How does the JobKeeper payment work?


JobKeeper payment during coronavirus announced by government

Featured | Finance

By Loren Webb

The JobKeeper payment or wage is a subsidy program announced by federal government to help with upholding the Australian economy during the coronavirus outbreak. 

It is designed to save six million jobs during the coronavirus pandemic, giving employees the chance to keep their jobs (hence the name) by handing out cash payments every fortnight in place of their normal salaries.

Below is a summary of the JobKeeper payment and how it works, as well as some of the pressures that are being placed on government around changing its current qualification list.


How does the JobKeeper payment work?

  • Businesses will receive $1500 every fortnight for all employees over six months
  • Employers will be legally obligated to pass the money on to their workers
  • The tax office will administer the payments, which are worth $130 billion
  • The scheme is designed to maintain links between bosses and workers during the coronavirus pandemic
  • An estimated six million jobs could be saved
  • Changes to the Fair Work Act will allow employers to reduce people’s pay to $1500 a fortnight, provided hours are adjusted accordingly

Who is eligible?

  • All full-time and part-time employees, along with casuals with a one-year link to their employer
  • Sole traders and New Zealanders on 444 working visas are also included
  • Businesses with at least a 30 per cent hit to turnover because of coronavirus
  • If a company’s turnover is more than $1 billion, a 50 per cent downturn is required
  • Charities with a 15 per cent drop in turnover will be included
  • Workers who normally earn less than $1500 a fortnight will still receive the full subsidy

What are Labor and Unions pushing for?

  • The definition of casual worker broadened to stop 1.1 million people missing out
  • ACTU secretary Sally McManus wants the payment extended to all casuals who expected work over the next 12 months
  • Labor wants the payment administered through the Fair Work Commission rather than temporary changes to the Fair Work Act
  • The opposition and unions are concerned some employers may exploit changes to employment law

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