JobSeeker changes for sole traders: COVID-19 supplement extended but amounts reduced

COVID-19 commission

Prime Minister Scott Morrison speaks at a press conference on July 21, 2020.

The federal government has extended the COVID-19 supplement for sole traders receiving JobSeeker payments, but will decrease the amount paid under the program.

Unveiling changes to the JobSeeker program on Tuesday, Prime Minister Scott Morrison confirmed sole traders will continue to be able to access the program until December 31.

“We will be retaining that support for people to access it to a part-time and casual. We will be maintaining the waving of the ordinary waiting period waiver and we will be maintaining the partner income test thresholds that were introduced earlier as part of our response,” Morrison said.

But from September 25, the $550 fortnightly COVID-19 supplement will be reduced to $250 per fortnight.

The income-free threshold will also be increased from $106 per week to $300 per week from September 25.

The base JobSeeker rate will remain unchanged, meaning the effective full payment will reduce from about $1,100 per fortnight to around $800.

Sole traders accessing JobKeeper payments will also need to jump through additional hurdles in the coming months.

We’ve explained those changes in a separate article, but here are the broad strokes:

  • A second phase of the JobKeeper program will run to March 28, 2021;
  • Two tiers of JobKeeper will be introduced, based on hours employees worked in February;
  • The higher tier pays $1,200 a fortnight until January 3, 2021, after which it will reduce to $1,000 a fortnight;
  • The lower tier pays $750 a fortnight until January 3, 2021, after which it will reduce to $650 a fortnight; and
  • JobKeeper eligibility will be re-tested in October and early January 2021, based on turnover decline.

 

NOW READ: JobKeeper 2.0: Wage subsidies reduced but extended until March 2021

NOW READ: Government-backed COVID-19 loans extended, now worth up to $1 million

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