Covid-19: Your stimulus and rescue package explained
A legislative package has been
pushed through Parliament which contains a number of bills that implement the government’s economic response to the spread of
The relief package of legislation consisted of several separate bills, which were all introduced to Parliament within a short period of time. The legislation has now
passed both houses, with most applying from mid-March.
The government further announced at the end of March a further massive subsidy for businesses to help them retain employees so they are ready to get back to business when the current coronavirus issues subside.
The JobKeeper package
The government further announced at the end of March a further massive subsidy for businesses to help them retain employees so they are ready to get back to business when the current coronavirus issues subside. The new subsidy is called the JobKeeper payment.
Coronavirus stimulus package - information for businesses
the page contain useful information for businesses on how to navigate through this difficult time. It includes detailed information of government assistance program, obligations for business owners, and things they should be aware of.
A further package of legislation to implement the Government’s economic response to the COVID-19 pandemic passed both Houses on 8 April 2020 and received Royal Assent on 9 April 2020. The legislation facilitates the operation of the new JobKeeper Payments scheme, and includes amendments to the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) (FW Act) to allow employers to alter employee hours, duties and location of work, and for employer/employee agreements around working days and the taking of annual leave.
The following key new legislation was passed:
Coronavirus Economic Response Package (Payments and Benefits) Act 2020 (Payments and Benefits Act), and
Coronavirus Economic Response Package Omnibus (Measures No 2) Act 2020 (Omnibus Act No 2).
The majority of amendments (including those to the FW Act) commenced on 9 April 2020.
The JobKeeper scheme will help qualifying employers to retain staff during the downturn caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and support business recovery when conditions improve. JobKeeper payments are payable to qualifying employers for a maximum of 13 fortnights in respect of each eligible employee on their books on 1 March 2020 who is retained by the employer. Qualifying employers will receive a payment (fortnightly in arrears) of $1,500 per fortnight for each eligible employee.
Source: Wolters Kluwer
Click here to read more
Fair Work Act amendments
Schedule 1 of the Omnibus Act No 2 inserts a new Pt 6-4C into the FW Act which temporarily enables employers to issue JobKeeper enabling directions. These can provide (subject to various safeguards) for increased flexibility around employees’ hours of work, performance of duties and location of work. It also enables employers and employees to make agreements for increased flexibility around annual leave arrangements and days and times of work. The Fair Work Commission will be able to resolve disputes by arbitration.
The new Pt 6-4C also requires JobKeeper qualifying employers to meet minimum payment obligations to employees who are subject to these arrangements by ensuring that at least the value of JobKeeper payments they receive through the Australian Taxation Commissioner (Commissioner) is passed on to such employees each fortnight, or the amount they would receive for the work they have performed if that would be greater. It also includes rules about the accrual of service and calculation of benefits in certain circumstances.