Job Keeper Stimulus Package – Frequently Asked Questions

Last edited April 6th, 2020 (our team are currently working on an update).

Since the federal government announced its $130 billion Job Keeper stimulus package on March 30, our team have taken hundreds of your queries.

Despite the fact that the legislation has not yet passed ( which technically means anything could change ); we have decided to create a summary for you of the most popular questions that we have had and their best answer…

 

Q: I am a sole trader and I have employees however I have closed completely due to Corona. Am I myself eligible for the job keeper or just the job seeker payment?

A: Think of it like this…

The Job Seeker Payment is aimed at those who are unemployed and therefore looking for work. It is more than likely that you were already unemployed around the time the Corona issue hit. Point being, odds are you were not unemployed as a direct result of COVID-19.

The Job Keeper is intended to keep employees in their jobs / their jobs held – where otherwise they would have lost their job. This logic extends to business owners / sole traders / partnerships / trusts etc ( ask us if you are not sure). If you ran a business in any capacity, and you lost revenue as a result of Corona – then it is more than likely that this payment is the one that you qualify for. Thus, as a business owner OR staff member you may qualify for this payment.

IMPORTANT: you can only be in receipt of 1 of these payments ( Job Seeker OR Job Keeper).

 

Q: I saw that you can apply for both the Job Seeker and Job Keeper payments and the government would then decide which one I get, is that correct?

A: Yes, this is correct- you are advised to apply for both if you are not sure.

 

Q: Can people who had multiple jobs could get this payment from their main work plus get casual wages from their second job.

A: We are waiting for the legislation to pass before we can confirm specific details however, yes, we think so because it actually about helping the employer pay wages ( as opposed to being about income support for the employee).

It can only be received from one employer.

 

Q: Is the $1500 per fortnight dependant on your spouse’s wage?

A: No, the Job Keeper Allowance is not means tested.

The Job Seeker allowance, however is means tested.

You cannot be in receipt of this allowance if your partner earns more than $79,762 per year.

 

Q: Do you know if we can apply now for the Job Keeper, or, is it just expression of interest at this stage?

A: At this stage it is just an expression of interest. You can apply for it here:

https://www.ato.gov.au/general/gen/JobKeeper-payment/?fbclid=IwAR3t9Du_k6waXFzLg5yIAw7nJWNebmnT75gh4J5CtBNix6zySwTaqXtmmgk

 

Q: I am a sole trader and I have only been trading since late last year ( Dec 2019 ). I see the eligibility criteria for the Job Keeper Payment is 1 year minimum of employment. Does this mean I am not eligible?

A: We are still waiting for the legislation to pass however at this stage it appears as though the 1 year rule ONLY applies to casuals.

Therefore, it is most likely that you fit the criteria to receive the Job Keeper Payment.

  

Q: When my business stands down staff members, do they continue to accrue annual leave and sick pay based on their regular hours, during the stand down period?

A: Yes they do.

 

Q: I stood down a number of staff members whom I would like to re-hire under this arrangement. What are my next steps?

A: You can re-engage those employees now and pay them their wages out of your cashflow for this month. Any redundancy pays etc would need to be paid back in this case.

From the first week of May, the government will reimburse you.

This reimbursement includes back pay from March 30, 2020.

NOTE: The employee must have been employed as at March 1, 2020 and, if casual, for longer than 1 year.

The ATO is not going to give you the allowance for your employees if you stood them down and did not re-hire them.

 

Q: What happens to staff that are currently taking paid or unpaid annual leave?

A: This is an arrangement to be discussed between employer and employee. It might be a good idea for the staff member to return to work however we understand that each situation is unique.

 

Q: Since payments won’t be made until May, what do you suggest employers do until then to in order to be able to afford to keep their staff on?

A: We suggest that employers think outside the box.

Examples include: Cut hours, cut pay, online sales / marketing etc.

Perhaps you could have staff do things they usually would not such as cleaning, training, stocktaking or home deliveries of goods.

If you did not re hire your employees and therefore did not pay them in April, the ATO is not going to approve you / your staff for this payment.

 

Q: I have been running an online travel agency for 6 months. I have had to close due to a significant drop in income. Will I be eligible for the Job Keeper Payment?

A: Yes it is likely that you will be, as it is not means tested.

Please refer our Job Keeper / Job Seeker blog post for further information.

