Changes to JobKeeper eligibility

By Jackson Russell

Thousands of businesses are expected to receive JobKeeper payments after the Federal Government changed eligibility criteria for the scheme’s extension from September 28.

Businesses will now only need to show their turnover has fallen during one quarter, instead of multiple, while workers will now qualify if they were employed on July 1, instead of the previous March 1 deadline.

Treasurer Josh Fydenburg said he believed more than 500,000 Victorian employees would be able to access JobKeeper payments.

With the second JobKeeper extension to begin on January 4, businesses will only need to show loss in the December quarter rather than June, September and December quarters to qualify for the second extension.

Seymour’s Little Stones Cafe was one of the unlucky businesses to miss out on the first round of JobKeeper after opening during the first lockdown.

Co-owner Kris Medson said the announcement came as a relief.

“On the face of it, it appears we’ll now qualify for some JobKeeper payments and we should be able to apply for that on behalf of four employees which will be really helpful,” she said.

“In terms of even being able to see a light at the end of the tunnel, even though we’re not sure when we’ll be able to trade fully again, at least we’ll be able to maintain some financial viability through it which takes a huge weight off our shoulders.”

Member for McEwen Rob Mitchell said the announcement was a step in the right direction.

“It’s good to see some eligibility rules relaxed but it’s well short of what the Government needs to be doing,” he said.

“We’re still deeply concerned that other aspects of the wind down of JobKeeper will come at the worst time for workers and businesses in Victoria and in other parts of Australia.”

Mr Mitchell said too many businesses and workers were still being left out of JobKeeper including casual workers, people in aviation, arts and entertainment and early childhood educators.

“Though I welcome the changing of the eligibility test for JobKeeper, it’s not a comprehensive job plan, and that’s what we need with unemployment continuing to rise,” he said.

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