As the COVID-19 pandemic worsens, the government has announced the JobKeeper payment aimed to ensuring as many Australians as possible stay employed.
Not to be confused with the JobSeeker payment for those people out of work, the JobKeeper payment is a payment for employers to help keep employees on their books.
How does the JobKeeper payment work?
Most importantly, this is not a payment made directly to Australians like some of the other COVID-19 stimulus payments are.
Instead, the Australian Tax Office will make payments to businesses affected by COVID-19 that allows them to pay their employees a wage rather than terminating their employment.
Each eligible individual will receive a minimum of $1,500, per fortnight for up to six months. Job Keeper payments begin in the first week of May but are backdated to 30 March.
Payments are taxable income so are subject to tax at your marginal tax rate. In addition, you must include it as income on your tax return.
Who is eligible for JobKeeper Payments?
In short, any full time or part time employees of a business affected by COVID-19 could be eligible. (You must have been employed by your employer on or before 01 March 2020). Casual employees who have been with their employer for more than 12 months are also eligible.
But, as we mentioned above, it is down to the employer, not the employee which determines eligibility for JobKeeper stimulus payments.
The basic eligibility rules for businesses are:
- The business has a turnover of less than $1billion AND it has reduced by more than 30% relative to the same time last year, or
- The business has a turnover of more than $1billion AND it has reduced by more than 50% relative to the same time last year, and
- They are not subject to the Major Bank Levy.
How to apply for the JobKeeper Payment?
You can’t. That’s because your employer needs to apply for the JobKeeper payment. If they’re eligible, the ATO will issue the JobKeeper stimulus payment to them. Then, they pay it to you the same way that normal salary and wages are paid.
If you’ve been let go by your employer who is an eligible business, we suggest talking to them right away.
They may be able to put you back on their books and pay you the JobKeeker payment instead of your regular wages.
If you have more than one job you can only receive the Job Keeper payment from one of them. If more than one of your employers is eligible to apply for the payment, you need to choose which employer you wish to receive it from.
What’s the difference between the JobKeeper payment and the JobSeeker payment?
The JobKeeper stimulus payment is issued to businesses affected by COVID-19 to allow them to pay their employees a wage while they are shut down or at reduced capacity.
The JobSeeker payment is a payment on offer to Australians who do not have employment.
You can only receive either the JobKeeper or JobSeeker payment – you can’t receive both.
What if I already applied for JobSeeker?
That’s ok. The Government will process both claims at their end and automatically issue you the payment that is of most benefit to you.
Please remember, the Government pays the JobKeeker payments to your employer. They pass the payment on to you as a special allowance payment. Therefore, it’s important that you contact your current (or former employer) to ask them whether they are eligible and if they will be applying for it.