 

Q: My husband and I run a small Pty ltd Business, this will apply to our staff, however, we are not on the payroll, can we get the payment? We currently draw from the business when funds are available and are not paid a wage.

A: We would still need to wait for the legislation to pass at this stage.

The latest fact sheet is implying that owners in a company / trust / partnership that don’t draw a wage will be able to get Job Keeper. We will keep you posted as the legislation unfolds.

 

Q: I own a beauty salon and I have had to stand down all my staff. I know my full-timers will be eligible for the payment however I have had a casual working for me for 2 months. Will she get it?

A: Unfortunately, she will not.

 

Q: Are tax and super withheld on these payments?

A: Tax: Yes, staff in receipt of the Job Keeper Allowance should receive the net amount into their bank account.

Super: Employers do not have to pay super on the $1500 per fortnight component. It is up to employers whether they pay superannuation on additional job keeper payments.

Example 1: Worker who ordinarily receives $1,000 a fortnight plus superannuation will receive the $1,500 Job Keeper payment, with superannuation paid on the first $1,000 and the employer able to decide whether to pay it on the last $500.

Example 2: Worker who ordinarily receives $3,000 a fortnight plus super may only receive half his usual super under the Job Keeper arrangement, depending on the decision of his employer (which will be a cash flow based decision).

 

Q: What happens after six months when the government’s payments stop but the employer is still struggling financially?

A: This not going to necessarily be predictable and it will be a situation that is unique to each business owner.

 

Q: I was a long term (2 years employed) casual earning $1000 per fortnight and I was recently stood down. Do I get the full $1500!?

A: Yes, you do.

7 Comments

  1. I am currently on forced leave since March 30, 2020. I am currently paid weekly through my annual leave.
    What happens when jobkeeper kicks in? I am currently paid 550 dollars per week after tax…
    what happens to my annual leave when jobkeeper kicks in at around may 1, 2020. By May 1, 2020 all my annual leave entitlements will be gone as well. Can I get my annual leave back? Do i get backpaid on the difference (200 dollars) from march 30, 2020 to may 1, 2020?

  2. Jack Rainer says:

    I do qualify as an Eligible Employee according to the rules.
    My employer is no longer able to give me the usual 40 hours of casual work hours per fortnight that were available to me before Covid. However, he is managing to give me about 20 hours per fortnight. At 25$ per hour that equals $500 per fortnight.
    He has told me that he can continue to use me for 20 hours per fortnight, but he will not pay me. Instead he will apply for Job Keeper on my behalf and that means I will receive $1500 per fortnight.
    Does my employer have to pay me from his own cashflow for the hours that I do work for him each fortnight ($500) and then “top up” with the Job Keeper subsidy ($1000) in order to equal the $1500?
    I suspect he is using this programme as a wage substitution rather than a subsidy – at the tax payers expense.

    • Hi Jack, Your employer needs to be paying you a minimum of $1500 per fortnight ( including net pay + any salary sacrificed super + tax withheld). As long as you are paid this ( from March 1 )- in each fortnight you will be eligible for the Job Keeper Payment. For further clarification, please send us an email 🙂

  3. katie says:

    I am a Sole Trader, with no employees.
    I have not been able to work in 2 of my contracts due to social distancing and venues being shut down.
    I am also a full time carer to my children, on carers payment also, so not eligible for job seeker.
    In terms of Job Keeper, in terms of sole trader, as a business my income has fallen by more than 30%, would I still be eligible for Job Keeper? how does paying the $1500 up front work? ie I can’t pay myself if I have no income coming in as my income comes from invoices paid once work completed (support worker hours and sewing products made at home) will I still be eligible for this payment?? I technically have a regular income from 2 of my clients (on hold due to covid 19), but without spending the hours in the community with them, I don’t actually get paid.

  4. Anonymous says:

    I work in vehicle sales and on Job Keeper. Before being put onto Job Keeper I would get commission on top of my base pay which was more than $1500 per fortnight. My employer has cut my hours down to 4 days per week to ensure I am working the hour appropriate for the Job Keeper amount. However they are not paying commission. I didn’t even get my commissions from February. Do they need to pay commissions on top of the Job Keeper?

    • Hi There,
      Thanks for your question. The requirement for you to be approved to be in receipt of Job Keeper is the minimum payment by your employer of $1500 per fortnight. As long as this is met, then technically would not be required to pay you anymore than this. Having said this, your hours of employment should likely reflect this and I would suggest having a chat with your employer.

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