"Extraordinary times call for extraordinary measures" to keep Australian workers in their jobs and "Australian businesses in business," said Josh Frydenberg, Australia's Treasurer, Monday.
Employers with annual turnover of less than A$1 billion and that report a reduction in revenue of 30% or more since March 1 will be eligible, as well as employers with more than A$1 billion in turnover that have seen revenues fall by 50% or more.
Employees who were on the payrolls of eligible employers as of March 1, whether they remain employed or were laid off over the past months, will be eligible for the payments.
The government will provide the wage subsidiaries for the next six months, he said.
The A$1,500 biweekly payments will be equivalent to about 70% of Australia's median wage and 100% of the median for hard hit sectors such as retail, hospitality and tourism, Mr. Frydenberg noted.
The new program, which lifted the government's total outlays to combat the fallout from the coronavirus to A$320 billion, or 16.4% of Australia's GDP, appeared to hearten investors.
While most markets in Asia ended the first day of the trading week lower, following a 4.1% drop on March 27 for the Dow Jones Industrial Average, Australian stocks bucked the trend, with the S&P/ASX index surging 7%.