Government Announces JobKeeper Payments Scheme
The new JobKeeper Wage Subsidy Scheme aims to help businesses keep their employees at work. Find out here whether you're eligible.
Since the COVID-19 outbreak started, it’s estimated that 1 million Australians have lost their jobs. Much of this has been the result of Government restrictions, which have forced many businesses to close. This has also been the case in many other countries such as the United Kingdom, where Governments have responded by providing wage subsidies to affected workers. Yesterday, the Australian Government announced that there would be a third stimulus package provided worth $130 billion. Here, we’ll outline what you need to know about applying for the JobKeeper subsidy.
Who is eligible for JobKeeper payments?
There are a number of conditions you’ll need to meet in order to be eligible for the subsidies. This includes:
- Employers which have an annual turnover of less than $1 billion per year are eligible to receive the payment
- Your business must be able to demonstrate that there has been a downturn of at least 30% in revenue
- Businesses which have an annual turnover of more than $1 billion can apply if they can demonstrate there has been a downturn of 50% or more
- You need to have had the employee/s on your books on or before at least 1 March 2020
- You will need to provide documents (such as employment contracts and payslips) which evidence this
- Full time and part time employees are eligible
- Casual employees are only eligible if they have been employed for at least 12 months.
- You are also eligible if you’re self-employed, in a partnership or work in the gig economy
How much can I receive?
Eligible employers will receive $1500 per fortnight from the Australian Tax Office (ATO) for each employee. You need to pass the full amount (minus applicable tax and superannuation) on to your employee. This should work as if you were paying their ordinary wage. You can also top up this amount at your own discretion. For example, you can pay an additional $500 from your business so your employee’s fortnightly wage is $2,000. If your employee works multiple jobs, they will only be eligible to receive JobKeeper payments from their primary employer.
What if I’ve already terminated my employees?
If you have already stood down your employees or made their position redundant, you can re-hire your employee and receive the subsidy. However, your employee needs to have been employed as at 1 March 2020. This means that you cannot apply this to new staff you hire in the coming months. If your employee has since registered for JobSeeker payments or the Coronavirus supplement, they will need to inform Services Australia as they will no longer be eligible to receive those payments.
From 30 March 2020, you can register your interest on the ATO website. An online application will be available soon. The subsidy commences from 30 March 2020. Back payments will start from the first week of May. If you have further questions about your eligibility, it may be worth getting in touch with a business lawyer.
Jackie is the Content Manager at Lawpath and manages the content team. She has a Law/Arts (Politics) degree from Macquarie University and is an admitted solicitor in the Supreme Court of NSW. She's interested in how technology can help shape the future legal landscape.