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It’s been over a week since the federal government’s $130bn JobKeeper wage subsidy scheme passed the parliament and it’s been heralded as a lifeline, keeping millions out of unemployment queues. But many businesses are in a state of confusion about how it will work, and how they can scrape together the money to bridge the gap until the government payments flow in May.

Stage 2 of the registration process for the JobKeeper program begins on Monday 20th April and eligible businesses have until 30th April to enroll and ensure that they satisfy the above criteria by that date.

We are here to assist.

As readers of our earlier emails would be aware, the JobKeeper payment scheme is a $1,500 per employee per fortnight subsidy, administered by the ATO, that is paid in arrears to businesses that have suffered a downturn due to the coronavirus.

As a guide; for a business that employs 10 eligible staff, that equates to $195k in subsidies over the six month period. These payments are taxable to the employer (as they essentially offset the wage expense for the business) and do not attract GST.

To be a part of the subsidy, employers will need to ensure that their employees receive at least $1,500 per fortnight (before tax) in advance of receiving the subsidies. So a business that wishes to receive payments from the opening date of 30 March 2020, must have already paid staff the $1,500 minimum for the two fortnights in April. They must also ensure they comply with a number of reporting requirements.

Given the ATO then tick everything off, payments for the April fortnights will be received in early May.

Some of the business eligibility criteria are relatively simple to assess (**) while others require more consideration (#).

Employer Eligibility

  • 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 experienced a downturn of 30% or more. A 15% threshold will be used for not-for-profit entities.  # 
    • 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; or
      • projected GST turnover for the quarter starting April 2020 with GST turnover for the quarter starting April 2019.

We can provide guidance on the documentation required to be lodged in relation to turnover levels and manage the lodgement process.

In order to assist with Employee Eligibility criteria, we have attached a workpaper (here) to determine individual employee eligibility for JobKeeper payments.   These are as follows.

Eligible Employee

  • 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
  • were not in receipt of any of these payments during the JobKeeper fortnight;
    • government parental leave or Dad and partner pay
    • payment in accordance with Australian worker compensation law for an individual’s total incapacity for work
  • agree to be nominated by you 

We are knowledgeable on the process required and are more than happy to act as your one-stop shop to ensure that you receive any subsidies that you are entitled to.

Please call or email your Manager or Partner at Dry Kirkness for information on how we can assist you with this process.

Read our full COVID 19 Stimulus and support Measures report. 

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