the Prime Minister as an “economic lifeline”, the subsidy, known as the JobKeeper Payment takes the total figure now allocated towards stimulus and support measures to $214 billion.

Under the JobKeeper Payment scheme, eligible businesses will receive a fortnightly wage subsidy of $1,500 per employee, for up to 6 months. Businesses and not-for-profits will be eligible if they experience a downturn in revenue of 30% or more, or 50% for businesses with annual earnings of over $1 billion.

To be eligible to receive the JobKeeper Payment, the employee must be employed by the business from 1 March 2020 and continue to be engaged by the employer. Full time, part time, long term casuals (ie. casual workers must be employed by the business on a regular basis for at least the previous 12 months as at 1 March 2020) and self-employed individuals will be eligible to access the scheme.

The Government estimates that six million people including those sacked or stood down since March 1, as well as those still working for struggling small, medium and big businesses, would be eligible for the payment. The Prime Minister has indicated that there is a legal obligation on employers to ensure they passed the full wage subsidy on to employees.

The subsidy is a flat payment, meaning everybody receives the same amount, regardless of current or previous income, and it will be paid to employers through the Australian Taxation Office. The payment will be made to eligible businesses in the first week of May as monthly arrears from the Tax Office. Businesses can either start paying workers now, if they have the cash flow, or back-pay them to March 30 when the money arrives.

For further details on the JobKeeper Payment scheme and the other stimulus relief package, please refer to “COVID -19: Stimulus Packages for Businesses”.

Trident Financial Group will stand by our clients through these uncertain times. With specialists across business risk, business continuity, tax, compliance and restructuring, we are here to help you.

Please contact us if you require assistance with accessing the stimulus package.