Governments around the world have adopted a range of contemporary economic solutions to the COVID-19 crisis. The JobKeeper package is no exception.
On 9 April 2020, the Australian Government introduced the Coronavirus Economic Response Package (Payments and Benefits) Rules 2020 (Cth). These rules outline the requirements for employer and employee eligibility to JobKeeper payments.
Some of the key details and rules are described below.
The JobKeeper payment is a $1,500 payment per employee, available fortnightly between 30 March 2020 and 27 September 2020. The payment is intended to keep Australians in ongoing employment, and will be paid to eligible employers to pass onto their eligible employees.
Employers are entitled to a JobKeeper payment on behalf of an employee if they qualify for the scheme and fulfil a number of requirements. Employers may become entitled to access a JobKeeper payment beginning from a particular fortnight within the 6-month life of the scheme.
Both for-profit and non-profit entities may qualify. They will be eligible if they have experienced the required decline in turnover by the end of a ‘JobKeeper fortnight’ when compared to a relevant period.
For many registered charities, the percentage loss in turnover required is 15%.
For businesses with an annual turnover of less than $1bn, the turnover reduction is 30%.
In the case of for-profit entities whose annual turnover has, or is likely to, to exceed $1bn, the percentage is 50%.
Employees may be eligible for JobKeeper payments if, on 1 March 2020, they were a full-time, part-time, or long-term casual employee of their current employer. They also must be an Australian resident or holder of a Subclass 444 (Special Category) visa.
Eligible employees are to be nominated by their employers subject to further requirements.
Employers must satisfy the ‘wage condition’ to comply with the scheme’s rules. To do this, they must pass the fortnightly $1,500 payment onto employees, and ‘top-up’ employees’ pay for any work they perform which would generate a fortnightly pay in excess of $1,500 based on their hourly wage.
The rules also contain a number of notification and reporting requirements which employers must comply with.
The JobKeeper scheme is rife with legal nuances that employers should carefully consider.
Employers interested in participating in the scheme should seek advice to ensure they comply with the requirements and can take advantage of the scheme’s benefits.
More information: COVID-19 and Managing Wage Costs Seminar
We are running a seminar about the JobKeeper scheme and other ways to manage wage costs this Friday. If you are interested in attending this seminar, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Adam Colquhoun, Principal
This article is general information only. It is not legal advice. If you need legal advice, please contact us.