Some relief for small business in third government stimulus package

Businesses will soon be able to offer their staff a wage subsidy of $1,500 per fortnight during the Covid-19 crisis.

The $130 billion JobKeeper payment was announced yesterday as part of the federal government’s third stimulus package and will be available to businesses who have been significantly financially disadvantaged due to the virus.

However, while it applies to full and part time employees, payments will only be available to casuals who had been employed with a business for 12 months.

To be eligible, businesses must have an annual turnover under $1 billion and must have experienced a drop in revenue of more than 30 per cent since March 1. It applied to both companies, partnerships, sole traders and trusts. As well as not-for-profits.

Businesses with a turnover above $1 billion must be able to prove a 50 per cent drop in revenue in order to apply.

The flat payment rate equates to close to 70 per cent of Australia’s median wage and is estimated at the equivalent of a full median wage for those in the hospitality, retail or accommodation sectors.

It will be paid to employers for up to six months for each (eligible) employee who was on their books as of March 1. Employees must be retained in order for the payments to be made.

Payments will begin in early May and will be backdated.

The third package brings the government’s total Covid-19 spend to $320 billion, or 16.4 per cent of GDP.

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