Here’s what the $130 billion wage subsidy package means for bars

The prime minister and the federal treasurer have just finished speaking in Canberra.

There, they unveiled a $130 billion wage subsidy package set to last six months and supporting the jobs of up to six million workers. The JobKeeper payments, as they will be called, will be paid to businesses through The Australian Tax Office, and will see $1500 a fortnight being paid to workers of businesses that have seen revenues decline by more than 30 percent.

Here’s what it means for bars:

  • If you had someone on your books at 1 March 2020, and they are a full time or part time worker, the government will pay a $1500 fortnightly subsidy to the employer to keep that staff member on the books, with the aim being that the worker gets at the minimum $1500.
  • For casuals, the casual worker must have been with the employer for at least a year for the business to claim the wage subsidy. For those who don’t meet this requirement, they may be able to take advantage of the topped up JobSeeker payments.
  • To qualify for the scheme, businesses will need to declare that they have suffered turnover drops of 30 percent or more. So, pretty much every bar in the country qualifies, we’d imagine.
  • If you have already been stood down or made redundant from you work, and you had been employed at 1 March 2020, your employer can put you back on the books and receive the subsidy, which goes to the employee.
  • The scheme is open to New Zealanders working in Australia.
  • They expect the payments to be paid to businesses through the ATO from May, and they will be backdated to Monday 30 March.
  • You can see the government’s fact sheet on the JobKeeper payment here.
  • Businesses can register for the JobKeeper scheme through the ATO here.

The measure isn’t a cure-all, however. Hospitality has a high employee turnover rate and much of the workforce is employed on a casual basis — some estimates suggest that 79 percent of the workforce are casuals. There will be a number of people who haven’t been with their employer for a full year.

The scheme is not yet the law of the land — the federal government will be recalling parliament to pass legislation to make it a reality.