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JobKeeper package a survival kit for small businesses

31st March 2020

The Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman Kate Carnell has welcomed the $130 billion JobKeeper package announced by the federal government yesterday.

The flat payment of $1,500 per fortnight per employee will be delivered via the Australian Taxation Office (ATO). It will be available to staff that have been stood down since 1 March and staff that continue to work.

Small businesses that have experienced a decline in turnover of 30% or more will be eligible to register for the payment on the ATO’s website.

“The JobKeeper payment will play a critical role in assisting small businesses that have been impacted by the COVID-19 crisis,” Ms Carnell says.

“Crucially, it will allow small businesses to continue trading and paying their staff. It will also ensure small businesses stay connected with their staff, who have been stood down, so they can re-engage their team when trading conditions return to normal.

“Any small business will tell you that staff are their most important asset and this announcement today will be a huge relief for many small businesses that have been in the midst of making very tough decisions about their future as a result of the coronavirus.

“The payment applies across the board to sole traders, the self-employed, full time, and casual staff that have worked for more than 12 months for the same employer.

“It’s a generous payment that’s equivalent to 70% of the median wage and while payments will start flowing to businesses from the first week of May, it has been backdated to staff on the books since 1 March 2020.

“In addition to the JobKeeper payment, the Job Seeker payment has also been extended to those – including sole traders – with partners that have an annual income of up to $79,000. The previous limit was $48,000 so this is a positive development.

“The government is taking unprecedented steps to shield small businesses from the devastating impacts of COVID-19 and this JobKeeper package gives the sector the hope that they need.

“My office will continue to work with the small business community and to advocate for any further measures that will support them during this difficult time.”