Your JobKeeper Questions Answered

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The new JobKeeper payment was announced by the Federal government yesterday. As you can expect, business owners and their employees have many questions. We’ve provided some answers to the most common questions from our business clients.

What is the JobKeeper Payment?

The JobKeeper Payment is a temporary scheme open to businesses impacted by the Coronavirus, including the self-employed. The Government will provide $1,500 per fortnight, per employee for up to 6 months. Employers will be eligible for the subsidy if:

  • their business has a turnover of less than $1 billion and their turnover will be reduced by more than 30 per cent relative to a comparable period a year ago; or
  • their business has a turnover of $1 billion or more and their turnover will be reduced by more than 50 per cent relative to a comparable period a year ago; and
  • the business is not subject to the Major Bank Levy.

Employers must elect to participate in the scheme. They will need to make an application to the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) and provide supporting information demonstrating a downturn in their business – You can register your interest here.

How does it apply to different types of employees?

  • Full and part time employees – Eligible employers will receive the payment for each eligible employee that was on their books on 1 March 2020 and continues to be engaged by that employer – including full-time, part-time, long-term casuals and stood down employees.
  • Casual employees – Casual employees are eligible for the JobKeeper Payment if they have been with their employer on a regular basis for at least the previous 12 months as at 1 March 2020. The employee must also be age 16 or over.

What about employees I’ve already stood down?

Eligible employers who have stood down their employees before the commencement of this scheme will be able to participate. Employees that are re-engaged by a business that was their employer on 1 March 2020 will also be eligible.

Does JobKeeper apply to the self-employed?

Yes, self-employed individuals will be eligible to receive the JobKeeper Payment where they have suffered or expect to suffer a 30 per cent decline in turnover relative to a comparable a period a year ago (of at least a month).

How is the payment made between employers and employees?

Eligible employers will be paid $1,500 per fortnight per eligible employee. Eligible employees will receive, at a minimum, $1,500 per fortnight, before tax, and employers are able to top-up the payment. Where employers participate in the scheme, their employees will receive this payment as follows:

  • If an employee ordinarily receives $1,500 or more in income per fortnight before tax, they will continue to receive their regular income according to their prevailing workplace arrangements.
  • If an employee ordinarily receives less than $1,500 in income per fortnight before tax, their employer must pay their employee, at a minimum, $1,500 per fortnight, before tax.
  • If an employee has been stood down, their employer must pay their employee, at a minimum, $1,500 per fortnight, before tax.
  • If an employee was employed on 1 March 2020, subsequently ceased employment with their employer, and then has been re-engaged by the same eligible employer, the employee will receive, at a minimum, $1,500 per fortnight, before tax.

When will payments be made?

Payments will be made to the employer monthly in arrears by the ATO.  The subsidy will start on 30 March 2020, with the first payments to be received by employers in the first week of May.

How do I register?

Businesses will be able to register their interest in participating in the Payment from 30 March 2020 on the ATO website.

This measure was only announced yesterday, there will be a lot more information coming. A good starting point is to register with the ATO, if you think this will apply to your business.

As always, should you require any assistance please do not hesitate to contact us here at Saige.

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