Still unsure if you are eligible for Job Keeper?
Ever since the Job Keeper stimulus was announced last month, business owners have been trying to make sense of the eligibility criteria to see if they would be getting the government’s financial help starting in May. With countless individual cases and different business structure scenarios, the confusion was real, and after publishing a Job Keeper Q&A with financial experts, we received hundreds of further questions.
So we went straight to the ATO to have some of them answered. Remember that you have to register for Job Keeper this week, so if you haven’t already, do it now. We hope the following information will be useful, and that you and your teams will be able to benefit from the government’s support.
S+C: Are sole traders eligible for Job Keeper? If they have no income at the moment – how does this work?
ATO: Sole traders may be entitled to the Job Keeper Payment scheme under the business participation entitlement.
Your entity may be eligible for the Job Keeper Payment scheme if you:
- have a non-employee individual who is actively engaged in the operation of the business – we refer to this individual as the eligible business participant
- meet the other relevant eligibility requirements.
Sole traders can be entitled to a JobKeeper payment for themselves (being an individual) if they satisfy the business participant requirements that they are actively engaged in their business and meet the other basic eligibility requirements. There is no wage condition that needs to be satisfied but as a sole trader they are likely to be receiving the payment directly.
S+C: As an employer, do you have to pay all employees the $1500/fortnight? In other words, can you stand down certain staff and keep others on Job Keeper?
ATO: Employers that participate in the Job Keeper Payment scheme must pay all eligible employees at least the minimum amount of $1,500, even if you re-hire them or they earn less than this per fortnight.
S+C: How many hours minimum do staff have to work in the next few months to continue to be eligible for Job Keeper?
ATO: There is no minimum hours required. You need to re-start or continue to pay your eligible employees at least $1,500 a fortnight in line with your existing pay cycle through your existing payroll solution.
S+C: Can employers make staff do work that they usually wouldn’t, i.e. help renovate the salon, mail runs to the post office etc?
ATO: Referring to FWO website – Coronavirus and Australian workplace laws:
Under the new Job Keeper changes to the Fair Work Act, in certain circumstances, qualifying employers can temporarily change employees’ usual duties and locations of work, and agree with their employee to change days and times of work.
S+C: If employers have no money to pay staff in April, what are their options?
ATO: The Job Keeper payment is a reimbursement scheme that will be paid monthly in arrears. If this is likely to cause cash flow difficulties, but you still want to participate, you may find it helpful to discuss your situation with a registered tax professional.
S+C: When will Job Keeper payments stop?
ATO: The Job Keeper Payment will be available from 30 March 2020 until 27 September, 2020.
S+C: Are staff who have been on maternity leave but planned to be back at work in the next few months eligible?
ATO: If you’re currently paying employees Parental Leave Pay, they’ll be eligible for Job Keeper as long as they meet all other criteria. However, if your employees are receiving government parental leave or dad and partner leave payments from Services Australia, you can’t request a Job Keeper payment for them.
If your employees receive Job Keeper payments, it may affect their eligibility for other income support payments from Services Australia. These employees will need to report their Job Keeper payments online via https://my.gov.au or by phone.
Let us know if you have registered for Job Keeper or if you are ineligible in the comments!
Read all about how aesthetic businesses have pivoted to keep going through the COVID-19 crisis, and what you can do to improve your mental health during these testing times.
For more business advice, read our February issue of SPA+CLINIC below.