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JobKeeper Stimulus Explained

The JobKeeper Payment is designed to help businesses affected by the Coronavirus to cover the costs of their employees’ wages, so that more employees can retain their job and continue to earn an income.

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 and re-start when the crisis is over. For employees, this means they can keep their job and earn an income – even if their hours have been cut.

WHAT IS THE JOBSEEKER PAYMENT?

The JobKeeper Payment is a temporary scheme open to businesses impacted by the Coronavirus.

The Government will provide $1,500 per fortnight per employee for up to 6 months.

WHO IS 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); and
  • the business is not subject to the Major Bank Levy.

Sole traders are also eligible if:

  • they have suffered or expect to suffer a 30 per cent decline in turnover relative to a comparable prior period (of at least a month).

HOW DO YOU ACCESS THE PAYMENTS?

  • Employers must elect to participate in the scheme.
  • Make an application to the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) and provide supporting information demonstrating a downturn in business. In addition, employers must report the number of eligible employees employed by the business on a monthly basis.

There is no need to call the ATO yet, you can register your interest directly on the ATO website today. They will then send you further updates as things progress.

WHAT IS THE PROCESS?

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.

THINGS TO KNOW

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

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

JOBKEEPER EXAMPLES

WORKER WITH MULTIPLE JOBS

Michelle currently works two permanent part-time jobs, at an art gallery during weekdays, and at the local café on the weekend. Due to the impact of the Coronavirus, the gallery has closed and Michelle has been stood down without pay under the Fair Work Act. Michelle continues to work at the café delivering take-away orders.

Michelle can only receive the JobKeeper Payment once, from the employer from whom she nominates as her primary employer. As Michelle only claims the tax free threshold from her job at the art gallery, this will be treated as her nomination of the art gallery as her primary employer.

The art gallery is eligible for the JobKeeper Payment. The art gallery will pass the JobKeeper Payment on to Michelle, so she will receive $1,500 per fortnight before tax. During the application process, the art gallery will notify the ATO that Michelle receives the payment from them. The art gallery is also required to advise Michelle that she has been nominated to the ATO as an eligible employee to receive the payment.

The café is not eligible to receive the JobKeeper Payment for Michelle. The income that Michelle receives from her job at the café does not change her entitlement to the JobKeeper Payment she receives from the art gallery.

EMPLOYER WITH 5 EMPLOYEES WHO ALL CURRENTLY GET PAID MORE THAN $1,500 PER FORTNIGHT

Sara runs a landscaping company, and employs five full-time gardeners.

Sara is paying her employees

$1,700 per fortnight before tax. She expects that her turnover will decline by more than 30 per cent over the coming months and that she will either need to lay staff off, or reduce their wages significantly.

As a result of the JobKeeper Payment, Sara will be able to keep employing every gardener, and only needs to pay the $200 wage cost per fortnight before tax per employee above the $1,500 per fortnight (before tax) JobKeeper Payment.

SELF-EMPLOYED

Melissa is a sole trader running a florist. She does not have employees. Melissa’s business has been in operation for several years. The economic downturn due to the Coronavirus has adversely affected Melissa’s business, and she expects that her business turnover will fall by more than 30 per cent compared to a typical month in 2019.

Melissa will be able to apply for the JobKeeper Payment and would receive $1,500 per fortnight before tax, paid on a monthly basis.

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