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Missed our LIVE webcast? Watch the recording below and find out more about the ATO’s guide to the JobKeeper scheme.

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We didn’t have enough time to cover all the questions during the call, however have addressed questions on the JobKeeper rules here:

These comments are general in nature and do not take into account the specific circumstances of any business.  Therefore all businesses should seek professional advice that takes into account their specific circumstances.

Sole trader / non-employee workers

  • A sole trader who does not receive wages from the business may still be eligible to claim as a “business participant”.  Further information on the eligibility criteria and how to enrol are on the ATO website:
  • A partnership that operates a business can only be eligible in respect of a maximum of one non-employee who is actively engaged in the business.

Employer participation

  • An employer is not obliged to participate in JobKeeper, even if it would be eligible.
  • An employer who is not yet using Single Touch Payroll can still be eligible for JobKeeper if it meets the other requirements.
  • An employer entity that operates more than one business within the entity must assess its decline in turnover for the entity as a whole under the current Rules.  A possible consequence of this is that the entity may not qualify, when if the businesses were in separate entities perhaps one or more of them would.

JobKeeper amount – wage condition

  • The employer needs to make sure it pays the equivalent of at least $1,500 per fortnight by the required date to each eligible employee that has given their consent to participate.  This is regardless of whether the employee would ordinarily earn less.
  • Employers are not required to change their usual pay cycle.  To be eligible for the first JobKeeper payment from the ATO in early May, in respect of the first two fortnights of the program (ending 26 April), the ATO has advised that the employer needs to ensure the employee receives at least the $3,000 covering the two fortnights by 30 April.

Employee eligibility

  • An employee who is not being paid wages because of a legal stand-down can be eligible for JobKeeper.  However the employer would need to meet the wage condition for them (see above).  An employee who was employed at 1 March 2020, but whose employment was terminated before 30 March would not be eligible, unless the employer re-hired them.

Employee obligations

  • If the employee has been receiving social security payments (such as JobSeeker) it is the employee’s responsibility to notify Services Australia that the employee has started receiving JobKeeper.  The employer has no obligation in this respect.

Additional resources

Key points from the ATO guide for employers to note include the following.

1. Employer payments for April 2020

For each JobKeeper fortnight, an employer should pay employees at least the amount the employer plans to claim under the JobKeeper scheme. The first fortnight is from 30 March 2020 – 12 April 2020.

For April, the ATO will accept for the first two fortnights which end 12 April 2020 and 26 April 2020 the minimum $1500 per fortnight has been paid by the employer even if the employer has paid late, provided it has been paid by the end of April ie 30 April 2020. This means an employer can make two fortnightly payments of $1,500 or a combined payment of at least $3,000 for each eligible employee before the end of April.

2. From 20 April 2020: ATO steps on how to apply for JobKeeper payments

An employer or a registered tax professional can enrol for the JobKeeper payment.  Key administrative steps include:

Employer to send the JobKeeper employee nomination notice to the nominated employees to complete and return to employer by the end of April, if employer plans to claim JobKeeper payment for April.

From 20 April 2020, the employer can enrol with the ATO for the JobKeeper payment using the Business Portal and authenticate with myGovID. The employer must do this by the end of April to claim JobKeeper payments for April.

3. From 4 May 2020: Confirming eligible employees for JobKeeper payments

From 4 May 2020, the ATO has advised an employer or a registered tax agent can apply for the JobKeeper payment for eligible employees.  This includes the following key steps:

Identify the employer’s eligible employees in the application form by selecting employee details that are prefilled from employer’s Single Touch Payroll (STP) pay reports, or manually entering employee details.

Employer must notify their eligible employees they have nominated them.

Each month, the employer will need to reconfirm that reported eligible employees have not changed. This will ensure the employer will continue to receive the JobKeeper payments from the ATO. The employer does not need to retest the reported fall in turnover, but the employer will need to provide some information as to its current and projected turnover. This will be done in the employer’s monthly JobKeeper Declaration report.

If the employer’s eligible employees change or leave the employment, the employer will need to notify the ATO through the monthly JobKeeper Declaration report.

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