JobKeeper Scheme – How Employers Access the Payment

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The government has now passed legislation for the $130 billion JobKeeper Payment scheme to support businesses significantly affected by the coronavirus to help keep more Australians in jobs.

Eligible employers will be reimbursed a fixed amount of $1,500 per fortnight for each eligible employee. Employers will need to pay eligible employees a minimum of $1,500 (before tax) per fortnight to claim the JobKeeper payment. This will be paid to the employer in arrears each month by the ATO.

The first payments to eligible employers will commence in the first week of May 2020. JobKeeper payments can be made for the period beginning 30 March 2020.

To be eligible for the JobKeeper payment, employers and their employees must meet a range of criteria.

JobKeeper Scheme – How employers access the payment

If your business is affected by the coronavirus, 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 the employees they wish claim for. An employer can choose not to participate in the JobKeeper payment.

Eligible employers

Employers will be eligible for the JobKeeper payment if all 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 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 determine a fall in turnover

You only need to satisfy this requirement once – you don’t need to retest turnover each month.

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.

Amount of JobKeeper payment

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

The ATO 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)


Enrol and apply for the JobKeeper payment

To enrol and apply for the JobKeeper payment follow the steps below.

Enrol for the JobKeeper payment (from 20 April onwards)

You or a registered tax professional can enrol for the JobKeeper payment:

  • Step 1 – Register your interest and subscribe for JobKeeper payment updates.
  • Step 2 – Check you and your employees meet the eligibility requirements.
  • Step 3 – Continue to pay at least $1,500 to each eligible employee per JobKeeper fortnight (the first JobKeeper fortnight is the period from 30 March to 12 April).
  • Step 4 – Notify your eligible employees that you are intending to claim the JobKeeper payment on their behalf and check they aren’t claiming JobKeeper payment through another employer or have nominated through another business.
  • Step 5 – Send the JobKeeper employee nomination notice to your nominated employees to complete and return to you by the end of April if you plan to claim JobKeeper payment for April. Keep it on file and provide a copy to your registered tax agent if you are using one.
  • Step 6 – From 20 April 2020, you can enrol with us for the JobKeeper payment using the Business Portal and authenticate with myGovID. You must do this by the end of April to claim JobKeeper payments for April.
  • Step 7 – In the online form, provide your bank details and indicate if you are claiming an entitlement based on business participation, for example if you are a sole trader.
  • Step 8 – Specify the estimated number of employees who will be eligible for the first JobKeeper fortnight (30 March – 12 April) and the second JobKeeper fortnight (13 April – 26 April).

Confirmation of eligible employees you will claim JobKeeper Payment for (available from 4 May 2020 onwards)

You or a registered tax agent can apply for the JobKeeper payment for your eligible employees:

  • Step 1 – Apply to claim the JobKeeper payment by logging in to the ATO Business Portal
  • Step 2 – Ensure you have paid each eligible employee a minimum of $1,500 per JobKeeper fortnight before tax.
  • Step 3 – Identify your eligible employees in the application form by
    • selecting employee details that are prefilled from your STP pay reports if you report payroll information through an STP enabled payroll solution, or
    • manually entering employee details in ATO online services or the Business Portal if you do not use an STP enabled payroll solution, or
    • using a registered tax agent who will submit a report on your behalf through Online services for agents.
  • Step 4 – Submit the confirmation of your eligible employees online and wait for your confirmation email or SMS showing it has been received.
  • Step 5 – Notify your eligible employees you have nominated them.
  • Step 6 – The ATO will pay you the JobKeeper payment for all eligible employees after receiving your application.
  • Step 7 – Each month, you will need to reconfirm that your reported eligible employees have not changed through ATO online services, the Business Portal or via your registered tax agent. This will ensure you will continue to receive the JobKeeper payments from us. You do not need to retest your reported fall in turnover, but you will need to provide some information as to your current and projected turnover. This will be done in your monthly JobKeeper Declaration report.
  • Step 8 – If your eligible employees change or leave your employment, you will need to notify us through your monthly JobKeeper Declaration report.

If you use the ATO Business Portal, you will need a myGovID linked to your ABN in relationship Authorisation Manager (RAM). You can find out how to set this up at ato.gov.au/mygovid

If you would like us to assist your business to enrol and apply for the JobKeeper Scheme please contact us here.

