Government announces JobKeeper Wage Subsidy Scheme

The Morrison Government has announced a $130 billion JobKeeper Payment to support businesses and help keep more Australian workers in jobs.

What is the JobKeeper Payment?

Under the JobKeeper Payment, eligible businesses impacted by the Coronavirus will be able to access a subsidy from the Government to continue paying their employees. Affected employers that meet the eligibility criteria will be able to claim a fortnightly payment of $1,500 per eligible employee from 30 March 2020, for a maximum period of 6 months.

Who is an eligible employer?

Employers will be eligible for the JobKeeper Payment if:

  • their business has a turnover of less than $1 billion and their turnover has fallen by more than 30%; or
  • their business has a turnover of more than $1 billion and their turnover has fallen by more than 50%; and
  • the business is not subject to the Major Bank Levy.

Businesses will be required to demonstrate that their turnover has fallen by the requisite amount (30% or 50%) when compared to their turnover in a comparable period a year earlier. The Tax Commissioner will have discretion to determine eligibility in specific circumstances including for newly established enterprises and where the turnover for a business in a prior year is not representative of their usual or average turnover.

Not-for-profit entities (including charities) and self-employed individuals can also access JobKeeper Payments if they meet the above turnover tests.

Who is an eligible employee?

Eligible employees are employees who:

  • are currently employed by an eligible employer (including those stood down or re-hired);
  • were employed by the employer at 1 March 2020;
  • are full-time, part-time, or long-term casuals (a casual employed on a regular basis for longer than 12 months as at 1 March 2020);
  • are at least 16 years of age;
  • are an Australian citizen, the holder of a permanent visa, or a Special Category (Subclass 444) Visa Holder; and
  • are not in receipt of a JobKeeper Payment from another employer.

What does my business need to do?

Employers can register their interest in applying for the JobKeeper Payment from 30 March 2020. Employers will then be able to complete an online application via to verify their eligibility and identify eligible employees. Approved businesses will receive the first round of payments from the ATO in the first week of May and will be required to provide monthly updates to the ATO.

Participating employers will be required to ensure eligible employees receive, at a minimum, $1,500 per fortnight, before tax. This applies even in circumstances where an eligible employee normally receives less than $1,500 per fortnight, before tax. It will be up to the employer whether their want to pay superannuation on any additional wage paid because of the JobKeeper Payment.

I’m a sole trader, what do I need to do?

Self-employed persons can also register their interest in applying for the JobKeeper Payment using the ATO website. They will need to provide an ABN for their business, nominate a recipient for the payments and provide their Tax File Number, together with a declaration as to recent activity and monthly updates to the ATO.

“The content of this publication is for reference purposes only. It is current at the date of publication. This content does not constitute legal advice and should not be relied upon as such. Legal advice about your specific circumstances should always be obtained before taking any action based on this publication.”
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