Everything You Need To Know About The JobKeeper And JobSeeker Extensions

By Jessica Best
18th Sep 2020

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Update Wednesday 16 September
Jobkeeper and Jobkeeper extensions

The Australian Government has recently announced extensions to JobSeeker and JobKeeper, which will some payments extended into March 2021. Both payments will drop to a lower amount at the end of September, with further changes to follow coming into 2021

Here is what you need to know:

  • Providing you were working more than 20 hours a week before Jobkeeper was introduced, JobKeeper will drop to $1200 a fortnight from Monday 28 September, and then to $1000 on Monday 4 January.
  • If you were working under 20 hours a week, payments will drop to $750 each fortnight at the end of September, and then to $650 a fortnight in January.
  • It's expected that these extensions will expire on Sunday 28 March, 2021.

You can find more information on JobKeeper extension here

  • From Friday 25 September, the maximum payment for JobSeeker will be reduced from around $1100 to approximately $800 depending on your situation.
  • These payments include a Coronavirus Supplement of around $250 on top of the standard JobSeeker payments, which has been extended to Thursday 31 December.

You can find more information on the JobSeeker extension, as well as what your obligations when claiming the payment, here

Update Friday 7 August
Jobkeeper Extension: $15 Billion Added To Coronavirus Recovery Scheme

This morning, Treasurer Josh Frydenberg announced some big JobKeeper changes. The changes are applicable for the whole of Australia but they have been made to “cushion the blow”, so to speak, for the stage four lockdown restrictions in Victoria. These JobKeeper changes announced this morning are expected to make applying for JobKeeper easier for hundreds of thousands more employees and businesses. These changes will come into effect on 28 September.

The major changes are below:

  • Businesses and not-for-profits: will now only have to show a significant fall in turnover for the September quarter (compared to last year), instead of showing a significant fall in turnover in June and September quarters. This JobKeeper extension will run until 28 March 2021.
  • Employees: those employed as of July 1 2020 will now be able to access the JobKeeper program, instead of 1 March 2020.

When it’s required to prove eligibility again for JobKeeper in January 2021, businesses and not-for-profits will have to prove they have had a significant fall in turnover for the December period, instead of the initial “two previous quarters” period of December and September.

You can find out more about the new JobKeeper changes here.

Update Tuesday July 21 2020
JobKeeper And JobSeeker Extensions

Right now, more than five million people in Australia receive JobKeeper and JobSeeker payments.

And you may have heard that these schemes have been extended but the payment amounts have been cut. So, what does this actually mean and how will you be affected if you’re on one of the financial-relief initiatives? 

There’s a lot of noise out there right now so we’re stripping back all the info to make it simple for you to understand exactly what’s going on.

The Difference Between JobKeeper And JobSeeker

The easy way to differentiate the two is like this; the JobKeeper scheme is aimed to help employers retain Aussies in jobs (yep—literally keep employees working) and support businesses affected by the impact of coronavirus while the JobSeeker scheme is for anyone who has been let go (like sole traders, contract workers, casual workers and the self-employed) due to coronavirus—those seeking or looking for jobs now.

JobKeeper is a payment (initially of $1500 per fortnight) paid through your employer, while JobSeeker (initially $1115 per fortnight) is paid through Centrelink. JobSeeker was also previously known as “Newstart”. For more on the eligibility criteria for JobKeeper head here, for JobSeeker head here.

The New JobKeeper Changes

Originally meant to finish up in September, the government announced that the JobKeeper payment (of $1500 per fortnight) will now be extended until 28 March 2021. However, there are are two payment cuts you need to note within this time frame:

  • 28 September 2020 — a new "two-tier" system will come into place, this will split the JobKeeper payments into separate types of payments (high or low) based on whether you work more than 20 hours per week or less than 20 hours per week in February 2020.
  • 28 September 2020 — JobKeeper payment will be reduced to $1200 per fortnight if you worked more than 20 hours per week. If you worked less than 20 hours per week, you’ll move to $750 per fortnight.
  • 3 January 2021 — JobKeeper payment will be reduced again, to $1000 per fortnight if you worked more than 20 hours per week. If you worked less than this, your payment will be reduced to $650 per fortnight.

Note: JobKeeper payments will only continue if your employer meets the eligibility criteria ie. they’re still suffering financially. Employers will be tested again in October and early January 2021.

The New JobSeeker Changes

Alrighty—to JobSeeker. This fortnightly payment is currently sitting at $1115 per fortnight (which includes a Covid Supplement payment of $550 and a JobSeeker payment of $565). Changes you need to be aware of include:

  • 28 September 2020 — You’ll be able to earn up to $300 a fortnight before your JobSeeker payment is affected (instead of $106).
  • 28 September 2020: Covid Supplement payment will be reduced from $550 to $250 (totalling the entire fortnightly payment to $815, instead of $1115).
  • End of December 2020 — The above JobSeeker rate is due to end however, ScoMo said information about JobSeeker payments may be revised in the next few months and could potentially continue into 2021. 

Here are more things to do if your income was affected by coronavirus.

Image credit: Taylor Friel

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