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
    • permanent full-time or part-time employee at 1 March 2020
    • 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. Your employee can also be an Australian tax resident who is a Special Category (Subclass 444) Visa Holder
  • were not in receipt of any of these payments during the JobKeeper fortnight
    • government parental leave or Dad and partner pay
    • a payment in accordance with Australian worker compensation law for an individual’s total incapacity for work
  • agree to be nominated by you.

You cannot claim for any employees who:

  • were first employed by you after 1 March 2020, or
  • left your employment before 1 March 2020, or
  • have been, or have agreed to be, nominated by another employer.

Casual employees are not eligible unless they were employed by you on a regular and systematic basis for at least 12 months as at 1 March 2020.

Nominating 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 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.

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.

If you would like us to assist your business to enrol and apply for the JobKeeper Scheme please contact us here.

 Paying your eligible employees

You need to pay your eligible employees at least the minimum amount of $1,500, even if you re-hire them or they earn less than this per fortnight. You cannot pay your employees less than $1,500 per fortnight and keep the difference. You will not be eligible for the JobKeeper payment if you pay your nominated employee less than $1,500 per fortnight.

How to pay

You need to re-start or continue to pay your eligible employees at least $1,500 a fortnight in line with your existing pay cycle through your existing payroll solution.

When to pay

You should pay your employees for each JobKeeper fortnight you plan to claim for. The first fortnight is from 30 March – 12 April and each JobKeeper fortnight that follows.

For the first two fortnights (30 March – 12 April, 13 April – 26 April), the ATO will accept the minimum $1,500 payment for each fortnight has been paid by you even if it has been paid late, provided it is paid by you by the end of April. This means that you can make two fortnightly payments of at least $1,500 per fortnight before the end of April, or a combined payment of at least $3,000 before the end of April.

If you usually pay your employees less frequently than fortnightly, the payment can be allocated between fortnights in a reasonable manner. For example, if you pay your employees on a monthly pay cycle, your employees must have received the monthly equivalent of $1,500 per fortnight.

If your eligible employees change or leave your employment, you need to notify the ATO.

How much to pay

You must pay the minimum $1,500 before tax to each eligible employee per fortnight to claim the JobKeeper payment for that fortnight.

If your eligible employees earn less than $1,500 per fortnight before tax, you must pay them at least $1,500 for each fortnight to claim the JobKeeper payment. This is a ‘top up’ of their salary or wages and will ensure they remain eligible. You cannot pay your employees less than $1,500 per fortnight and keep the difference. You will not be eligible for the JobKeeper payment if you pay your nominated employee less than $1,500 before tax per fortnight. If your eligible employees earn more than $1,500 per fortnight, you should continue to pay them their regular salary or wages. However, you will only receive $1,500 for each eligible employee. Any amount you pay above $1,500 per fortnight is not subsidised by the JobKeeper payment.

If an employee has been stood down after 1 March 2020, you can start paying them $1,500 per fortnight to qualify for the JobKeeper payment for that employee. If an employee ceased working for you after 1 March 2020, you can re-engage them and pay them at least $1,500 per fortnight. You will only be eligible to claim for the fortnights after you re-engaged your employee.

If you usually pay your employees monthly, the payment can be allocated between fortnights in a reasonable manner. For example, if you pay your employees on a four-week pay cycle, your employees must have received at least $3,000 for every four-week period.

Tax consequences

All JobKeeper payments are assessable income of the business that is eligible to receive the payments. The normal rules for deductibility apply in respect of the amounts your business pays to its employees where those amounts are subsidised by the JobKeeper payment.

The JobKeeper payment is not subject to GST.

Superannuation guarantee

New rules are being introduced by the government with the intention to not require super guarantee to be paid on additional payments that are made to employees as a result of JobKeeper payments. Further updates will be available once legislation or regulations are in place.

What you can’t do

You cannot claim the JobKeeper payment on behalf of employees who were not paid at least $1,500 before tax during each JobKeeper payment period.

You cannot claim the JobKeeper payment in advance. The JobKeeper payment is a reimbursement from the ATO to an employer in arrears and cannot be paid in advance in any circumstances.

If you would like us to assist your business to enrol and apply for the JobKeeper Scheme please contact us here.

At Solve Accountants we specialise in helping clients with complex and challenging issues. We are here to help. If you have questions or need assistance: Contact us now

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