The Federal Government introduced the first phase of the JobKeeper Scheme on 8th April 2020. The Government announced on 21 July 2020 that, due to the ongoing COVID-19 crisis, the JobKeeper Scheme would be extended by six months until 28 March 2021, from its original end date of 27 September 2020.
About the JobKeeper Program
JobKeeper is a wage subsidy scheme designed by the Government to help businesses affected by the COVID-19 to cover the cost of their employees’ wages.
JobKeeper 1.0 (From 20th March to 27th September 2020)
Eligible businesses could access the wage subsidy of $1500 per fortnight from 30th March 2020. The first JobKeeper payments were received by business owners via the ATO to their nominated Bank Account in the first week of May 2020.
JobKeeper 2.0 (From 28th September 2020 to 3rd January 2021)
From 28th September 2020 onwards, eligible businesses can access the wage subsidy of up to $1200 per fortnight. A two-tier payment rate will apply based on eligible employees average weekly work hours.
- Full time employees, or those working 20 hrs/week or more – $1,200 per fortnight
- Part time and casual employees working less than 20 hrs/week – $750 per fortnight
Read more here
Key Eligibility Criteria
Under JobKeeper 1.0, business owners are eligible if:
- Their business has an annual turnover of less than $1 Billion and they estimate their turnover has fallen or will likely fall by 30% or more.
- For businesses with annual turnover of more than $1 Billion , a turnover drop of 50% or more
Decline in Turnover Test: An employer satisfies the decline in turnover test at a time if the owner’s projected GST turnover for a turnover test period in which the test time occurs is less than the owner’s current GST turnover for a relevant comparison period.
Turnover is calculated as it is for GST purposes and is also included in the Business Activity Statement (BAS).
The basic eligibility criteria remains the same. However, business owners are required to demonstrate that they have suffered a decline in turnover using actual GST turnover, rather than projected GST turnover which was accepted during Phase 1.
Read more here
Working out your eligible employees
The eligibility criteria for employees are:
- On the payroll as at 1st July 2020
- Full-time, part-time or casual role
- Aged 18 years or older
- An Australian Resident under the Social Security Act 1991 (Australian Citizen, holder of permanent visa or a protected special category visa holder (subclass 444- Newzealand citizen)
- Note that an employee on Paid Parental leave is not eligible
Read more here
How will you get paid?
Payments will be paid by the ATO in your bank account nominated for Tax Refunds.
Summary of key changes
In summary, this is how the JobKeeper Scheme will work after 27 September 2020:
- A two-tier payment rate will apply based on the higher of eligible employees average weekly work hours in the four week periods before either 1 March 2020 or 1 July 2020
- The current $1,500 per fortnight payment rate will be reduced to a maximum of $1,200
- Decline in turnover will be retested on a quarterly basis
- Decline in turnover test will be based on “actual” rather than estimate GST turnover as disclosed on the business activity statements
New JobKeeper Participants
The JobKeeper Scheme will remain open to new participants, provided they meet the eligibility requirements for the relevant period.
Steps to apply
Step 1. Register your interest for JobKeeper
Step 2. : Check your eligibility
Step 3. Enrol in the JobKeeper Scheme – use the online form to apply
Step 4. Apply to the ATO to claim the JobKeeper payment using the ATO portal
Get advice if you need it
- Get advice from your registered tax or BAS agent or accountant if you need help. They can enrol, identify and declare for JobKeeper on your behalf using online service for agents.
- If you don't use a registered tax or BAS agent, you can chat with the ATO for assistance.
Need more information?
To access the JobKeeper Program factsheets, Frequently asked Questions, please visit : https://treasury.gov.au/coronavirus/jobkeeper
If you are looking for information on the Jobkeeper extension, please visit : https://treasury.gov.au/coronavirus/jobkeeper/extension
PLEASE NOTE: This guide is for general information purposes only. It is not financial advice and no warranty is given as to its correctness or whether it is suitable to your individual circumstances.. You should obtain your own independent financial advice from your tax or accounting professional.