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Inside restaurant at Old Gold Cafe
Photograph: Cassandra Hannagan

JobKeeper payments have been extended until March 2021

The hospitality and entertainment industries have been granted a reprieve
Written by
Cassidy Knowlton

Businesses hit hard by the current health and economic crisis gripping Australia will be relieved by today's federal government announcement that JobKeeper payments are slated to continue until the end of March next year. 

The payment, which totals $1,500 per fortnight per employee and is given to employers that have suffered a 30 per cent year-on-year reduction in turnover, must be passed on to employees in full. At the moment, that $1,500 per fortnight is awarded to permanent employees, whether full time or part time, but it does not take into account the number of hours worked. The JobKeeper $1,500 payment is also available to casual employees who have been with a company for at least 12 months as of March 1 this year, again, regardless of hours worked.

After September 1, that is changing. The JobKeeper payment will be dropped to $1,200 per fortnight, per employee, and it will only be given to employees who work 20 hours a week or more. Those who work less than 20 hours a week will be eligible for a reduced JobKeeper payment of $750 per fortnight. 

In January, those numbers will change again. Those considered permanent employees (that's full-time employees, part-time employees working more than 20 hours a week and casual employees who have been with the company for more than a year as of March 2020 and work 20 hours a week or more) will be eligible for payments of $1,000 per fortnight, provided the company can still prove that turnover is down by 30 per cent year on year. Part-time employees and casuals who work less than 20 hours a week will be eligible for payments of $650 per fortnight. 

The news will be a welcome relief for many in the hospitality and entertainment industries, which have not yet begun to recover from the worst of the crisis and were apprehensive about JobKeeper ceasing entirely in September. 

Prime minister Scott Morrison also said the JobKeeper payment system would continue to be reviewed, and more adjustments would be made if appropriate in the future. 

In other news, masks are now mandatory in Melbourne and strongly encouraged in Sydney. Here's how you can make one, without sewing, from objects like socks and T-shirts

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