The Government has announced a range of economic stimulus measures to help individuals who have been hit hardest by the financial impact of COVID-19.
The JobKeeper payment is designed to keep people employed during this difficult economic period.
It is a temporary wage subsidy offered by the Government to employers to ensure they continue paying their employees.
How does it work?
The Government will provide businesses with $1500 per fortnight per employee for up to 6 months.
This means employees will receive, at a minimum, $1500 per fortnight from the Government which their employer can top up.
If you receive a wage above this amount normally, you will continue to receive your normal wage; except that $1500 of it is coming from the Government, rather than your employer.
If you do not receive this amount normally, it doesn’t matter. Your employer must pass on the full $1500 payment per fortnight to you.
If you have been stood down but your employer is receiving JobKeeper payments, they must continue to pass on the Government’s $1500 per fortnight to you.
Where you receive additional payments from your employer, the superannuation guarantee of 9.5% is not required to be paid on top of the JobKeeper payment.
JobKeeper payments are made to employers in arrears on a monthly basis.
How do you know if your employer is eligible?
Business and self-employed individuals can be eligible is their business is not subject to the Major Bank Levy, and:
- For businesses with an annual turnover of less than $1billion, they will be eligible if annual turnover has already or is estimated to drop by 30% or more.
- For businesses with an annual turnover of $1 billion or more, they will be eligible if annual turnover has already or is estimated to drop by 50% ore more.
Registered charities will be eligible if they expect their turnover to fall by 15% of more during this period as compared to a comparable period.
Non-government schools and private vocational education providers are eligible, so long as they fit the above criteria.
Who isn’t eligible?
Governments and their agencies are not eligible to receive JobKeeper payments. This includes the Federal, State and Territory, foreign and local governments.
How do you apply?
From 30 March 2020, businesses and not-for-profits can apply for JobKeeper payments at ato.gov.au. Employees do not need to apply. An employer who applies for a JobKeeper payment that relates to you is required to inform you.
To find out more, click here.
Income support and the coronavirus supplement
A temporary coronavirus supplement has been created by the Government that will be paid to eligible individuals at a rate of $550 a fortnight. This is on top of other Government income support they may already receive.
How does it work?
To allow more people experiencing loss of work hours to be able to receive financial assistance during the coronavirus, access conditions to the following income support payments have been broadened:
- Youth Allowance
- Parenting Payment (partnered and single)
- Farm Household Allowance
- Special benefit recipients
Who is eligible and what are you eligible for?
The Government is trying to reduce the impact of the coronavirus on the economy and individuals as much as possible. You may find you are now eligible for a government payment, even if you haven’t been before.
If you are already receiving one of the above income support payments, you are eligible for the fortnightly supplement
You will be eligible for the Jobseeker or Youth Allowance payments and the coronavirus supplement if you meet the income test and as a result of the economic downturn caused by the coronavirus, have found yourself:
- Stood down from a role where you were a permanent employee; or
- A sole trader of self-employed who has lost income; or
- A casual worker or contract worker and have seen your income cease.
The Government is waiving its usual means testing it applies to individuals who are seeking to receive Jobseeker, Youth Allowance or Parenting Payments during the coronavirus. The waiting period has also been waived, and a faster claim process has been implemented.
Find out more about the Government’s income stream support here.
Temporary early access to super
As part of this early access scheme, you can withdraw up to $10,000 from your super tax free this financial year, and another $10,000 after 1 July 2020. This is expected to be available until September 2020.
Up until now, superannuation was not available to be accessed prior to retirement, unless under extreme financial hardship. The system has not been developed for super to be taken out at a younger age, as the investments made are designed for the long-term to see the best possible growth occur. It’s important to keep this in mind when considering accessing your super and be aware of the impacts that this may have on your retirement income. See what withdrawing your super can mean for you here.
How do I know if I’m eligible?
You are eligible for the temporary early access to super scheme if you:
- are unemployed; or
- receive certain government payments and allowances; or
- were made redundant on or after 1 January 2020; or
- have had their hours reduced by 20% or more on or after 1 January 2020; or
- are a sole trader who has had to suspend their business or has experienced a reduction in turnover of 20% or more since 1 January 2020.
You may be eligible to access some of your super or receive an income stream from your super without making an application. Check here for further details.
How do I apply?
You can apply for this scheme directly through your MyGov account. There have been reports of third party companies approaching people offering to assist them in taking their super out; please be wary of these schemes, particularly if they request a fee.
Your Industry SuperFund is here to help you and your future in retirement. Find out how your fund is responding to COVID-19, or to contact them directly, click on their link below.