The federal government will stop its support for the NSW JobSaver program from October 31, but the state government has confirmed it will continue to cough up its half of the payments for another month.
The news offers a little breathing room for the state’s small businesses, which will be able to open in the interim, but to fully vaccinated customers only and with limited capacity.
It’s also something of a lifeline for the small businesses that may have decided not to reopen until December 1, when they’re able to operate without enforcing vaccine mandates.
Here’s what we know about the changes to the JobSaver program:
Federal government funding to end on October 31
The Commonwealth will continue to fund the JobSaver program until the state reaches the 80% full vaccination threshold, expected to be by October 31.
However, JobSaver payments will be reduced when the state hits the 70% double-vaccination milestone, expected to be around October 10.
At this point, JobSaver payments, which currently cover the equivalent of 40% of a business’ weekly payroll, will drop to cover 30% of payroll.
Between October 10 and October 23, the minimum and maximum weekly payments available to employing businesses will also be reduced by 25%. That means the minimum will be $1,125 per week and the maximum available will be $75,000.
Grants for sole traders will be reduced to $750.
The federal government is also set to cease its funding for Victorian and ACT businesses when they each hit the 80% double-vaccination rate.
“At this point it will be incumbent on the states to provide any necessary targeted business support needed in their jurisdictions relevant to any health restrictions they elect to impose.
JobSaver payments to continue until November 30
When federal government support ceases on October 31, the NSW government will pick up some of the slack, continuing to fund its half of the JobSaver payments.
For businesses, this means JobSaver payments will be reduced again to cover 15% of their weekly payroll.
The minimum payment available will be $562.50, and the maximum will be $37,500. Sole traders will receive $375 per week.
JobSaver payments are set to end permanently on November 30, ahead of further easing of restrictions on December 1.
In a statement NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian said the extension is intended to offer businesses a little more certainty and support during the reopening period.
“The continuation of JobSaver over the next two months will give businesses across NSW the financial boost they need to get them through the challenge of re-opening their doors,” she said.
“The light at the end of the tunnel is so close, and this support will help see businesses and workers out to the other side and prepare them for re-launch.”
Welcome relief for small businesses
For Rami Ykmour, co-founder of restaurant chain Rashays, the announcement from the state government comes as a welcome relief.
He and his team had made the decision not to open any of their restaurants until December 1, when they could let all customers in, regardless of vaccination status.
“It allows us to come back together as one,” he says.
Ykmour himself is fully vaccinated, and all of his staff are either fully vaccinated, or plan to be soon. But, for him, the success of any business hinges on its inclusivity. It’s a case of everyone being in it together— to the end.
“Once you start the division in your business, that can break a business,” he says.
While Ykmour says it would have been nice to have some continued government funding into December, as he starts to open up again, he’s confident that his business won’t actually need it.
“I think the economy will boom,”
He believes people will want to be out and about, spending their money at small businesses. People have saved on weddings, holidays, parties and meals out, he says. They’re going to be ready to bounce back.
“I think people will come out and spend. I think we’re in very, very good shape. I really believe that,” Ykmour says.
“We live in a beautiful country that’s got a strong economy.”