JobKeeper Package

31 March 2020

The JobKeeper Package, announced on 30 March 2020 by the Federal Government, offers desperately needed relief to businesses to enable them to retain employees. This will assist a significant proportion of architectural practices with the retention of staff.

What is the JobKeeper payment?

The JobKeeper scheme is a Federal government economic assistance package designed to assist businesses and employees impacted by COVID-19. Employers will be able to access a subsidy from the Government to continue paying their employees. 

How much are the payments?

Affected employers will be able to claim a fortnightly payment of $1,500 per eligible employee from 30 March 2020, for a maximum period of six months.

Which practices are eligible?

Practice owners 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% 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% relative to a comparable period a year ago (of at least a month); and
  • the business is not subject to the Major Bank Levy.

Employment relationships with eligible employees need to have been in place at 1 March 2020. Businesses must confirm that each eligible employee is currently engaged in order to receive JobKeeper Payments.

Are sole traders eligible?

Sole traders (including self-employed individuals without employees) who have suffered from a reduction in income as per the above turnover tests may be eligible to receive the JobKeeper Payment.  

Which employees are eligible?

Eligible employees include:

  • those who are currently employed by the eligible employer (including those stood down or re-hired); or those who were employed by the employer at 1 March 2020. 
  • Full-time, part-time, and long-term casuals (casuals employed on a regular basis for longer than 12 months) 
  • those who are at least 16 years of age
  • Australian citizens, the holder of a permanent visa, a Protected Special Category Visa Holder, a non-protected Special Category Visa Holder who has been residing continually in Australia for 10 years or more, or a Special Category (Subclass 444) Visa Holder.

Employees are only eligible to receive a JobKeeper Payment from one employer. 

What is the application process?

Employers can apply for the JobKeeper Payment via ato.gov.au from 30 March 2020.

Businesses without employees can also register their interest in applying for the JobKeeper Payment via ato.gov.au from 30 March 2020. Businesses without employees need to provide an ABN for their business, nominate an individual to receive the payment and provide that individual’s Tax File Number. They must also provide a declaration regarding recent business activity.

People who are self-employed will need to provide a monthly update to the Australian Tax Office (ATO) to declare their continued eligibility for the payments. The Federal government has committed to making monthly payments to the eligible individual’s bank account. 

When will the first payments come through?

The Federal government has stated that the first JobKeeper payments will be received by employers from the ATO in the first week of May.

How will the payment process work?

Employers will pay eligible employees a minimum of $1,500 per fortnight, before tax (employers are able to top up the payment). JobKeeper Payments will then be made to the employer monthly in arrears by the ATO.