Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced a $130 billion JobKeeper payment plan to provide wage subsidy to around six million workers amid the coronavirus pandemic. The Australian government, in a statement, said that the workers will receive a flat payment of $1,500 per fortnight through their employer.
The JobKeeper plan is aimed at tackling the economic impact due to the coronavirus and help Australians keep the jobs. According to the government, the payment under the latest plan will provide 70 per cent of the national median wage. The Australian Prime Minister said that the businesses will be able to start again after the pandemic is over as the workforce will remain attached through the JobKeeper payment.
“This is about keeping the connection between the employer and the employee and keeping people in their jobs even though the business they work for may go into hibernation and close down for six months,” said Morrison in a statement.
The payment plan commenced on March 30 and the first payments will be received by eligible businesses in the first week of May. Businesses with an annual turnover of less than $1 billion and at least 30 per cent reduction in revenue since March 1, 2020, over a minimum one-month period will be eligible for the plan. Employers with an annual turnover of $1 billion or more will have to demonstrate a reduction of at least 50 per cent in revenue to be eligible for the plan.
Australia has reported over 4,200 confirmed cases of coronavirus with 18 deaths due to the infection. Morrison emphasised the need for social distancing measures to slow the spread of the virus which should be sustainable to protect Australian lives. “It is clear the epidemiology curve is beginning to flatten. But it is too early to determine whether such movements will be significant or sustained,” Morrison noted.