Insight

COVID-19 financial assistance – ending soon

28 February, 2021

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many Australians have been confronted with financial challenges and have relied on financial assistance from the Government to make ends meet. However, with temporary measures ending on 31 March 2021, how will it affect employers, employees and those unemployed?

Two of the most important initiatives ending on 31 March 2021 are:

  • The JobKeeper payment which provided financial assistance for employers, and the self-employed, to help them retain their staff when a pre-existing job was lost or hours reduced.
  • The Coronavirus Supplement which provided additional financial assistance for individuals looking for work.

The Government extended both of these measures beyond the original September 2020 date to the end of March 2021, with reduced payment amounts. At this point in time, there have been no announcements indicating that these payments will continue beyond March 2021, meaning that once these payments stop, employers will need to rely on their business profits to allow them to continue to employ their staff. Individuals who are unemployed, will have to rely on the basic JobSeeker payment which for a single person with no children is $565.70 per fortnight.

When first introduced, the Jobkeeper payments was set at $1,500 per fortnight and the Coronavirus Supplement $550 per fortnight. At that time, people could not receive both the JobKeeper payment and Coronavirus supplement simultaneously as the income from Jobkeeper payments exceeded the Jobseeker income test cut-off. However, since October 2020, because the JobKeeper payment has been steadily reducing, some people may have been entitled to both payments.

HomeBuilder

The HomeBuilder initiative is also set to end on 31 March 2021. It provides eligible owner-occupiers with a grant to build a new home or substantially renovate an existing home. This not only assists individuals, it also supports the residential construction sector by encouraging people to build new homes or spend on home renovations.

On 29 November 2020, the Government announced an extension to the HomeBuilder program with some changes.

How does it work?

  • Building contracts signed between 1 January 2021 and 31 March 2021 may receive a $15,000 grant.
  • The deadline for applications is 14 April 2021 for eligible contracts signed on or after 4 June 2020, including those applying for the original $25,000 grant or the new $15,000 grant.
  • Construction must commence within six months for all HomeBuilder applications. Previously the timeframe was three months. This will apply to all eligible contracts signed on or after 4 June 2020.
  • In New South Wales and Victoria, there is an increase to the property price cap for new build contracts from $750,000 to $950,000 and $850,000 respectively, where the contract is signed between 1 January 2021 and 31 March 2021. The existing new build property price will continue to apply in all other States and Territories.

To avoid missing out on this opportunity, make sure you apply before 14 April 2021 to your relevant State Revenue Office.

JobMaker

The JobMaker Hiring Credit gives employers incentives to take on additional young job seekers on a permanent, casual or fixed‑term basis. This incentive will help both employers and young people as the economy recovers. It is available to employers for each new job they create over 12 months, starting from 7 October 2020. Employers will be able to apply for $200 a week for each additional eligible employee they hire aged 16 to 29 years old and $100 a week for each additional eligible employee they hire aged 30 to 35 years old.

If you or a loved one is affected by these changes or opportunities, please contact us and we can help.