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The JobKeeper Payment - Next Stage - Government Economic Response to COVID-19

The JobKeeper payment is intended to provide wage subsidies to businesses that are significantly affected by COVID-19.


If legislation is enacted, support will be direct to employers to pass on to employees. As with all announcements, we are still awaiting legislation but this is what we know so far.


To receive the JobKeeper Payment, employers must:


  • Register an intention to apply on the ATO website and assess that they have or will experience the required turnover decline.

  • Provide information to the ATO on eligible employees. This includes information on the number of eligible employees engaged as at 1 March 2020 and those currently employed by the business (including those stood down or rehired). For most businesses, the ATO will use Single Touch Payroll data to pre-populate the employee details for the business.

  • Ensure that each eligible employee receives at least $1,500 per fortnight (before tax). For employees that were already receiving this amount from the employer then their income will not change. For employees that have been receiving less than this amount, the employer will need to top up the payment to the employee up to $1,500, before tax. And for those employees earning more than this amount, the employer is able to provide them with a top-up.

  • Notify all eligible employees that they are receiving the JobKeeper Payment.

  • Continue to provide information to the ATO on a monthly basis, including the number of eligible employees employed by the business.


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 (of at least a month); 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 (of at least a month); and;

  • the business is not subject to the Major Bank Levy.


The employer must have been in an employment relationship with eligible employees as at 1 March 2020, and confirm that each eligible employee is currently engaged in order to receive JobKeeper Payments.


Eligible employees are employees who:


  • are currently employed by the eligible employer (including those stood down or re-hired);

  • were employed by the employer at 1 March 2020;

  • are full-time, part-time, or long-term casuals (a casual employed on a regular basis for longer than 12 months as at 1 March 2020);

  • are at least 16 years of age;

  • are an Australian citizen, the holder of a permanent visa, a Protected Special Category Visa Holder, a non-protected Special Category Visa Holder who has been residing continually in Australia for 10 years or more, or a Special Category (Subclass 444) Visa Holder; and

  • are not in receipt of a JobKeeper Payment from another employer.


If your employees receive the JobKeeper Payment, this may affect their eligibility for payments from Services Australia as they must report their JobKeeper Payment as income.


APPLICATION PROCESS


Businesses with employees

Initially, employers can register their interest in applying for the JobKeeper Payment via ato.gov.au from 30 March 2020.


Subsequently, eligible employers will be able to apply for the scheme by means of an online application. The first payment will be received by employers from the ATO in the first week of May.


Eligible employers will need to identify eligible employees for JobKeeper Payments and must provide monthly updates to the ATO.


Participating employers will be required to ensure eligible employees will receive, at a minimum, $1,500 per fortnight, before tax.


It will be up to the employer if they want to pay superannuation on any additional wage paid because of the JobKeeper Payment.


Businesses without employees

Businesses without employees, such as the self-employed, can register their interest in applying for JobKeeper Payment via ato.gov.au from 30 March 2020.


Businesses without employees will need to provide an ABN for their business, nominate an individual to receive the payment and provide that individual’s Tax File Number and provide a declaration as to recent business activity.


People who are self-employed will need to provide a monthly update to the ATO to declare their continued eligibility for the payments. Payment will be made monthly to the individual’s bank account.


As always, this is an evolving situation and we expect more information to be released in the coming days. Please keep coming back to our blog for updates as they come through. If you have any questions, please get in touch with us as soon as you can.


Watch this space….




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