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:
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.