Australian government announces continuing support for COVID-19 affected businesses

National Insurance Brokers Association (NIBA) CEO, Dallas Booth has welcomed the federal government announcement that it will extend its JobKeeper program that supports COVID-19 affected businesses, for at least another six months.

The prime minister announced it would be extending the program until 28th March 2021. The program will continue in its current form until 28th September 2020. After this, businesses will be required to reassess their eligibility to demonstrate that they have suffered an ongoing significant decline in turnover.

Booth said, “These unprecedented times call for extra support for businesses and their workers. We encourage all brokers to be familiar with these updates.”

Eligible businesses will receive $1200 a fortnight for every eligible full-time employee and $750 for part-time employees until January 3 2021 when businesses will again be required to reassess their eligibility requirements and payment rates will decrease to $1000 a fortnight for full-time employees and $650 a fortnight for employees who work 20 hours or less a fortnight.

Businesses will be required to nominate which payment rate they are claiming for each of their eligible employees. In addition to extending JobKeeper payments, the government also announced it would be extending it Coronavirus SME Guarantee Scheme until June 30 2021.

With the extension the government has also announced it will be expanding the allowed purpose of loans and increasing the maximum loans amount from $250,000 to $1,000,000. The maximum loan term will also be increased from three to five years with lenders also being granted the discretion to offer a repayment holiday period on new loans.

For more information on the changes to the JobKeeper program click here.