JobKeeper payment - now open for enrolment!

If your business is affected by COVID-19, you may be eligible to access the JobKeeper payment to assist you to be able to continue paying your employees.

Employers can choose to participate in the scheme and then nominate all the employees they are entitled to claim for. An employer can choose not to participate in the JobKeeper payment.

Eligible employers

Employers are eligible for the JobKeeper payment if all of the following apply:

• On 1 March 2020, you carried on a business in Australia or were a not-for-profit organisation that pursued your objectives principally in Australia.

• You employed at least one eligible employee on 1 March 2020.

• Your eligible employees are currently employed by your business for the fortnights you claim for (including those who are stood down or re-hired).

• Your business has faced either a  

  1. o 30% fall in turnover (for an aggregated turnover of $1 billion or less)
  2. o 50% fall in turnover (for an aggregated turnover of more than $1 billion)
  3. o 15% fall in turnover (for ACNC-registered charities other than universities and schools).

  Your business is not in one of the ineligible categories.

Calculating turnover

The turnover calculation is based on GST turnover. This applies even if an entity is not registered for GST. There are some modifications, including disregarding GST grouping where two or more associated business entities operate as a single GST group.

You can apply the basic test even if you are not registered for GST.

Sole traders

Sole traders can be eligible for the JobKeeper payment if their business has experienced a downturn according to the eligibility criteria.

Business owners actively engaged in their business

Other businesses in the form of a company, trust or partnership can also qualify for JobKeeper payments where a business owner (a shareholder, adult beneficiary or partner) is actively engaged in the business, or a director is actively engaged in the business. This is limited to one entitlement for each entity even if there are multiple business owners or participants.

How to determine a fall in turnover

You only need to satisfy this requirement once – you don’t need to retest your turnover each month. However, you will be asked each month to tell us your current and projected turnover.

At the time you enrol in the JobKeeper Payment scheme, you need to confirm that your business in a relevant period has had, or is likely to have, a:

• 30% fall in turnover (for an aggregated turnover of $1 billion or less)

• 50% fall in turnover (for an aggregated turnover of more than $1 billion), or

• 15% fall in turnover (for ACNC-registered charities other than universities and schools).

How to calculate a fall in turnover for the first fortnight starting 30 March 2020

To work out your fall in turnover, you can compare either:

• GST turnover for March 2020 with GST turnover for March 2019

• projected GST turnover for April 2020 with GST turnover for April 2019

• projected GST turnover for the quarter starting April 2020 with GST turnover for the quarter starting April 2019.

How you choose to project your fall in turnover is not dependent on whether you report a quarterly or monthly BAS, though you can do that if it is easier. The turnover calculation is based on GST turnover. This applies even if an entity is not registered for GST. There are some modifications, including disregarding GST grouping (where two or more associated business entities operate as a single GST group).

You can satisfy the fall in turnover test in two ways:

1) If you work out that you qualify for JobKeeper payments for the first fortnight because your turnover has declined by the relevant amount, you remain eligible and do not need to keep testing turnover in following months. However, you will have ongoing monthly reporting requirements.

2) The Commissioner of Taxation also has the discretion to set out alternative tests that can establish your eligibility when turnover periods are not appropriately comparable (for example, if your business has been in operation less than a year). We will provide more information soon about alternative tests

Your eligible employees

Your employee is eligible under the JobKeeper Payment scheme if they:

• are employed by you (including those stood down or re-hired)

• were either a  

  1. o permanent full-time or part-time employee at 1 March 2020
  2. o 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

• were at least 16 years of age on 1 March 2020

• were an Australian resident as at 1 March 2020 within the meaning of the Social Security Act 1991, which requires that they reside in Australia, and are one of an Australian citizen, the holder of a permanent visa, or a Protected Special Category Visa Holder [More information about these requirements can be found from the Services Australia website under residence descriptions]. Your employee can also be an Australian tax resident who is a Special Category (Subclass 444) Visa Holder. Employees who are not permanent residents of Australia must notify you of their visa status to allow you to determine if they are eligible.

• were not in receipt of any of these payments during the JobKeeper fortnight  

  1. o government parental leave or Dad and partner pay
  2. o a payment in accordance with Australian worker compensation law for an individual’s total incapacity for work

• agree to be nominated by you (see Nominating employees).

You cannot claim for any employees who either:

• were first employed by you after 1 March 2020

• left your employment before 1 March 2020

• have been, or have agreed to be, nominated by another employer.

Casual employees are only eligible if they were employed by you on a regular and systematic basis for at least 12 months at 1 March 2020.

