The JobKeeper payment has been established to assist businesses impacted by the COVID-19 as a subsidy from the Government to continue paying their employees. Eligible employers will be able to claim a fortnightly payment of $1,500 per eligible employee from 30 March 2020, for a period of 6 months.

Eligibility for an Employer and Owners/Operators
Broadly, to be eligible as an employer and owners/operators you will need to meet the following conditions:-

  1. You were carrying on a business as at 1 March 2020
  2. Employed at least one employee at 1 March 2020 (if owner/operator this is not a requirement)
  3. Eligible employees are currently employed by your business for the fortnights you claim for (including those who are stood down or re-hired)
  4. Your business has seen a downturn in GST turnover of at least 30%

You only have to satisfy the turnover once. Once it has been met, there is no need to keep passing the test. If you do not meet the test now, you might be able to access the scheme at a later date but you can only claim payments from the time you register, ie., there are no retrospective payments.

The fall in GST turnover can be calculated by one of three ways for payments for April:

  1. GST turnover for March 2020 with GST turnover for March 2019
  2. Projected GST turnover for April 2020 with GST turnover for April 2019
  3. Projected GST turnover for the quarter starting April 2020 with GST turnover for the quarter starting April 2019.

There is no guidance of yet for future months but we expect it to be similar to the same methodology:

  1. GST turnover for the last month with GST turnover for the same month in 2019
  2. Projected GST turnover for the month in with GST turnover for the month in 2019
  3. Projected GST turnover for the quarter the month falls in with GST turnover for the same quarter 2019.

Note this is not exhausted and if you have commenced business in the last year there are alternative tests which can be performed. If you fall into this category please let us know and we can have a more detailed conversation regarding your circumstances.

Eligibility for an Employee
For an employee to be considered eligible for the JobKeeper payment they must meet the following conditions:-

  1. Employed by an eligible employer (including those stood down or re-hired), and were either;
    a) A permanent full-time or part-time employee at 1 March 2020
    b) A long-term casual employee (employed on a regular and systematic basis for at least 12 months) as at 1 March 2020 and not a permanent employee of any other employer.
  2. The employee was at least 16 years of age at 1 March 2020. Full time students aged 16 and 17 years old who are not financially independent, are not eligible for the JobKeeper payment.
  3. The employee was an Australian resident (within the meaning of the Social Security Act 1991) as at 1 March 2020
  4. The employee did not receive the following payments during the JobKeeper fortnight:-
    a) Government parental leave or Dad and partner pay; or
    b) A payment in accordance with Australian worker compensation law for an individual’s total incapacity for work.
  5. The employee agrees to be nominated
  6. The employee returns the JobKeeper employee nomination notice to you.

If you have satisfied the above basic eligibility conditions, you are able to proceed to the enrolment and application process.

If you would like to discuss your eligibility further feel free to contact us for assistance.

‘One in, all in” principle
Once an employer decides to participate in the JobKeeper scheme and their eligible employees have agreed to be nominated by the employer, the employer must ensure that their participation in the scheme covers all eligible employees. This includes all eligible employees who are undertaking work for the employer or have been stood down. The employer cannot select which eligible employees will participate in the scheme.

How to apply
In order to receive JobKeeper payments there is a two part registration process the first is through an enrolment in the program via the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) Business Portal or through your AHJ contact.

  1. Check you and your employees meet the eligibility requirements (the eligibility and payment checklist above can assist here).
  2. Continue to pay at least $1,500 to each eligible employee per JobKeeper fortnight (the first JobKeeper fortnight is the period from 30 March to 12 April, the second period is 13 April to 26 April). The ATO have provided guidance that you need to have paid both April fortnightly payments to all eligible employees by 8 May 2020 in order to qualify for receiving the first two JobKeeper payments.
  3. Notify your eligible employees in writing that you are intending to claim the JobKeeper payment on their behalf and check they aren’t claiming JobKeeper payment through another employer.
  4. Send the JobKeeper employee nomination notice to your nominated employees to complete and return to you by the end of April if you plan to claim JobKeeper payment for April. Keep it on file and provide a copy to your registered tax agent if you are using one.
  5. From 20 April 2020, you can enrol with the ATO for the JobKeeper payment through us using the Business Portal or by contacting AH Jackson & Co direct. You must do this by the end of May 2020 to claim JobKeeper payments for April.
  6. Specify the estimated number of employees who will be eligible for the first JobKeeper fortnight (30 March – 12 April) and the second JobKeeper fortnight (13 April – 26 April).

Part two of the registration is processing of the payments and notifying the ATO. This means the following:

  1. Ensure you have paid each eligible employee a minimum of $1,500 per JobKeeper fortnight before tax.
  2. Identify your eligible employees by using Single Touch Payroll (STP) through your payroll provider.
  3. Ensure employees have returned their nomination form.

JobKeeper Monthly Declaration Report
As part of the compliance and collection of information for statistics for the ATO, a monthly declaration is required to be submitted within seven days of the end of the month.

This declaration will report:

  • To reconfirm your reported eligible employees
  • If your employees change or leave their employment
  • Current GST turnover for the reporting month; and
  • Projected GST turnover for the following month

When and how are payments made by the ATO
When the Commission is satisfied that the employer is entitled to the JobKeeper payment, then the ATO will pay the JobKeeper payment for each eligible employee (or business participant) by the later of:

  • 14 days after the end of the calendar month in which the fortnight ends; and
  • 14 days after the ATO is satisfied that the employer or business is entitled to the payment for the fortnight.

Further, if you would like to discuss any of the above measures or the financial impact you are currently facing, in general, please feel free to email your AHJ contact or or call (07) 3253 1500. Please note, however, that our office is currently unattended and our telephones are diverted to messages. We will endeavour to call you back as soon as possible.