The global lockdown due to the COVID19 pandemic has forced many businesses to lay off employees or even shut their operations. There is hardly any income generation for these firms and the employees dependent on such firms for employment are also lurking in dark. Under these situations, the Australian Government has announced various wage subsidy programs to help ease the financial burden on businesses to pay their employees’ wages, and even encouraging them to train or hire new employees.
Job Keeper Payment
The scheme is administered by the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) and is aimed at empowering eligible employers who employ staff to pay their employees under the guidelines stipulated by the ATO. The first step is to register your business for the grants and after the approval; the government will provide $1,500 per fortnight as a wage subsidy per employee. The eligibility criterion must be fulfilled by both the employers and the employees.
The prime criterion for the entitlement is that you should be an eligible entity having eligible business participation. Your business must fulfill the following objectives to be eligible under this scheme:
- Your business must be in existence as of 1 March 2020 in Australia.
- You should have employed at least one eligible employee in your business as of 01 March 2020. The eligible employees of your business should be currently employed with you to be eligible for the fortnight claims.
- Your business should have faced a 30% fall in the overall turnover for an amount of $1billion or less, 50% fall for turnover more than $1 billion, or 15% fall for ACNC-registered charities.
The amount of $1,500 per employee per fortnight will be reimbursed to the employer by the government. If your business does not have employees and is run by self, even then you are eligible for one JobKeeper Payment of $1,500 per fortnight. Sole traders, partnership firms, trusts or companies are entitled to the schemes under business participation entitlement.
Wage Subsidies for New Employees
Wage subsidies are a financial incentive to encourage employers to hire eligible participants in ongoing jobs by contributing to the initial costs of hiring a new employee. Wage subsidies can help to build a business and give employers greater flexibility in their hiring options.
Up to $10,000 for new employees who are:
- Between 15 to 24 years of age,
- Indigenous Australians, or
- Aged 50 years or above
Up to $6,500 for new employees who are:
- Between 25 to 29 years of age,
- Having children, or
- members with an employment services provider for more than 12 months
Eligible businesses can receive payments over a six month period from employment services providers. Employers can negotiate how often the payments are made, for example weekly or fortnightly.
To be eligible for the wage assistance, a business must:
- have an Australian Business Number (ABN)
- have not previously received a wage subsidy for the same person
- be not an Australian, state or territory government agency
- offer a job that is expected to be ongoing and for an average of 20 hours per week over the six months of the wage subsidy agreement
- offer a job that complies with employment standards for the position – for example, is suitable work and pays as a minimum the national award wage
**This is an ongoing wage subsidy program.
Wage Subsidy Scheme for Employing Physically Challenged
This program offers funding of up to $1,650 for employers who hire job seekers registered with a Disability Employment Service provider to help physically challenged people gain skills and experience through employment. Businesses that employ people registered with a Disability Employment Service provider are only eligible under this program.
- Your business should have an Australian business number (ABN)
- Your business has not previously received a wage subsidy for the same job
- Your business has not recently retrenched or reduced the number of workers, or be proposing to do so
- Your business is not of a type of character that would bring the wage subsidy or the Commonwealth Government into disrepute
- Your business is not receiving another government wage subsidy for the same worker or position
The Wage Subsidy Scheme provides payments to eligible employers to help cover the wages of an employee in the first few months of employment.
**This is also an ongoing program.
Above mentioned are only a few of the wage subsidy programs available for the residents of Australia. To know more about such wage subsidies and assistance programs, please speak to one of our advisors at the number mentioned below.