Apr 16, 2020
What you need to know about the new JobKeeper subsidy rules
The Treasury has released the Coronavirus Economic Response Package (Payments and Benefits) Rules 2020, which provide the criteria for receiving the JobKeeper subsidy.
Businesses and subsidy rules
Eligible businesses are:
- a business with an annual turnover of less than $1 billion who estimate their turnover has fallen or will likely fall by 30 per cent or more; or
- a business with an annual turnover of more than $1 billion (or is part of a consolidated group for income tax purposes with turnover over $1 billion) who estimate their turnover has fallen or will likely fall by 50 per cent or more; or
- a charity registered with the Australian Charities and Not-For-Profit Commission (other than a pre-school, school or university) who estimate their turnover has or will likely fall by 15 per cent or more.
Employers will be able to claim a fortnightly payment of $1,500 before tax per eligible employee from 30 March, 2020 (start of the first fortnight), for the period up to 27 September 2020.
If employers wish to receive a subsidy for the first two fortnights of the scheme (i.e. 30 March onwards), they must make the application by 26 April, 2020.
Employers who apply after 26 March will receive the JobKeeper payment from the fortnight they qualify.
The subsidy is paid in arrears within 14 days of the end of each calendar month of the scheme, so eligible employees must be paid their JobKeeper payment in advance of the employer receiving the subsidy.
Employers must ensure that each eligible employee they nominate receives at least $1,500 per fortnight, even if they would otherwise earn less than the amount of the JobKeeper payment.
There are monthly reporting requirements, but once an eligible employer meets the turnover test, they are not required to continue to pass it for the duration of the scheme.
There are ongoing reporting requirements that include providing the employer’s GST turnover for the reporting month, and their projected GST turnover for the following month. The information is not required to re-assess the employer’s eligibility under the scheme, but to assist the government in assessing the ongoing economic impact of COVID-19.
Eligible employees are required to provide their employer with a notice (in an approved form which has not yet been published), agreeing to be nominated and confirming they have not agreed to be nominated by another employer.
An employer must also notify an employee in writing within seven days of giving the Commissioner their details.
If the Employer applies for one eligible employee, they must apply for all eligible employees. The Explanatory Memorandum to the Rules state that: “(an) employer cannot select which eligible employees will participate in the scheme. This ‘one in, all in’ rule is a key feature of the scheme”.
Interestingly, the Rules do not specifically impose this, they do require the submission of ATO approved forms, so it may be that relevant conditions will be contained within those forms.
Employees who are eligible for JobKeeper payments are:
- employed on 1 March, 2020;
- currently employed by an eligible employer (this includes employees who were stood down as at 1 March 2020, or have since been stood down);
- aged 16 years or older at 1 March, 2020;
- an Australian citizen, the holder of a permanent visa, or a Special Category (Subclass 444) Visa Holder, as at 1 March, 2020;
- casuals who have been employed on a regular and systematic basis for at least 12 months as at 1 March, 2020;
- a resident for Australian tax purposes on 1 March 2020; and
- not receiving a JobKeeper payment from another employer.
If an eligible employee is receiving parental leave pay or dad and partner pay under the Paid Parental Leave Act 2010 during a relevant fortnight, they will not be eligible for a JobKeeper payment for that fortnight.
Employees on workers compensation who are wholly incapacitated and receiving workers compensation payments are not eligible for the subsidy for any relevant fortnight. However, if they are working reduced hours while in receipt of workers compensation, they still can be eligible.
Employers are required to pay superannuation in accordance with their obligations under superannuation guarantee legislation. However, Treasury has indicated that no superannuation payments are required to be paid on any additional payment made because of the JobKeeper payment.
For example, an employee normally paid $1,200 will get superannuation on that amount, while the remaining $300 is not subject to superannuation. The formalisation of these requirements are not in the Rules, but will be addressed in amendments to the superannuation guarantee regulations.