If you decide to participate in the JobKeeper Payment scheme, you must nominate all your eligible employees. You cannot choose to nominate only some employees. However, individual eligible employees can choose not to participate.

If your employees have multiple employers, they can usually choose which employer they want to nominate through. However, if your employees are long-term casuals and have other permanent employment, they must choose the permanent employer and cannot nominate you. They cannot be nominated for the JobKeeper payment by more than one employer.

Nominating employees

The design of the JobKeeper scheme is that all eligible employees are paid the minimum of $1500 per fortnight and that the employer claims for each of these employees. Employers are not meant to pick and choose between their eligible employees.

Before you enrol to receive JobKeeper payments, you need to notify each eligible employee that you intend to nominate them as eligible employees under the JobKeeper Payment scheme.

You must tell those employees that you have nominated them as an eligible employee to claim the JobKeeper payment. They must agree to be nominated by you by completing the JobKeeper employee nomination notice and returning it to you for your records. To assist, you may also choose to create your own employee nomination notice where it is not practical to have each employee complete and return the notice to you. This will allow you to use your own portal or communication channel to obtain this information.

The nomination form does not need to be provided to the ATO, however employers are required to keep a copy of the completed form as part of their record keeping obligations under the law.

The process for nominating eligible business participants (for example, a partner in a partnership, an adult beneficiary of a trust, or a shareholder or director of a company) or sole traders is different.

Nominating yourself as a sole trader or eligible business participant

If you are a sole trader or eligible business participant, you can also nominate yourself.

Sole traders can complete the nomination process through ATO online services using myGov, or in the Business Portal or through a registered tax or BAS agent.

Eligible business participants can enrol using the JobKeeper eligible business participant nomination form.

Employees who were stood down or on long term leave

Employees who have been stood down from work under the Fair Work Act 2009 without pay may still be eligible employees as long as they were in your employment and met the eligibility criteria on 1 March 2020.

You will need to have paid them at least the minimum amount of $1,500 for each fortnight you claim for, to receive the JobKeeper payment.

Employees who have been terminated

If you terminated an employee after 1 March 2020, you can re-engage them and they will be eligible if they met the eligibility criteria on 1 March 2020.

If you want to claim the JobKeeper payment for employees you have re-engaged, you will need to:

• confirm they want to be re-hired and participate in the JobKeeper Payment scheme with you

• re-engage the employees you want to claim for

• ask them to complete the JobKeeper employee nomination notice (or your own employee nomination notice) and return it to you. You are required to keep this form as part of your record keeping obligations under the law

• start paying them a minimum of $1,500 (before tax) for each fortnight they are employed and you claim for.

You will only be paid a JobKeeper payment for employees from the fortnight they were re-engaged. You cannot claim retrospectively for employees you re-engage.

Example

Peta runs a retail business. Due to the effects of COVID-19, Peta decides to stand down her full time employee, John, on 20 March 2020. Peta meets the reduction in turnover test and decides she wants to receive the JobKeeper payment for John as an eligible employee for the fortnight beginning on 30 March 2020.

Peta needs to confirm that John wishes to participate and obtain a completed nomination form from him. Peta pays him at least $1,500 to be eligible to claim a JobKeeper payment for John in the fortnight.

After you have worked out you and your employees are eligible

If you meet the eligibility criteria and want to start claiming the JobKeeper payment on behalf of your employees, you need to start paying them at least $1,500 (before tax) per fortnight and continue to pay them for as long as you keep claiming.

Amount of JobKeeper payment

As an employer, you will receive a payment from us of $1,500 per employee per fortnight as long as you and your employees meet the eligibility criteria.

We will pay you for each eligible employee monthly in arrears beginning in May 2020. Payments will be made from the first week of May.

An employer will usually get $3,000 a month per eligible employee for the two fortnightly periods in that month.

Example of amounts paid to employers:

Payment date, Amount per employee

May             $3,000 (for fortnights starting 30 March and 13 April)

June             $3,000 (for fortnights starting 27 April and 11 May)

July             $3,000 (for fortnights starting 25 May and 8 June)

August     $3,000 (for fortnights starting 22 June and 6 July)

September   $4,500 (for fortnights starting 20 July, 3 August and 17 August)

October    $3,000 (for fortnights starting 31 August and 14 September)

As BAS Agents, we are authorised to enrol businesses into and manage ongoing JobKeeper reporting.  Please reach out to us if you need a hand.

Source: Australian Taxation Office: https://www.ato.gov.au/General/JobKeeper-Payment/

Information correct as at 22/4/20210