Government will ease JobKeeper criteria, adding $15 billion to the coronavirus recovery scheme

| 07.08,20. 02:42 AM |

Government will ease JobKeeper criteria, adding $15 billion to the coronavirus recovery scheme

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg and Prime Minister Scott Morrison will announce eased guidelines for the JobKeeper extension on Friday.(AAP: Mick Tsikas)

The eligibility criteria for JobKeeper will be eased for businesses and employees, with an extra $15 billion being added to the scheme.

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg will announce on Friday that businesses will only need to show that their GST turnover had fallen over one quarter instead of multiple to qualify for the scheme's extension.

The initial JobKeeper will finish on September 28, with businesses and employees needing to apply for the extension.

The Government initially outlined the JobKeeper extension guidelines on July 21, but says it needs to extend its criteria after the Victoria Government implemented stricter lockdowns across the state this week.

Now, businesses will only have to show their GST turnover has fallen in the June quarter, compared to the corresponding quarter in 2019, to be eligible after September 28.

Under the previous guidelines, a business needed to record a loss in the June and September quarters.

Mr Frydenberg has blamed the stage 4 restrictions in Melbourne, and the wider restrictions across Victoria, for the Federal Government changing the scheme's extension.

"The combined effect of the economic deterioration in Victoria, which will see more firms needing to rely on JobKeeper, and the changes we are making to the program, will see the cost of JobKeeper increase by around $15.6 billion," he said.

"The introduction of stage 4 restrictions by the Victorian Government will have a severe economic impact on the Victorian and Australian economy."

The second extension will begin on January 4 next year.

Under the previous guidelines, a business would have needed to record an actual GST turnover loss for the June, September and December quarters of this year.

Mr Frydenberg will announce on Friday that businesses will need to show a loss for only the December quarter to qualify for the scheme in January.

These guidelines also affect non-profit organisations.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison described the revised guidelines as "doing whatever it takes".

"Our response is to get the right support to all those Australian families, workers and businesses that need us, as these circumstances change," Mr Morrison said.

"This means more support for more workers and more businesses for longer, as we battle this latest Victorian wave."

Employee eligibility will also be extended, with a worker qualifying for payments if they have been with their workplace since at least July 1, instead of the March 1 deadline initially slated.

New employees will be eligible for JobKeeper payments dating back to August 3.


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