The Federal Government today announced the introduction of the JobKeeper Payment, designed to assist employers in paying employees during the present difficult economic climate.
What is it?
This is essentially a flat $1,500 fortnightly payment (per eligible employee) to eligible employers, for a maximum period of 6 months, to enable them to keep employees either employed, or supported, if they have been stood down. Employers will be able to pay employees more than $1,500 per fortnight (pre-tax), but not less than this. Employees whose salary level has been below $1,500 per fortnight pre-tax will benefit from the higher payment. Where this is the case, the employer will not need to pay superannuation on the excess.
In order to qualify for the payment, both employers and employees must be eligible.
To be an eligible employer, an employer with a turnover under $1 billion must expect a decline in turnover (note – not profit) of more than 30% relative to a comparable period a year ago (of at least a month). Employers must have been employing eligible employees at 1st March 2020, and must confirm that each eligible employee is currently engaged in the business. Not for Profit entities that meet the above criteria will qualify as eligible employers. Unlike the previous Boosting Cash Flow for Employers announcement, this measure is to apply to self-employed individuals.
Employees will be eligible if they:
• Are not in receipt of a JobKeeper Payment from another employer.
• Are currently employed by the eligible employer (including those stood down or re-hired);
• Were employed by the employer at 1 March 2020;
• Are full-time, part-time, or long-term casuals (a casual employed on a regular basis for longer than 12 months as at 1 March 2020);
• Are at least 16 years of age;
• Are an Australian citizen, the holder of a permanent visa, a Protected Special Category Visa Holder, a non-protected Special Category Visa Holder who has been residing continually in Australia for 10 years or more, or a Special Category (Subclass 444) Visa Holder; and
The next step
Initially employers and self-employed individuals should register their interest in applying for the JobKeeper Payment with the ATO at https://www.ato.gov.au/Job-keeper-payment/. The ATO will then provide employers with updates as this measure develops.
An online application will be available in due course, with the first payments expected to commence in the first week of May. Further details, including examples, can be found on the Treasury website via the following link: https://treasury.gov.au/sites/default/files/2020-03/Fact_sheet_Info_for_Employers_0.pdf