JobKeeper & JobSeeker update: August 2020

Find out about the JobKeeper and JobSeeker changes plus get a few tips on how to weather the financial storm and stay positive.

The federal government announced JobKeeper and JobSeeker changes that continue to support and boost the economy through COVID-19. Here’s a quick breakdown of all the updates and some tips to help you get through if you’re being impacted.

JobKeeper and JobSeeker update

JobKeeper changes:

  • Extended until March 2021
  • From September 28, 2020 until January 3, 2021, payment goes down to $1,200 per fortnight, or $750 per fortnight if you work less than 20 hours per week
  • From January 4, 2021 until March 28, – goes down to $1,000 a fortnight, or $650 per fortnight if you work less than 20 hours a week
  • The federal government also announced a $1,500 disaster payment to make sure people who are getting tested for COVID-19 stay home, available to people across Australia who don’t have sick leave. Contact 180 22 66 to arrange the payment which can be accessed multiple times if needed. Find out more information about the disaster payment here.

JobSeeker changes:

  • Mutual obligations kick in from August 4, 2020, meaning: 
    • Agreeing to a job plan 
    • Regular meetings (can be online), with an employment services provider
    • Four job searches per month
    • Accept any reasonable job offer
  • Asset testing is back
  • Partner income testing increased to 27 cents for every dollar over $1,165 earned per fortnight
  • From September 24 until December 31, the Coronavirus supplement drops to $250, paid on top of the standard $565 per fortnight (totalling $815 a fortnight)
  • The government will review before the end of 2020

Find more about the changes to JobSeeker payments and learn more about mutual obligations here.

3 tips to help you curb the impact

Whether you’re impacted by policy changes or not, there are always things you can do proactively to improve your financial wellbeing and make some positive changes.

1. Maximise your tax return

It’s tax time (which most people often dread!), but many workers have more tax deductions they can claim this year due to working from home during the pandemic. If you aren’t sure what you can and can’t claim, the ATO has introduced a shortcut to help. The shortcut allows you to claim an 80-cent deduction on work-related expenses for every hour you’ve worked from home between March 1, and June 30, 2020. Some of these expenses include:

  • Electricity
  • Internet and phone
  • The decline in value of equipment and furniture

Find out more about what you can and can’t claim, and how to claim work from home expenses on the ATO website. The filing deadline is October 31.

2. Tighten up the purse strings

Even if you have money coming in, it’s best to do what you can to keep your budget tight, as it will ease your financial stress. Getting into good money habits like reviewing where your money goes, shopping around for a better deal on bills, building new spending and saving habits like cooking at home, and more.

Check out our 6 tips to staying money-smart during COVID-19 and beyond here.

3. Stay positive about job opportunities.

If you’re now subject to mutual obligations or generally job hunting, try not to stress. There are opportunities available in industries such as virtual communications, online learning, e-commerce and many more. The opportunities are endless as long as you stay positive, and open to potential industry or role changes.

Find out which industries are booming during the economic downturn and tips on finding your next job opportunity.

Information provided in this article is of a general nature only and we have not taken your personal financial objectives, situation or needs into account. We recommend you consider if you need to seek professional financial advice before making any financial decisions.