The Australian Government’s JobKeeper program is now expected to cost $70 billion instead of $130 billion.

Last week, the ATO and Treasury advised the Government of a reporting error in estimates of the number of employees likely to access the JobKeeper program. The error saw around 1,000 businesses misreported the amount of assistance they expected to receive as the number of employees they expected to be eligible. For example, over 500 businesses with ‘1’ eligible employee reported a figure of ‘1,500’ (which is the amount of JobKeeper payment they would expect to receive for each fortnight for that employee).

After rectifying the error, the number of employees likely to be covered under the program will reduce from around 6.5 million to around 3.5 million

As of 20 May 2020, 910,055 businesses had enrolled in the JobKeeper program. Of these, 759,654 had made claims in relation to their eligible employees and had their applications processed. This resulted in $8.7 billion of approved payments to those 759,654 businesses, covering around 2.9 million employees. Around 97 per cent of claims have been paid to employers within three business days of employers making the employee declaration.

Around 150,000 enrolled businesses are yet to complete their employee declaration, which is required before payments can be made. Employers can still apply up to 31 May for payments made in April. The program will remain open to businesses that meet the eligibility criteria at any time over the 6 months it is in operation.


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