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Australians who lose their jobs will be paid $1,500 per fortnight to cover their share of income in a plan to protect workers who have been stood down because of the coronavirus crisis.

Under the $130 billion plan, which was announced today, businesses impacted by the coronavirus will be given the fortnightly wage subsidy to help pay their employee’s wages for at least six months. 

Eligible businesses will receive $1,500 per employee per fortnight, which they must pay to eligible employees. There will be a legal obligation to ensure businesses pass on the full wage subsidy to eligible employees. TheATO has released a guide for employers for more details on eligibility requirements.

Employees who are eligible to receive the $1,500 fortnightly payments include:

  • Full-time workers
  • Part-time workers
  • Sole traders
  • Casuals who have been with their employer for at least 12 months
  • New Zealanders on 444 visas
  • Not-for-profit entities

From today, those who are eligible for the wage subsidy will be able to apply to the Australian Tax Office (ATO) via the ATO’s JobKeeper page which means that employers and employees will not have to deal with Centrelink to access the funds.

The fortnightly $1,500 payment will start to be issued from May 1 and will be backdated to 30 March 2020.

If employees have been stood down by their employer since March 1, they are still eligible for these payments. To be eligible, their payments will need to have fallen by 30% or more.

The subsidy is around 70% of the median wage, and 100% of the median wage in the most heavily hit sectors like retail and hospitality.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison urged workers who have already been stood down to “ring up their employer”. He also stressed people can not access both the Jobseeker and Jobkeeper payments.

The $130b wage subsidy is expected to last for six months for an estimated six million Australians whose livelihoods have been impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.