The “unprecedented” package aims to prevent firms from laying off employees in order to ensure the economy “bounces back” once the threat of the coronavirus has passed.
The government will pay firms $1,500 a fortnight per employee for the next six months to prevent employers from firing workers they’ll need once restrictions are lifted – a $130 billion package aimed at the 6 million Australians who will need “a lifeline” in the months ahead.
Businesses of all sizes will be eligible, while workers will need to have been employed by the business for more than 12 months to receive the payment. The payments will start in the first week of May and be backdated to March.
“We want to keep the engine of our economy running during this crisis,” Prime Minister Scott Morrison told media.
But the question remains of whether the lay-offs this part of the package seeks to avoid have already happened, with long lines for Centrelink support dominating the news last week amidst reports that a million people are already out of work.
“We are working now to a whole new set of rules,” Prime Minister Morrison said, warning that some countries could see both their societies and economies collapse.