Your top questions on JobKeeper Payments answered

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April 23, 2020

Your top questions to date are answered below. 

 

EMPLOYERS

Does my employee need to know I am receiving the JobKeeper payment?

Absolutely.

Before you enrol for the JobKeeper scheme (available from 20 April), you must communicate to your eligible employees that you intend to participate in the scheme.

To do this, you will need to provide the eligible employee an ATO form called “JobKeeper Employee Nomination Notice”.

You can download it here.

Once you have submitted information to the ATO about the employee’s entitlement for a JobKeeper fortnightly payment (which you can do from 4 May), you must notify the employee in writing within 7 days that you have done so. You can use the template here to do this.

 

What if my employee earns less than $1,500 per fortnight? Do I still need to pay them the full $1,500?
If you are receiving the JobKeeper payment for an eligible employee, you must pay that employee a minimum of $1,500 per fortnight, before tax.

Even if an employee usually earns less than $1,500 per fortnight, you must still pay the employee $1,500 per fortnight, before tax.

For example, an employee still working

If an employee receives $1,000 per fortnight for the work they do, you need to pay their normal wage of $1,000 and respective superannuation on that amount, plus an additional ‘top-up’ amount of $500 as a result of the JobKeeper payment.

You are not legally required to pay superannuation on the ‘top-up’ amount of $500, but can choose to pay this if you wish.

Where an employee is not working

If the employee has been stood down and is not performing any work, and in a normal circumstance earns $1,000 per fortnight, you need to pay $1,500 as a result of the JobKeeper payment.

You are not legally required to pay superannuation on the $1,500, but can choose to pay this if you wish.

 

What about Super? Do I still need to pay their super?
For any hours worked by employees, you must continue to pay superannuation in accordance with the Superannuation legislation.

If an employee is not working but you pay them the JobKeeper payment, you do not need to pay superannuation on this.

If an employee is working, but you pay them a ‘top-up’ JobKeeper amount, you do not need to pay superannuation on the JobKeeper ‘top-up’ component.

 

Sadly, I had to let my staff go. Can I rehire then and keep them via the JobKeeper payment?
If you register for JobKeeper, you will be paid the JobKeeper payment of $1,500 per fortnight for each eligible employee in your business employed as at 1 March 2020. This includes any employees who were stood down after 1 March 2020.

Eligible employees who have been stood down are entitled to the full $1,500 JobKeeper payment.

 

What if I don’t want to rehire the employee? Do I have to?
Legally, you are not under any obligation to rehire employees.
The JobKeeper rules state that you must pay $1500 x 2 by 26th April to qualify. Unfortunately, some businesses do not have the cash flow to sustain this at this point in time.

We advise you to communicate with your ex-employees why you are not in a position to rehire them.

We also suggest that you direct your ex-employees to Services Australia to see if they are eligible for the JobSeeker payment, which currently includes a Coronavirus Supplement.

 

Some of my staff are on leave. Do they qualify?

If on Parental Leave – as at 1 March 2020, you will receive a JobKeeper payment for them, as long as that employee is not receiving Parental Leave Pay or Dad and Partner Pay from Services Australia.

If the employee stops receiving Parental Leave Pay and is still on unpaid parental leave, you will receive a JobKeeper payment for them and you must pass this onto the employee.

If on Unpaid Leave – Yes, unless the employee is receiving Parental Leave Pay or Dad and Partner Pay and meets the eligibility criteria.

 

What about Annual Leave while on JobKeeper Payments? We discussed it and it was the best option for my staff to take leave.

If an employee takes annual leave when they are receiving the JobKeeper payment, it would come from their annual leave entitlement as normal. You will continue to receive the JobKeeper payments for that employee as normal.

The standard rules will apply in relation to the JobKeeper payment in that the employee must be paid at least the $1,500 JobKeeper payment, or the actual wages they are entitled to for that fortnight, whichever is greater.
In addition, superannuation must be paid as usual on annual leave payments and time worked, but not on any ‘top-up’ JobKeeper payment.

What if their annual leave payment is more than $1,500?

If the payment that the employee is entitled to receive for annual leave exceeds the $1,500 JobKeeper payment, you will need to pay the employee the full amount that they are entitled to for that period of annual leave.

For example, if the employee takes 10 days of annual leave and is entitled to be paid $2,000 for that period of leave, you will need to pay the employee $2,000, which will include the $1,500 JobKeeper payment.

You can choose to pay the JobKeeper payment as an additional payment on top of annual leave taken too.

