JOBKEEPER

This page last updated on 11/09/2020

More information

What’s changed?


The JobKeeper payment is a temporary scheme for businesses affected by the coronavirus. It aims to keep people in their jobs and restart when the crisis is over.

  • the eligibility for the JobKeeper Payment requires the business and the employee to meet certain requirements
  • the JobKeeper payment will be made to the business. The business will then make the payment to the employee
  • the employee is contacted by the employer if they are eligible
  • the payment is $1,500 per fortnight gross until 27 September 2020 for everyone who is eligible, regardless of how many hours are worked.
  • From 28 September 2020 to 3 January 2021, the payment reduces to $1,200 per fortnight. For people who work for less than 20 hours per week, the payment will be $750 per fortnight
  • From 4 January 2021 to 28 March 2021, the payment reduces to $1,000 per fortnight. For people who work for less than 20 hours per week, the payment will be $650 per fortnight
  • There is no commitment by the government to continuing the JobKeeper scheme beyond 28 March 2021
  • If the JobKeeper payments made to employees exceed their normal earnings, the compulsory Superannuation Guarantee will not be required on the additional amount (i.e. the top-up amount)




Eligibility—Employers


The eligibility of the employer will be important. Employers must apply and qualify for JobKeeper for any payment to go to the (eligible) employee.

The eligibility requirement for employers are:

  • An aggregated turnover of less than $1 billion that has fallen by more than 30% or is likely to do so; OR
  • An annual turnover of $1 billion or more (for income tax purposes) and they estimate the turnover has fallen or will fall by more than 50%; AND
  • The business is not subject to the Major Bank Levy.
  • Sole traders can apply.
  • The employer must have been in an employment relationship with eligible employees as at 1 March 2020.
  • From 3 August 2020, the eligible employee test has been extended to include individuals who were employed on 1 July 2020 and are not currently nominated for JobKeeper by another entity. Prior to 3 August 2020, the relevant date of employment for assessing which employees were eligible for the JobKeeper Payment was 1 March 2020.

From 28 September 2020 to 28 March 2021, the JobKeeper extension period, there are additional eligibility criteria:

  • For JobKeeper payments from 28 September 2020 to 3 January 2021, employers will need to demonstrate that their actual GST turnover for the June 2020 and September 2020 quarters has fallen significantly, compared to the corresponding periods in 2019
  • For JobKeeper payments from 4 January 2021 to 28 March 2021, employers will need to demonstrate that their actual GST turnover for the June, September and December 2020 quarters has fallen significantly compared to the corresponding periods in 2019.

If employers have experienced a decline in turnover and haven’t enrolled yet, they might now be eligible and can enrol for the JobKeeper Payment. Enrolments remain open until the JobKeeper Payment scheme closes.

Employers that do not meet the turnover test for the extension period, will continue to receive payments if they were eligible up to 28 September 2020.

Businesses in liquidation are not eligible to apply for JobKeeper.




Eligibility—Employees


To determine if an employee is eligible for JobKeeper two tests must be satisfied at different times:

  • either the 1 July 2020 test or the 1 March 2020 test (depending on the JobKeeper fortnight for which their employer is claiming), and
  • the JobKeeper fortnight test.
1 July 2020 test This test requires that the employee meet all of the following criteria on 1 July 2020:
  • employed as either a
    • non-casual employee (whether full-time, part-time or fixed-term)
    • long-term casual employee (employed on a regular and systematic basis during the 12 month period that ended 1 July) and, at the time was not a permanent employee of any other employer
  • aged 18 years or older (if 16 or 17 can also qualify if they are independent or not studying full-time on 1 July 2020)
  • An Australian citizen, the holder of a permanent visa, or a special category (SubClass 444) Visa Holder (New Zealand Citizen working in Australia)
  • A resident for Australian tax purposes

1 March 2020 test This test requires that the employee meet all of the following criteria on 1 March 2020:
  • employed as either a
    • non-casual employee (whether full-time, part-time, or fixed-term)
    • long-term casual employee (employed on a regular and systematic basis during the 12 month period that ended 1 March) and, at the time was not a permanent employee of any other employer
    • aged 18 years or older at 1 March 2020 (if 16 or 17 can also qualify for fortnights before 11 May 2020, and continue to qualify after that if they are independent or not undertaking full-time study)
  • An Australian citizen, the holder of a permanent visa, or a special category (SubClass 444) Visa Holder (New Zealand Citizen working in Australia)
  • A resident for Australian tax purposes

