Yesterday, the government announced its $130 billion Job Keeper package aimed at maintaining employment levels and making sure employees can retain their income. Under the JobKeeper Payment, businesses significantly impacted by the Coronavirus outbreak will be able to access up to $1,500 per fortnight per employee for up to 6 months.
This program is in addition to the other stimulus measures aimed at small and medium businesses.
Is my business eligible?
Employers (including non-for-profits) 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);
Which employees are eligible to receive the payment?
- Were employed by an eligible employer at 1 March 2020
- Can be sole traders, full-time, part-time, or long-term casuals 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, a non-protected special category visa who has been residing continually in Australia for 10 years or more, or a New Zealander on a special category (subclass 444) visa.
What if I have already stood down or made some employees redundant?
Importantly, 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 (ie have been made redundant and then rehired) that was their employer on 1 March 2020 will also be eligible.
How will the scheme work:
- 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. The JobKeeper Payment will assist their employer to continue operating by subsidising all or part of the income of their employee(s).
- 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.
Superannuation on the Job Keeper payment is not mandated, so will be up to the employer
How do I access the scheme?
An application to the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) will be required with supporting information demonstrating a downturn in your business. There will also be monthly reporting required on eligible employees.
We will be managing this process for our clients, but if you want any assistance or to ask any questions, please get in touch with us.
The scheme stills needs to be legislated, so in the meantime, you can register your interest on the ATO website.