Read the letter from Senator the Hon Michaelia Cash, Minister for Employment, Skills, Small and Family Business, Senator for Western Australia, written 21 July 2020:
JOBKEEPER PAYMENT AND INCOME SUPPORT EXTENDED
The Morrison Government has announced it will deliver more support for households and businesses to help Australians through the COVID-19 pandemic and bolster our economic recovery.
The JobKeeper Payment will be extended by six months to 28 March 2021 and the temporary JobSeeker Coronavirus Supplement for those on income support will be extended until 31 December 2020.
The extra assistance will continue to support Australians who are without work, offer businesses and their workers a lifeline, and assist Australia’s economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.
The JobKeeper Payment has been instrumental in supporting job retention, maintaining employment links and business cash flow, and providing income support to eligible employees. This extension provides further support to significantly impacted businesses so Australians can retain their jobs and continue to earn an income.
The JobKeeper Payment was due to finish on 27 September 2020, but will now remain available for eligible employers until 28 March 2021.
As the economy reopens the payment will be tapered in the December and March quarters to encourage businesses to adjust to the new environment, supporting a gradual transition to economic recovery, and ensure that those businesses who most need support continue to receive it.
A two-tiered payment will also be introduced from 28 September, to better align the payment with the incomes of employees before the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. From 28 September until 3 January next year, the two payments will be $1,200 and $750, with the lower payment for employees who work less than 20 hours a week on average in the four weekly pay periods ending before 1 March 2020. From 4 January to 28 March, the two payments will be tiered at the rates of $1,000 and $650.
From 28 September 2020, employers will need to demonstrate that they have experienced an ongoing significant decline in turnover in both the June and September quarters to be eligible for the JobKeeper Payment in the December quarter.
To remain eligible for the payment in the March quarter 2021, employers will need to demonstrate that they have met the relevant decline in each of the previous three quarters ending 31 December 2020.
If a business does not meet the turnover test for the extended JobKeeper payment, it will not affect their eligibility prior to 28 September 2020.
The continuation of JobKeeper for these businesses will help support the economic recovery and provide them with sufficient time to adjust. The JobKeeper Payment will continue to remain open to new participants that meet the eligibility requirements. An independent evaluation will be conducted at the conclusion of the program.
Further details are available at the Treasury website, which can be found by clicking here.
JobSeeker and the Coronavirus Supplement
The temporary $550 Coronavirus Supplement, enhanced eligibility for payments, streamlined access to payments, waiver of waiting periods, some means testing arrangements, and a relaxed partner income test for JobSeeker Payment, will continue in their current form until the legislated end date of 24 September 2020.
From 25 September 2020 to 31 December 2020, the Coronavirus Supplement will be extended for those on income support and continue to provide elevated assistance while the economy is still in its early stages of recovery.
As the economy reopens, the Coronavirus Supplement will be adjusted to the rate of $250 per fortnight. The changes to the Coronavirus Supplement reflect the gradually improving economic and labour market conditions and is designed to ensure there are appropriate incentives for all payment recipients to seek out employment or study opportunities.
Both existing and new income support recipients will continue to be paid the Coronavirus Supplement. The Government will also ensure income support is appropriately targeted as the economy recovers by reintroducing a range of means testing arrangements.
In addition, we are also increasing the amount welfare recipients can earn before their JobSeeker and Youth Allowance (other) payments are affected to $300 a fortnight to encourage and support recipients to take up job opportunities as the economy and businesses reopen.
Further details on enhanced eligibility and means testing are available at the Treasury website, which can be found by clicking here.