The JobKeeper Stimulus Package unpacked here ….
The JobKeeper Payment is this in a nutshell: $1,500 / Fortnight / Employee wage subsidy is paid to Employers, for a period of UP TO 6 months.
Is it in play now? Sure is. Parliament passed this Legislation on 8 April 2020. Are there rules! Yes, there are rules! What are they? Well, the Treasurer has worked on them, and here they are!
How do I know if I’m eligible. Well, here’s the criteria for Business & Employees:
- Business turnover must fall by 30%. A 50% turnover decline is required for businesses with revenue of $1 billion or more while charities need suffer only a 15% decline in order to be eligible.
- Each employee must be paid at least $1,500 per fortnight before tax:
- The payment can only be received by one employer for an individual: (ie. If an Employee has 2 jobs, they can only claim the JobKeeper payment from 1 Employer – no double dipping!)
- Employees need to have been engaged as at 1 March 2020. Casuals need to have been engaged for 12 months
Registration and time limits
Employers are required to register their interest to participate in JobKeeper through the ATO website or Click here and we’ll take you right there.
An Employer must obtain the verbal (and we seriously suggest written) consent of Employees for which it wishes to claim the subsidy in advance of lodging an application ie. prior to 26 April 2020 where the full benefit is to be claimed. So getting consulting and agreeing and signing your document!
No double dipping – an Employee can only receive one JobKeeper payment (even if they have two employers) and cannot receive the JobKeeper & JobSeeker payment simultaneously.
Minimum fortnightly payment
Each employee for whom JobKeeper is claimed must be paid at least $1,500 per fortnight before tax. This means that where a person would be paid less than $1,500 per fortnight, an employer will not be able to claim any JobKeeper payment unless their wages are topped up to $1,500 per fortnight. So, pay the full $1,500 each fortnight (yes, process your payroll fortnightly please) .
The first fortnight of JobKeeper ended on 12 April 2020. But don’t despair – The Commissioner of Taxation will have a discretion to treat payments made late as applying to an earlier fortnight and we would expect that discretion would be liberally applied as Employers scramble with managing their Business.
Employers will not be required to pay superannuation on the top up component of wages paid to reach the $1,500 per fortnight threshold (but can choose to). BUT, pay superannuation to your Employees on their usual wages.
Employers eligible for JobKeeper Package can now exercise new more flexible powers to stand down employees who cannot be usefully employed for their normal days or hours because of changes to the business attributable to CVOID-19.
What does this mean?
Partial stand down powers.
Employers can ask a JobKeeper Employee to:
- Not work on a day or days, work for lesser periods on a particular day or days or work a reduced number of hours than the employee would usually work;
- Change the duties of work; or
- Change the location of work.
JobKeeper stand down directions given by an employer require three days’ notice (unless the employee generally agrees to a less than notice period) and requires consultation with the employee or a union representing the employee (if appropriate). The JobKeeper stand down direction must be in writing and we would recommend this is in the form on Individual Flexibility Agreement – dates and signed by the Employee and Employer, with a review date agreed upon.
Other Flexible Working Agreements
An Employer can propose to change the time upon which an employee performs duties to different days and at different times compared with the employee’s ordinary days or times of work but this requires the employee’s written agreement which cannot be unreasonably refused. We have seen an increase in these Agreements considering the HomeSchooling requirements coming into play.
Annual Leave directions
An Employer can request an employee receiving JobKeeper to take paid annual leave (which will not result in the employee having a balance of paid annual leave of fewer than two weeks) and the employee must consider the request and not unreasonably refuse the request. An Employee can also take double leave at ½ pay.
When does it end – well, what would usually be AFL Grand Final Day – 28 September 2020!
BUT BUT BUT ….. here’s a few things to bear in mind ……
Employees subject to JobKeeper stand down directions will still accrue leave entitlements based on service in the usual way.
The employee subject to a stand down direction has a right to request engagement in reasonable secondary employment, training or professional development while subject to JobKeeper. The employer must consider the request and must not unreasonably refuse the request.
The Fair Work Commission has power to deal with any disputes about the operation of JobKeeper stand down directions including by arbitration.
JobKeeper introduces unprecedented new powers of stand down to deal with COVID-19 but subject to the usual due process afforded under the Fair Work Act.
We are here for you, to discuss your short, medium and long-term planning for your business and help you get through CVOID-19 in as seamless way as possible.
Call us if you have any queries about your business, we’re here to help. Check out our free Resources to help you and your Team navigate these waters.