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$130bn wage package to help businesses

 

The Morrison government has announced a financial rescue plan for Australia’s workforce during the coronavirus, providing six million workers with a fortnightly wage subsidy of $1500 per person.

The new payment plan package worth $130 billion is expected to allow Australians to hold onto their jobs as many businesses suffer from the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic. 

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

This is available for any eligible Australian business affected by the pandemic.

Under the plan, quarrying and construction companies could be eligible. 

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

To qualify, a small or medium business is with an annual turnover of less than $1 billion must prove it has incurred a reduction in revenue of 30 per cent or more since March. Larger businesses with turnovers of greater than $50 billion must prove they have incurred reductions in revenue of 50 per cent or more relative to a comparable period a year ago (of at least a month). 

Both full-time and part-time employees of those businesses, including those that were 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. 

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

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the payment allows employers to stay connected to their employees.

“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 businesses 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.

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