The Federal government announced a wage subsidy of $1,500 per fortnight to around six million workers as part of a historic $130 billion JobKeeper payment. The payment opened to eligible businesses that received a significant financial hit from the coronavirus.
The payment is paid to employers, for up to six months, for each eligible employee that was on their books on 1 March 2020 and is retained or continues to be engaged by that employer. Where a business has stood down employees since 1 March, the payment will help them maintain connection with their employees.
Eligible employers were those with annual turnover of less than $1 billion with a reduction in revenue of 30% or more, since 1 March 2020 over a minimum one-month period. Employers with an annual turnover of $1 billion or more were required to demonstrate a reduction in revenue of 50% or more. Businesses subject to the Major Bank Levy were not be eligible.
Businesses structured through companies, partnerships, trusts and sole traders, as well as not-for-profit entities, including charities, are eligible. Self-employed individuals are also eligible.
Full time and part time employees, including stood down employees, would be eligible to receive the JobKeeper payment, as well as casual employees who have been with their employer for at least the previous 12 months.
MYOB finds JobKeeper program becomes ‘lifeline’ for small business
Research released by MYOB in July found that the government’s JobKeeper program had been a lifeline for small businesses, with 84% of small business owners that were eligible for the JobKeeper program reporting that the subsidy allowed them to continue trading.
Australian small business owners believe that the government has done a good job, with 71% saying the Australian government response is better than that of the United States, and 68% says it is better than the United Kingdom.
However, four in ten business owners say their business is in hibernation for six months, with a further 24% reporting that their business has or will need to permanently shut down. In addition, 68% of small business owners say that their revenue is down due to the impact of COVID-19 and 26% expect the consequences to last for at least one to two years.
The COVID-19 Edition of MYOB’s Business Monitor surveyed more than 1,000 Australian SMEs between April and May. It highlights the impact COVID-19 has had on small businesses around Australia and across industries including financial, agriculture, trades, transport, retail and hospitality.