What if their annual leave payment is less than $1,500?

If the payment that the employee is entitled to receive for annual leave is less than the $1,500 JobKeeper payment, you will need to pay the employee the full $1,500 JobKeeper payment.

For example, the employee takes 2 days of annual leave and is entitled to be paid $400 for that period of leave. If the employee is stood down for the remainder of the fortnight, you will need to pay the employee $1,500, which will include the $400 annual leave payment plus a ‘top-up’ of $1,100. If the employee performs works for the remainder of the fortnight, you will need to pay the annual leave payment, plus the wages for those hours worked, plus any ‘top-up’ payment required to ensure the employee receives a minimum of $1,500 for that fortnight.

 

Can I claim the PAYGW Cashflow Boost, Apprentice Wage Subsidy and Job Keeper Payments at the same time?

The PAYGW Cashflow Boost is effectively a rebate/refund on the PAYGW paid on BAS.

If you have received the PAYGW Cashflow Boost, you can also receive either Apprentice Wage Subsidy OR Job Keeper Payment.

However, you cannot be in receipt of both the Apprentice Wage Subsidy and Job Keeper Payment.

An employer can only be eligible for one or the other; you can’t claim the apprentice subsidy for an apprentice, and the $1,500 Job Keeper Payment for someone else.

 

Should I apply for Job Keeper?

We answer this with: it depends.

Assuming you are eligible, we have had this discussion with many of our clients.
The JobKeeper Payment is a great economic support measure to keep business engines on, but is not a solution to all the financial problems.
There is an immense pressure as well as a form of expectation from employees to employers to register to do so.
People forget that this is not a payment from the employer but rather a subsidy from the Government.
From an employer perspective, some factors to consider include:
– funding of initial payments $1,500 x2 for each eligible employee
– associated administration costs, FWA (Workcover etc) and risk
– you cannot pick and choose which employee receives the JobKeeper payment, it’s a one in all-in approach.

 

I’m a sole trader with no employees, can I still qualify?
Certainly, as long as you satisfy the Eligibility Requirements, read more here and are actively engaged in the operations of the businesses, you can apply as a Business Participant 
 
 
 

EMPLOYEES

I have two jobs – one’s part-time and the other full time. Can I claim for both even if my wages have reduced by 20%?

No.
Generally, the JobKeeper Payments are usually for employment for which you claim the tax-free threshold. You can only get JobKeeper for one job and generally, it’s as a result of your reduced work hours.

 

I started working for my employer after 1 March 2020. Am I eligible?

No. The rules specify that you must have been employed as of 1 March 2020 to be an eligible employee for this payment.

 

I am on a fixed-term contract. Am I eligible?

If you were employed by as at 1 March 2020 and meet the other eligibility criteria, you will be eligible for the JobKeeper Payment until the end of your contract or until your employer is no longer an eligible employer.

 

I am working in Australia on a temporary visa, am I eligible?

To be eligible for the JobKeeper Payment, an employee must be an Australian citizen, the holder of a permanent visa, or a Special Category (Subclass 444) Visa Holder (NZ resident) as at 1 March 2020.

 

I am receiving worker’s compensation. Am I eligible?

If you are not currently working due to total incapacity for work and you are being supported through workers’ compensation, then you will not be eligible for the JobKeeper Payment.

 

Will I be taxed on the Job Keeper payment?

Yes, the payment will be treated as income, and so tax will be withheld on your behalf.

 

I was employed on 1 March 2020, but I was stood down and I have applied for or am currently receiving income support (such as the JobSeeker payment) from Services Australia. Will I receive the JobKeeper payment?

You will be eligible for the JobKeeper Payment if you have been stood down, however, the JobKeeper Payment is treated as ordinary income for the purposes of social security payments. You must, therefore, report your change in circumstances to Services Australia if you are receiving income support, and this is likely to make you ineligible for the JobSeeker Payment or other income support payments or eligible at a reduced rate. Please contact Services Australia for further information.

 

I am not eligible for the JobKeeper payment. What other support is available to me?

If you are not an eligible employee, you may be able to access income support through Services Australia. More information is available on the Services Australia website.

 

What happens if I resign?

If you resign from your employment whilst receiving the JobKeeper payment, your employer will stop making the payment to you and advise the ATO. If there has been an overpayment, this will need to be refunded.

 

 

Still got questions, feeling confused or simply unsure of your personal position, feel free to get in touch with us. We can be reached here.

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