If you think that you might be eligible for this scheme you first need to register for the JobKeeper Scheme via the Australian Taxation office.
You can register at https://www.ato.gov.au/general/gen/JobKeeper-payment/?=redirected_JobKeeper
There is no legislation for the scheme as yet so this is our interpretation of the scheme so far and some thoughts on possible issues:
• Your business needs to demonstrate a drop in revenue of more than 30% over a comparable period from a year prior. The media are currently reporting that this reporting period will mean a comparison of data for the March 2019 period and March 2020 period. I would like to see the legislation to confirm this. I would think that Given the ATO is to administer this scheme they could just look at the Total Sales reported on Activity Statements for the March Quarter and compare to prior years or something along those lines rather than sorting through piles of applications with data on March 2019 compared to March 2020. Anyway let's wait and see.
• The comparison of March 2019 to March 2020 may be an issue for Townsville business also as the Floods had a negative effect on Turnover for the March 2019 period so proving a 30% or more drop in revenue may be difficult. Stephen has already reached out to our local MP for comment on this so we will await his response.
• The $1,500 will be paid to the employer every fortnight for a maximum period of 6 months.
• Eligible businesses will receive $1500 per fortnight for each eligible employee on their books on March 1, 2020 who continues to be on their books. These include full-time, part-time, long-term casual and stood down employees. Casual employees are considered long-term if they were on the employers books and regularly employed for at least 12 months up to March 1, 2020. For an employee to be eligible they must be an Australian citizen, hold a permanent resident visa; or hold a Protected Special Category, Special Category (Subclass 444), or non-protected Special Category visa. Non-protected Special Category visa holders must have been residing in Australia continuously for 10 years to be eligible.
• An employee can be eligible even if the business let them go after March 1, 2020 and subsequently re-engaged them.
• No word if these payments will be tax free to the employer. Most wage subsidies are taxable but have no GST. I would expect the same treatment to apply to the JobSeeker payments.
• The full $1,500 must be paid to the employee – pre-tax. We are not certain if tax is to be withheld on these payments and if they are tax free to employees. I don't think they will be tax free and I think tax would still need to be withheld.
• If an employee earns less than $1,500 you still need to pay the full amount to the employee. For example if your employee only works enough hours to be paid $1,000 per fortnight then you would still need to pay them the full $1,500. Conversely if any employee's pay is normally more than $1,500 per fortnight then you pay them as normal.
• If an employee has been stood down then you still need to pay them the full $1,500 per fortnight, even if they perform no work.
• There is no Super Guarantee payable on the $1,500 paid to employees who are stood down.
• There will be Super payable on ordinary wages still. I think the way it will work is that, and using the example above, if you paid an employee $1,000 for work performed you would need to pay the Super Grantee on the ordinary wages of 9.5%, or $95 in this example, but you would not be required to be Super Guarantee on the remaining $500.00 that makes up the minimum $1,500.00 fortnightly minimum payment. If they earned more than $1,500 per fortnight while actually working then you need to pay the Super Guarantee on the full amount, for example if they earned $2,000 per fortnight you would need to pay $190.00 in Super Guarantee.
• Where an employee has multiple employers, only one will be able to claim JobKeeper Payment on their behalf.
• The Government has stated that the whole scheme will be somehow monitored and administered by the ATO via the new Single Touch Payroll (STP) system. I'm not sure how any extra payments above the ordinary wages will be reported in the various payroll software's and then in turn via STP.
• The Government has also said Sole Trader are covered but they don't report via the STP so again they are just making this stuff up as they go.
• They also mentioned self-employed persons but they have not mentioned Partnerships and Trusts so let's see what happens in this space.
We will let you know when we know more. Until then stay Safe.