What you’ll have to do to keep staff on JobKeeper 2.0

By Sarah Stowe | 21 Jul 2020 View comments

JobKeeper will be extended through to 28 March 2021 in an amended, two-tier format that sees payments reduced and aligned to full or part time hours.

The two-tier payments from 28 September to 3 Jan will be $1200 a fortnight for full-time employees and $750 for staff working fewer than 20 hours.

In the final phase from January through to March 2021 the rate will be $1000 for full-timers and for part-time workers $650 a fortnight.

What this means for franchisors and franchisees

However while eligibility rules remain the same – a drop of 30 per cent revenue for most businesses, for major firms a 50 per cent revenue loss – most companies will need to requalify for the JobKeeper payments.

Employers will need to show the relevant revenue decline for each previous quarter to access JobKeeper in September and December, and across all previous three quarters to remain eligible for the March 2021 quarter payments.

The Prime Minister stressed the need for the industrial relations system to remain flexible to support jobs.

Morrison also put the onus back on to businesses to now plan for a future workforce.

“I would expect businesses now, several months in to the pandemic, to be making their own decisions about who will be working. I anticipate they will make judgements about who they will keep on and who they won’t be able to keep on,” he said.

The PM said it was premature to speculate on whether any specific industries most hard-hit by Covid-19 may need financial support beyond March 2021.

JobKeeper and employment figures

Jobkeeper 2.0  is the result of a Treasury review of the initial six month program. The review found the current JobKeeper plan has supported 960,000 businesses and 3.5m workers, about 30 per cent of the pre-Covid workforce.

Between February and May 2020 more than 2 million Australians either lost their jobs or saw their hours reduced, said Treasurer Josh Frydenberg. And about 39 per cent of jobs lost were secondary jobs.

While the official unemployment rate stands at 7.5 per cent, the 11.3 per cent effective unemployment rate is a more accurate representation of Australia’s employment landscape, the Treasurer and Prime Minister pointed out.

“I’m looking at the effective rate of unemployment and that’s what I’m trying to take down,” said Prime Minister Scott Morrison.

The Government expects about 1.4 million people to receive JobKeeper 2.0 in the December quarter, and 1 million in the March 2021 quarter.

Government estimates the cost of the payments will be $16.2bn.