The Morrison Government will extend temporary support through the social security system, for those Australians seeking work, for a further three months as economic confidence and momentum builds.
Both existing and new JobSeekers will be paid the Coronavirus Supplement at a rate of $150 per fortnight from 1 January 2021 through to 31 March 2021 on top of their base rate of payment and other supplements they are eligible to receive.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison said JobSeekers would continue to be able to earn up to $300 per fortnight without their social security payments being reduced.
“My number one priority is to get more Australians into work,” the Prime Minister said.
“As the country is safely reopening and businesses starting to return to full steam, we need to connect those seeking work with available jobs,” the Prime Minister said.
“When the global COVID-19 pandemic hit Australia, we acted decisively by boosting our health response and putting in place more than $257 billion of direct economic support measures to cushion the blow, and today that support continues for those Australians that need it.”
Minister for Families and Social Services Anne Ruston said the Government was committed to supporting all Australians as the economy reopens and they return to work.
“We have temporarily put arrangements in place so that our social security safety net is not just for people who have lost their jobs but it is also supporting people who have had their hours or income reduced,” Minister Ruston said.
“As the jobs market improves we want to encourage people to re-engage with the workforce because we know that even a few hours of work a week while on payment can have a dramatic impact on the pathway off income support.”
Expanded criteria will continue to provide payment access for permanent employees who are stood down, sole traders and the self-employed until 31 March 2021. The relaxed partner income test will also continue meaning that a JobSeeker can still access payments where their partner earns about $80,000 annually.
The Ordinary Waiting Period, Newly Arrived Resident’s Waiting Period and the Seasonal Work Preclusion Period will continue to be waived until 31 March 2021.
The extension of temporary measures is estimated to cost an additional $3.2 billion.