Yesterday Scott Morrison announced what would quickly become one of the most generous wage subsidy packages offered in the world: a $1500 fortnightly sum now known as the "JobKeeper Payment".
Costing approximately $130 billion over six months, the JobKeeper Payment was designed to prevent businesses from having to sack workers during what the PM labelled as a "hibernation period".
An enormous amount of Australians are eligible for this payment. Some are not.
Here's what we know so far:
I was stood down by my employer two weeks ago because of COVID-19. Am I eligible for the payment?
Yes you are. The JobKeeper payment includes the many thousands of hospitality and retail workers who have been forced to be stood down by their employers because of social distancing restrictions.
Technically, all workers – including those stood down – are eligible if they were employed by their employer as of March 1, 2020.
I wasn't stood down, but my company re-hired me as a part-time worker to save cash. Am I eligible?
Yes, you are. The payment includes those who had to be re-hired as a result of the business downturn because of COVID-19.
I am not an Australian citizen, and I was working in a local cafe before being stood down. Am I eligible for the payment?
It depends. You need to check your visa.
If you hold a permanent visa, or a protected special category visa, then you will still be eligible for the payment.
Additionally, if you are a non-protected Special Category Visa Holder who has been living in Australia for 10 years or more, you will also be eligible.
Other employees who are eligible include those who hold a Special Category (Subclass 444) Visa.
I've been a casual employee over summer and I have lost my job. Am I entitled to the JobKeeper payment?
No. Only long-term casual employees are eligible.
This means you will have to have been employed on a casual basis for more than 12 months as of March 1, 2020.
I was earning less than $1500 a fortnight before the coronavirus hit. Does that mean I'll only get my normal wage?
Good news: if you are eligible, you will get the $1500 a fortnight regardless of how much or how little money you were making. It is not portioned based on your salary.
The JobKeeper payment is a minimum, and some employers may pay on top of that.
I'm employed by multiple businesses. Does this mean I will get multiples of the payment?
No. Each eligible Australian will get only one JobKeeper payment. If you have multiple employers, you must notify your primary employer of your intention to claim the payment.
The majority of employees won't need to do anything to receive the payment.
I'm a self-employed tradie, am I eligible for the payment?
It depends. All employers – from self-employed individuals to charities to mega corporations – need to meet the criteria for the JobKeeper payment.
The criteria is simple: if you have a business with a turnover of less than $1 billion and your turnover has been reduced by more than 30 per cent as a result of COVID-19, you are eligible.
If you have a turnover of more than $1 billion (you're a bloody good tradie!) then your turnover will have needed to be reduced by more than 50 per cent as a result of the virus.
If I'm self-employed will the payment come automatically to me?
No. If you are self-employed and run a business without any employees, you will need to register your interest for the payment via the Tax Office's website.
You'll need to provide an ABN, nominate an individual to receive a payment and have a tax file number ready.