Fortnight test
This test requires that the employee meet all of the following criteria for the relevant JobKeeper fortnight:
Are an employee of an eligible employer (including if they have been stood down or have been re-hired) at any time during the fortnight.
  • Have provided a JobKeeper employee nomination notice
  • Did not receive any of these types of payments:
    • Parental leave pay by the Government under the Paid Parental Leave Act 2010 for a period that overlaps with or includes the fortnight
    • Dad and partner pay under the Paid Parental Leave Act 2010 at any time during the fortnight
    • Certain workers’ compensation payments in respect of total incapacity for work for a period that overlaps with, or includes, the fortnight.

People receiving payments from Centrelink must report any income received from JobKeeper as part of ongoing reporting. The person may also need to cancel their JobSeeker Payment.




What do you do differently?


  • If your client is on JobSeeker and now qualifies for JobKeeper, let them know it is important to creport their JobKeeper payment to Centrelink as income to avoid a debt.
  • Some clients will want to wait to see if they qualify for JobKeeper and avoid applying for JobSeeker. If short on money they may need assistance from emergency support and assistance services.
  • Some people will see an increase in income from JobKeeper and this may provide assistance in paying off debts and building a savings buffer.
  • Many clients will still have a reduced income on JobKeeper and will need to prioritise payments and debts and make affordable repayment arrangements.
  • If your client has two or more jobs then they need to see which employer will pay first. They cannot get JobKeeper from more than one employer.
  • Government changes to the JobKeeper Payment from 28 September 2020 may mean recipients will become eligible for the JobSeeker or other government income support payments. Services Australia will allow these individuals to apply for Centrelink income support, such as the JobSeeker payment, ahead of the cessation of their JobKeeper Payment to ensure they can quickly access income support once their JobKeeper Payment ends.




Which one? JobKeeper or JobSeeker?


JOBKEEPER

  • Self employed or working for a business that has lost or will lose 30% of its turnover
  • Might mean more money than JobSeeker
  • Relies on employer applying and qualifying
  • Payment will stop if business goes into liquidation
  • Self-employed and sole traders with over 30% decrease in turnover can apply
  • Employer and employee must continue to meet eligibility requirements
  • The Superannuation Guarantee is only required to be paid on normal earnings
  • Subclass 444 Visa Holders (New Zealand citizens who work in Australia) are eligible
JOBSEEKER
  • Not working already
  • Lost job or business is in liquidation
  • JobSeeker has coronavirus supplement ($550 per fortnight until 24 September 2020 then $250 until 31 December 2020)
  • Can access rental allowance, energy supplement, family tax benefit, health and other concessions
  • From 25 September 2020 the income free area will increase to $300 per fortnight which means people can earn income from working but still receive the maximum payment rates.
  • Reduced JobKeeper from 28 September 2020 – if working less than 20 hours per week.
  • Business may not be eligible to apply for JobKeeper
  • Employee not eligible for JobKeeper e.g. casual employee with less than 12 months continuous work with former employer (prior to being stood down or let go).
  • Access available for reduced income - if single earning less than $1088.50 gross per fortnight
  • Partner Income test has been raised temporarily to $3,070.80 gross per fortnight.
  • Self-employed and sole traders with more than 20% decrease in turnover can apply
  • Subclass 444 Visa Holders (New Zealand citizens who work in Australia) are still not eligible




People who do not qualify for JobKeeper or JobSeeker


People on temporary Visas will not qualify for JobKeeper or JobSeeker. This will leave these people in a very difficult position.

The main options are:

  • Return home (if possible)
  • Seek ongoing help from family or friends
  • Access emergency assistance
  • Find employment





Disclaimer: The information on this website is for financial counsellors only. It is general information only. Financial counsellors must still tailor advice to their client’s individual circumstances. 

Copyright © 2020 Financial Counselling Australia. All rights reserved.​

FCA sincerely thanks Kat Lane. Liz Minter and Melinda Rene for their outstanding work in putting this site together.