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Scott Morrison Announces 'JobKeeper' Payment To Keep Aussies Employed

Businesses are being urged not to sack employees during the coronavirus crisis, with $750 a week per worker offered to subsidise wages as the economy takes a nosedive and workplaces close.

What you need to know
  • Scott Morrison has announced $130 billion will be used in the next six months to help Australians
  • Businesses will be paid up to $1,500 a fortnight, per employee, for the next six months
  • Payments will start flowing into accounts from first week of May, they will be backdated to March 1
  • Payments will not only be for full-time workers
  • Payments would also be available to part-time workers, sole traders and casuals who have been with their employer for 12 months or more
  • New Zealanders are eligible for the payment
  • A total of 18 Australians have died from COVID-19
  • There are 4166 cases nationwide

Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Treasurer Josh Frydenberg unveiled the $130 billion business rescue package, dubbed 'JobKeeper', on Monday afternoon.

Morrison said the plan was "to support the jobs and livelihoods of what we anticipate will be six million Australians who will need that in the months ahead."

It will be $1500 a fortnight, paid to employers, who will then be compelled to pass it on to employees. Frydenberg said that in return for the wages being paid, businesses will be expected to keep staff employed during the COVID-19 crisis.

"At the end of the day we want Australian businesses and their employees to get to the other side intact,” he said.

“And that’s why we’re looking at this wage subsidy measure, because it’s all about ensuring there’s a connection between the employer and the employee through what is a very difficult time.

The cash available to employers will be backdated to March 1, meaning employees who may have lost their jobs or been laid off already will be able to access the payment through their boss. Frydenberg said he hoped employers would re-employ people they were forced to lay off.

Morrison said the plan would require parliament to be recalled, to vote on and pass the legislation, at a point in future.

Scott Morrison and Josh Frydenberg announce the Jobkeeper package. Image: 10 News First

"We are providing support to the Australian like never before... This new $1500 a fortnight JobKeeper payment will provide job security when it's needed most," Frydenberg said.

Employers will be given the wage subsidy to help pay employee wages while the business is put into 'hibernation'. The payments equate to about 70 percent of median wage, and close to 100 percent of the median wage of retail and hospitality sectors.

The payment will be available to full-time and part-time workers, sole traders, and casuals who have been with their employer for 12 months or more. Businesses will be eligible if their revenue had dropped by 30 percent or more since the crisis hit.

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Centrelink Partner Income Test Increased To $79,000

Australians applying for Centrelink can now get support if their partner earns up to $79,000, Scott Morrison announced on Monday.

As opposed to the 'Jobseeker' payment through Centrelink, for people who have been let go due to economic downturn, the 'JobKeeper' plan is to subsidise employee wages, to support businesses to keep them on.

Morrison said the crisis required "unprecedented action" and warned some foreign countries may not recover from the coronavirus outbreak.

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Centrelink Partner Income Test Increased To $79,000

Australians applying for Centrelink can now get support if their partner earns up to $79,000, Scott Morrison announced on Monday.

The government's plan is to help businesses retain their employees through the crisis, with the subsidy meant to top up the wages employers can still afford to pay.

The government is also changing the partner income test for Centrelink from $48,000 to $79,000 per year. It will mean if your partner earns under the new threshold and you lose your job, you will be able to access Centrelink payments.

Hundreds of thousands of people nationwide are trying to access Centrelink after countless businesses -- from bars to gyms, restaurants to cinemas -- have been forced to close or drastically scale back operations in recent weeks, under new government rules to stop coronavirus spread.

Other large companies like R.M. Williams, Myer, Virgin and Qantas have also scaled back, leaving scores of people without work.

Updated

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R.M. Williams, Cotton On, Country Road Latest To Close All Stores

Iconic Australian brand R.M Williams has become the latest retail store to shut its doors amid the COVID-19 crisis.

More to come.