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JobKeeper Payment

We have been keeping you updated on the Government announcements and stimulus packages.  Late yesterday afternoon, the Government released further economic stimulus in the form of a JobKeeper Payment.

Under the JobKeeper Payment, businesses significantly impacted by the coronavirus outbreak will be able to access a subsidy from the Government to continue paying their employees. This assistance will help businesses to keep people in their jobs. For employees, this means they can keep their job and earn an income – even if their hours have been cut.  It will also ensure that essential connections between business owners and employees are maintained, and enable businesses to reactivate their operations quickly when we emerge from the crisis.

Eligible businesses will receive a payment of $1,500 per fortnight, per employee for up to 6 months.

Eligibility
Eligible employers must:

  • have a turnover of less than $1 billion and turnover has been/or will be reduced by more than 30 per cent, relative to a comparable period a year ago (of at least one month), or 50% decrease for those over $1billion,
  • have been in an employment relationship with eligible employees as at 1 March 2020, and confirm that each eligible employee is currently engaged.

Non-for-profit entities and self-employed individuals that meet the turnover tests  may also apply for JobKeeper payments.

Eligible employees are employees who:

  • are currently employed by the eligible employer
  • were employed at 1 March 2020
  • are full time, part-time, or long-term casual (casual employed on a regular basis for more than 12 months)
  • are at least 16 years of age
  • meet certain requirements regarding citizenship
  • not in receipt of a JobKeeper Payment from another employer

Application
At the time of writing, businesses can register their intention to apply for the scheme on the ATO website – https://www.ato.gov.au/general/gen/JobKeeper-payment/
Following registration with the ATO via the link above, eligible employers will be provided with updates via text and/or email, and when available they will be able to apply for the scheme through an online application.  You will need to identify eligible employees and will be required to provide monthly updates to the ATO regarding those employees.  Currently there is no guidance as to what documentation will be required to prove the decrease in turnover, once the application process becomes clearer, we will be available to assist where necessary.

Payment process
The payment will be facilitated by the ATO, and made to the employer monthly in arrears. With the registrations opening 30th March, the first payments relating to April wages, will be made in May.

The full amount of the payment must be passed onto the employee, even if their usual gross wage is lower than $1,500 per fortnight.  When an employee’s normal wage is less than $1,500 per fortnight, the employer has discretion to pay superannuation on any additional wage paid due to the JobKeeper payment.

If an employee has been stood down by an eligible employer, they must be paid a minimum of $1,500 per fortnight, before tax.  Any employment arrangements that have been terminated since 1 March 2020 may be re-engaged by the same employer to be eligible for the payment.

More information
Can be found via the following links.

Treasury Fact Sheet: https://treasury.gov.au/sites/default/files/2020-03/Fact_sheet_Info_for_Employers_0.pdf
Business.gov.auhttps://www.business.gov.au/risk-management/emergency-management/coronavirus-information-and-support-for-business/jobkeeper-payment

We will be sending further information regarding this new measure as soon as practicable.  Please contact us with any urgent queries.

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