Further to the measures announced by Federal and State Governments over the last few weeks, (as detailed in our previous blog here) the Government has announced a $130 billion JobKeeper payment to help keep more Australians in jobs and support businesses affected by the significant economic impact caused by the Coronavirus.

Our view is that this measure will provide significant assistance to business that has experienced or is likely to experience a 30% fall in revenue to retain staff. It is important to assess the impact of this measure together with previously announced measures so that you can make plans for your business continuity.

We have simple cash flow templates and a documented continuity plan to allow you to make an assessment across your business to carefully plan the way forward.

Please contact your relationship manager at NCA to arrange your copy.

The JobKeeper Payment

Under the JobKeeper Payment, businesses significantly impacted by the Coronavirus outbreak will be able to access a subsidy from the Government to continue paying their employees. This assistance will help businesses to keep people in their jobs and re-start when the crisis is over.

The JobKeeper Payment is a temporary scheme open to businesses impacted by the Coronavirus. The JobKeeper Payment will also be available to the self-employed. The Government will provide $1,500 per fortnight per employee for up to 6 months.

Eligibility

Employers (including non-for-profits) will be eligible for the subsidy if:
•their business has a turnover of less than $1 billion and their turnover will be reduced by more than 30 per cent relative to a comparable period a year ago (of at least a month); or
•their business has a turnover of $1 billion or more and their turnover will be reduced by more than 50 per cent relative to a comparable period a year ago (of at least a month); and
•the business is not subject to the Major Bank Levy.

Employers must elect to participate in the scheme. They will need to make an application to the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) and provide supporting information demonstrating a downturn in their business. In addition, employers must report the number of eligible employees employed by the business on a monthly basis.

Eligible employers will receive the payment for each eligible employee that was on their books on 1 March 2020 and continues to be engaged by that employer – including full-time, part-time, long-term casuals and stood down employees. Casual employees eligible for the JobKeeper Payment are those employees who have been with their employer on a regular basis for at least the previous 12 months as at 1 March 2020.

Self-employed individuals will be eligible to receive the JobKeeper Payment where they have suffered or expect to suffer a 30 per cent decline in turnover relative to a comparable a period a year ago (of at least a month).
Where employees have multiple employers – only one employer will be eligible to receive the payment. The employee will need to notify their primary employer to claim the JobKeeper Payment on their behalf.

Payment process

Eligible employers will be paid $1,500 per fortnight per eligible employee. Eligible employees will receive, at a minimum, $1,500 per fortnight, before tax, and employers are able to top-up the payment.

Where employers participate in the scheme, their employees will receive this payment as follows.
•If an employee ordinarily receives $1,500 or more in income per fortnight before tax, they will continue to receive their regular income according to their prevailing workplace arrangements. The JobKeeper Payment will assist their employer to continue operating by subsidising all or part of the income of their employee(s).
•If an employee ordinarily receives less than $1,500 in income per fortnight before tax, their employer must pay their employee, at a minimum, $1,500 per fortnight, before tax.
•If an employee has been stood down, their employer must pay their employee, at a minimum, $1,500 per fortnight, before tax.
•If an employee was employed on 1 March 2020, subsequently ceased employment with their employer, and then has been re-engaged by the same eligible employer, the employee will receive, at a minimum, $1,500 per fortnight, before tax.

It will be up to the employer if they want to pay superannuation on any additional wage paid because of the JobKeeper Payment.

Payments will be made to the employer monthly in arrears by the ATO.

Timing

The subsidy will start on 30 March 2020, with the first payments to be received by employers in the first week of May. Businesses will be able to register their interest in participating in the Payment from 30 March 2020 on the ATO website here.

We will be continuing to monitor the quickly evolving landscape and keep you updated but if you have any questions regarding the above you can contact us here.

Thank you for your continued support and we hope you all stay safe.