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JobKeeper Extended To March 2021 But With Lower Payments

The federal government has announced that the JobKeeper scheme will be extended until March 2021, but a two-tier payment structure will be implemented after September 2020.

After September, there will be a lower rate of JobKeeper payments for casuals and part-time workers, which will be more closely aligned with hours worked.

The top-tier payment will be reduced from $1500 per fortnight to $1200 and then $1000 in the first quarter of 2021. The lower-tier payment for those working less than 20 hours per week will be reduced to $750, and then $650.

“We will be lowering those payments in order to phase them out, in order to wean businesses off this temporary crisis support,” said Finance Minister Mathias Cormann. “Ultimately, we want to see businesses able to pay the wages of their employees out of their income rather than having to rely on taxpayer support.”

In addition, businesses will be reassessed by new turnover tests in early October and January. Businesses with less than $1 billion turnover will again have to demonstrate a decline of over 30%, and larger businesses will have to prove a fall of over 50%.

“This will provide much needed relief for many struggling retailers as we approach the most critical trading period of the year. We are conscious that the October-to-December quarter is a make or break period of many retailers, particularly this year,” said Paul Zahra, CEO of the Australian Retailers Association.

“An extension of the program, tailored to those in highest need is something we have been advocating for, and will support the recovery of the retail sector, which is crucial to our wider economic recovery.”


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