By Amanda Curatore
Over the Easter long weekend, the Australian Government released the JobKeeper payment Rules which are outlined in the Coronavirus Economic Response Package (Payments and Benefits) Rules 2020 (Rules) legislation.
These Rules establish the JobKeeper payment scheme and how it will support businesses and their employees during the coronavirus pandemic. To recap, the initiative commenced on 30 March 2020 and will cease on 27 September 2020. Businesses that have suffered a substantial decline in turnover since COVID-19 may be eligible for a JobKeeper payment of $1500 per fortnight for each eligible employee. Read our Fact Sheet for further information.
If you’re a business owner or HR manager and you think your company is entitled to the JobKeeper payment scheme, then you’re going to need to know the Rules. To help you, the team at HR Assured has read the Rules for you and simplified some of them in this article.
Let’s get started…
The decline in turnover test
The decline in turnover test is outlined in section 8 of the Rules. To summarise, an employer will be eligible for JobKeeper if the:
- employer is an ACNC registered charity and has a turnover of 15 per cent during the turnover test period compared to a relevant comparison period;
- employer has a turnover of $1 billion or more and its turnover will be reduced by 50 per cent during the turnover test period compared to a relevant comparison period; or
- employer has a turnover of less than $1 billion and its turnover will be reduced by 30 per cent during the turnover test period compared to a relevant comparison period.
- The turnover test period must be either a calendar month that ends after 30 March 2020 and before 1 October 2020 or a quarter that starts on 1 April 2020 or 1 July 2020.
- The relevant comparison period must be the period in 2019 that corresponds to the turnover test period.
Employer’s entitlement to JobKeeper payment for an employee
An employer is entitled to a JobKeeper payment for an individual per fortnight if:
- the fortnight is a JobKeeper fortnight (that is the fortnight beginning on 30 March 2020 and each subsequent fortnight, ending with the fortnight ending on 27 September 2020); and
- the employer qualifies for the JobKeeper scheme at or before the end of the fortnight (that is, they are an entity that carries on a business in Australia and has satisfied the decline in turnover test); and
- the individual is an eligible employee of the employer for the fortnight (refer to our Fact Sheet for employee eligibility requirements); and
- the employer has satisfied the wage condition in respect of the individual for the fortnight (this means that an employer must pay eligible employees at least $1500 in a JobKeeper fortnight); and
- the employer has notified the Commissioner in the approved form at the end of the fortnight that the employer elects to participate in the JobKeeper scheme; and
- the employer has given information about the entitlement for the fortnight, including details of the individual, to the Commissioner in the approved form (i.e. by using the JobKeeper Employee Nomination Notice which can be accessed via the Cloud); and
- the employer has not notified the Commissioner in the approved form that the employer no longer wishes to participate in the JobKeeper scheme.
How will employers be paid?
Below are some quick facts employers should know about how the JobKeeper payment will be paid:
- there will be a transitional rule applied for the first two JobKeeper fortnights. That is, if an employer has notified the Commission that it elects to participate in the JobKeeper scheme and begins to pay their employees now (prior to the Commission accepting the employer’s application), then if it is reasonable in the circumstances, the Commission will nonetheless pay the JobKeeper payment for the fortnight. This way, employers can be assured that they won’t be left out of pocket should they begin the JobKeeper payment prior to approval; and
- the Commission will pay the JobKeeper payment no later than 14 days after the end of the calendar month in which the fortnight ends.
Reporting requirement relating to qualification
An employer that qualifies for the JobKeeper scheme must notify the Commission within seven days of each calendar month the following:
- the current GST turnover for the month; and
- the projected GST turnover for the following month.
For more information about COVID-19, you can also visit HR Assured’s dedicated landing page which supports business owners and HR managers. The content on this page aims to address some sensitive issues many businesses are facing in these uncertain times.
Amanda Curatore is a qualified senior workplace relations consultant at FCB Group and HR Assured. Amanda is highly experienced in providing workplace relations advice and assistance to clients in a wide range of matters including employment contracts, modern award interpretation, managing performance, bullying and harassment, terminations and managing risk.