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09 April 2020

JobKeeper to help small businesses survive Coronavirus crisis

The Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman Kate Carnell has welcomed legislation passed by the federal government overnight, that will see thousands of small businesses receive the JobKeeper payment from early May.

The flat payment of $1,500 per fortnight per eligible employee will be delivered by the Australian Taxation Office (ATO), assisting small businesses pay their staff that continue to work as well as staff that have been stood down since 1 March, 2020.

Small businesses, including sole traders, which have an annual turnover of less than $1 billion and estimate their turnover has fallen or will fall by 30% or more are eligible for the subsidy.

“The government’s $130 billion JobKeeper scheme is the biggest financial lifeline Australia has ever seen and I congratulate parliament for passing the legislation with bipartisan support,” Ms Carnell says.

“The JobKeeper payment is critical to the survival of small businesses that have been impacted by the COVID-19 crisis.

“Crucially it will allow small businesses to continue operating and paying their staff. It will also keep small businesses connected to their staff, who have been stood down, so they can re-engage their team when the time comes to ramp up.

“There has been a lot of confusion out there about eligibility for JobKeeper, but the intent of this policy is to be inclusive of small and micro-businesses under financial strain in this difficult time. That includes, sole traders, partnerships, contractors, freelancers and trusts.

“My message to small businesses is – if you think you might be eligible, visit the ATO website and express your interest. You just need your ABN and contact details. The ATO will get back to you.

“Importantly, small businesses that have signed up for JobKeeper will need to make the payments now before they are reimbursed by the ATO in May.

“Above all, we know that there’s never been a tougher time to be in business, but the JobKeeper package provides the practical financial support and the hope small businesses need as we wait for this health crisis to pass.”