Many businesses, including radio companies, breathed a collective sigh of relief this week when the government announced a relief measure aimed to keep staff connected with their employers, called JobKeeper.
The JobKeeper payment is intended to provide wage subsidies to businesses that are significantly affected by COVID-19.
Grant Broadcasters, which last weekend announced it would need to begin redundancies as a result of advertising downturns, is one of those businesses which has welcomed the payment.
While not enough to save some staff from facing a redundancy, the payment looks like it has taken some pressure off the company as it slows its redundancy process.
CEO Alison Cameron has told radioinfo: “Absolutely the government JobKeeper program has helped us. I hate to think how many redundancies we would have had to enact (or salary cuts/reduction in hours) without it.”
Other networks we spoke to have also expressed relief that they can use the payment to help their staff stay connected to them in this difficult time, so that when advertising grows again they will have the workforce ready to respond quickly.
The JobKeeper payment provides organisations with $1,500 a fortnight, per eligible employee, for six months. Communications and Arts Minister Paul Fletcher says the payment “will support many arts organisations to keep their people on the books while normal operations are suspended – ready to bounce back quickly when theatres, live music venues, museums and cultural institutions reopen their doors.”
The JobKeeper Payment commences immediately, will be backdated to 1 March and the first payment will be received by employers in the first week of May. Eligible employers include organisations structured as companies, partnerships, trusts, sole traders, not-for profits and charities. Eligible employees include full time, part time, casuals employed for more than 12 months and self-employed.