Federal Government announces JobKeeper 2.0

Federal Government announces JobKeeper 2.0

The Australian Federal Government has announced the current JobKeeper arrangements will remain until September, before JobKeeper 2.0 featuring staged reductions will run until 31 March 2021.

The new tiered payment support scheme is expected to to increase the total cost of the initiative by $16 billion.

From October, businesses that continue to meet the revenue requirements will be entitled to $1,200 per fortnight for employees who were working 20 hours or more per week prior to the COVID-19 outbreak. This will reduce to $1,000 starting from 2021.

For employees who worked fewer than 20 hours per week, payments till drop to $750 per fortnight from October, and $650 from the start of 2021.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has told a press conference that more than $30 billion had been provided through the JobKeeper program to around 960,000 businesses and 3.5 million employees.

"It was been effective in stemming the loss of business closures and job losses," Mr Morrison said.

"It has saved businesses and it has saved livelihoods. That is the feedback I've been getting direct as I've spoken to Australians all around the country."

To help buffer the blow from the phased reduction of JobKeeper, the government will increase income-free area that is available to those on JobSeeker unemployment benefits to $300.

"Where you may have been getting $550 before, you can earn $300 and then there's the $250 supplement that will come through the COVID supplement and that will run out till the end of this year."

"We will be introducing mutual obligation in two phases - from the 4th of August we will be requiring people to connect again to employment services and to undertake four job searches a month, and the penalties regime will kick in if people refuse a job that has been provided and offered through the process.'

"The second phase of mutual obligation requirements in late September there will be a higher rate of job search, the assets test will be reintroduced for eligibilty."

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