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JobKeeper payments extended at reduced rate

The Government has said today it is extending the JobKeeper Payment by six months to 28 March 2021, answering calls from across hospitality, and many other sectors.

Over the coming six months the payment will be tapered in the December and March quarters, which the Government says has been designed to encourage businesses to adjust to their new environments.

As of 28 September a two-tiered payment will also be introduced, “to better align the payment with the incomes of employees before the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic”.

Employees who were employed for less than 20 hours a week on average in the four weekly pay periods ending before 1 March 2020 will receive the lower payment rate of $750 per fortnight. The full-rate per fortnight will be reduced from the current $1500 to $1200 on 28 September.

From 4 January 2021, the second-tier of reduction will kick in and the lower and full rate will change to $650 and $1000 per fortnight respectively.

The Prime Minister said: “There is no silver bullet and this is about delivering the support Australians need and the policies our economy requires to reopen, recover and create jobs.

“These supports are a lifeline but our JobMaker plan is also setting Australia up for our country’s recovery. We’re delivering the initiatives and reforms that will help grow our economy and create the jobs we need for the years ahead.”

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said the extension of support recognised Australia’s economic recovery was still in its early stages and a number of businesses and individuals remained significantly affected by the global COVID-19 pandemic.

“The Government’s focus remains on reopening the economy where it is safe to do so, but the extension of these measures recognises that some parts of the economy will continue to be affected and need continued support,” the Treasurer said.

“Sadly, as a result of this global health pandemic, businesses will close and people will lose their jobs, but that is why we have extended the Coronavirus Supplement and announced a new skills package to help people transition from welfare to work.

“It is also why we are extending the JobKeeper Payment beyond September to help keep businesses in business and Australians in jobs as our economy reopens.”

From 28 September businesses will also be required to reassess their eligibility for JobKeeper, by referencing their actual June and September quarter turnovers to demonstrate ongoing decline in turnover.

For the March quarter businesses will have to reassess again, referencing their previous three quarters and demonstrating actual turnover decline in each quarter, in order to remain eligible for the payment.

The new arrangements for the JobKeeper Payment are expected to cost an additional $16.6bn.

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