Last week, the government announced a $130 billion JobKeeper program, setting out clear eligibility requirements including a 30 per cent fall in revenue for businesses with turnover below $1 billion, and 50 per cent for those with turnover greater than $1 billion.
At the time, the government said the same rules apply to not-for-profit entities, including charities.
However, late on Sunday night, the Treasurer announced the government will be easing requirements.
He said charities that are registered with the national regulator will be eligible for the JobKeeper payment if they have suffered a 15 per cent decline in turnover as a result of the coronavirus.
“Legislation to be introduced into the Parliament this week will include a concessional test for ACNC-registered charities given the benefit they provide to the Australian community,” Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said in a statement.
“A reduced threshold at which a charity is considered to be substantially affected by the coronavirus, as compared to businesses and other not-for-profits, will support a sector which is expected to have a significant increase in demand for its services.”
There are more than 57,000 charities, employing more than 1.3 million Australians, registered with the Australian Charities and Not-for-Profits Commission, providing services ranging from mental health support to access to food for vulnerable Australians.
Mr Frydenberg revealed that the reduced threshold follows conversations with the charity sector including ACOSS, the Salvation Army and Catholic Social Services Australia.
Half a million Aussie businesses apply in 5 days
The JobKeeper payment is expected to provide around 6 million workers a flat payment of $1,500 per fortnight through their employer.
The $1,500 payment is the equivalent of around 70 per cent of the national median wage.
On Friday morning, the Prime Minister revealed on Twitter that half a million Aussie businesses had already registered their interest in JobKeeper, after it was launched on Monday.
“Every arm of government and industry is working to keep Australians in jobs and businesses in business, and to build a bridge to recovery on the other side,” Mr Frydenberg said.
“The government will continue to do what it takes to ensure that Australia bounces back stronger.”
Eligible businesses and charities can apply for the payment online and are able to register their interest via www.ato.gov.au.