As of 1 October 2015 Online Accounting and Taxation Solutions has changed name to Affinitas Accounting, you have now been redirected to the new page.

JobKeeper Explained: What is it and Who is Eligible?

JobKeeper 2.0

JobKeeper was introduced in April 2020 and is an effort being made by the Federal Government to support eligible businesses effected by COVID-19 to cover the costs of their employee’s wages, on condition that the business has experienced a loss of a predetermined portion of their turnover. Around $130 billion will be paid to hundreds of thousands of Australian businesses to subsidize employee wages. If you are a business owner who wants to explore JobKeeper and want to know if you can apply, read on to find out how it works and who is eligible.

JobKeeper explained

What is JobKeeper?

The Coronavirus Economic Response Package (Payments and Benefits) Act 2020 came into effect on 9 April 2020 (though the payment scheme was officially backdated to 30 March 2020), which allowed for the implementation of the Federal Government’s $130 billion JobKeeper relief scheme. It forms part of the Government’s $320 billion total economic stimulus and support package for businesses and employees affected by the Coronavirus (COVID–19) crisis. The scheme was aimed at keeping Australians employed even in the event of their employer temporarily closing down due to trading limitations caused by the outbreak.

Businesses who were impacted by COVID-19 and who suffered a loss in turnover of at least 30% can apply for the JobKeeper fund which will give them access to a wage subsidy for their employees. Eligible employers will be able to continue to pay their employees on a fortnightly basis: $1500 per employee from March 30 2020, for a maximum period of 6 months.

For those in non-essential industries, such as accommodation, retail and hospitality, this subsidy payment equates a complete wage replacement – something those working in the hardest-hit industries would need.

The JobKeeper payment scheme will end on 27 September 2020, encompassing 13 fortnights of employee wage payments.


Who is Eligible for JobKeeper?

In an effort to provide support and financial assistance to businesses and employees who need it, the Government has set out a defined list of criteria that businesses need to meet in order to apply for the JobKeeper payment scheme. The eligibility criteria are:

  • Businesses that have experienced a loss in turnover of at least 30%, in a month-long period compared to last year 
  • Businesses that have experienced a loss in turnover of at least 50% if they usually bring in more than $1 billion annually, in a month-long period compared to last year
  • Charities that have lost at least 15% of their turnover in the same period
  • Applicants who have casual workers must have employed the casual worker for at least a year
  • Sole traders
  • Temporary work visa holders may not apply unless they are New Zealanders on the special 444 subclass visas

Sole traders and some other entities (such as partnerships, trusts or companies) may be entitled to the JobKeeper Payment scheme under the business participation entitlement. A limit applies of one $1,500 JobKeeper payment per fortnight for one eligible business participant. Sole traders, one partner in a partnership, one beneficiary of a trust, and one director or shareholder of a company may be regarded as an eligible business participant.


How do the JobKeeper Payments Work?

Eligible employers and companies will be able to claim the subsidy amount of $1500 per eligible employee on a fortnightly basis. However, the Australian Tax Office (ATO), who has partnered with the Government during this crisis, will pay employers in arrears, within 14 days of month end. The employer will continue to receive the subsidy payments for eligible employees while they are eligible for the payments. While the program is expected to run for 6 months, payments will stop if the employee is no longer employed by the business.

Monthly employer payroll reporting is required to trigger the payment by the ATO using Single Touch Payroll (STP).


JobKeeper Obligations and Risks

While the JobKeeper payment scheme is aimed at helping businesses and their employees, the system is not without risks that business owners should be aware of.

If an incorrect claim is made, or if the ATO in the future decides that you were ineligible to receive the JobKeeper payment, the ATO will require you to repay any JobKeeper payments that you have received, plus penalties and interest.

The key risks and responsibilities you, as the employer, must be aware of include:

  • The employer certifies the facts provided to the ATO and the JobKeeper claim made
  • The employer receives significant JobKeeper payments over a 6 month period. For example, an employer with 5 employees would receive $97,500, and an employer with 10 employees would receive $195 000
  • If the employer makes a mistake and is found to be ineligible by the ATO (for example, its turnover was not down by 30%), then they may have to repay all amounts received back to the ATO This is not recoverable from employees (unless they confirmed they were eligible but were not)
  • An employee ceases to be eligible if they cease employment during the life of this JobKeeper scheme
  • The ATO requires you to keep all records in relation to your JobKeeper claim for a 5 year period.


How to Apply for JobKeeper

The ATO has specific actions that must take place within tight time frames for an employer to receive the JobKeeper payment. If you want to apply for JobKeeper for your business, please contact us or read the below:

1. Employer Eligibility Assessment

  • Review ATO requirements for the business
  • Review ATO requirements for employees
  • Review ATO requirements for Business Participation Entitlement – Sole Trader, Partnership, Company or Trust
  • Document the fall in turnover % in case of future ATO audit

2. Identify Eligible Employees

  • Prepare list of eligible employees
  • Prepare JobKeeper employee nomination notice for all eligible employees and ensure
    all notices are signed

3. Make Correct Wage Payments to Eligible Employees

  • Ensure your payroll software is correctly set up to record JobKeeper “top up” payments
  • Pay the minimum $1500 before tax to each eligible employee each fortnight (starting with the fortnight 30 March to 12 April) to be able to claim the JobKeeper payment for that fortnight
  • Continue to pay the minimum $1500 to employees in every subsequent fortnight until 27 September 2020


4. Enrolment for JobKeeper

  • Enrol for JobKeeper using ATO online services from 20 April 2020
  • Provide employer bank account details for receipt of JobKeeper payment
  • Confirm if applicant is entitled to a “Business Participation Payment”
  • Specify the number of employees who will be eligible for one period and the number eligible for two periods
  • Get confirmation that all employees the employer plans to nominate are eligible and the employer has notified them and has their agreement


5. Apply for JobKeeper Payments

  • Apply to claim the JobKeeper payment using ATO online services between 4 May 2020 and 31 May 2020
  • Ensure all eligible employees have been paid $1500 per fortnight
  • Identify the eligible employees from a Single Touch Payroll prefill or by manually entering into ATO online services
  • Update your accounting system Chart of Accounts to ensure JobKeeper payments are coded correctly


6. Monthly JobKeeper Declaration Report

  • Using ATO online services, report to the ATO using their Monthly JobKeeper
  • Declaration Report on the following:
    • Reconfirm that your reported eligible employees have not changed
    • Input current GST Turnover for the reporting month
    • Input projected GST Turnover for the following month
    • Notify if any eligible employees have changed or left your employment

Partner with Us

We want to do our part during the pandemic and, as such, are providing support and assistance to businesses who want to apply for the JobKeeper payment scheme. Please be sure to contact us if you or your business require assistance with your application.

Contact Us Now

Need friendly advice? Talk to our staff today about how we can help your business succeed.

Subscribe to Affinitas Accounting's newsletter for our latest updates, tips of the trade in your email inbox.

  • I’ve been dealing with Affinitas Accounting for about 3 years now and I have found them to be nothing but friendly and helpful. I’m a Bookkeeper and on occasions have been stuck with various accounting problems. Affinitas have not hesitated to spend time with me until the problem was solved. Any queries or questions have always been answered in a timely manner.

  • I highly recommend coming here for all your tax needs! They explain everything you need to know about tax thoroughly and go about there jobs professionally, always leave here with a cheery smile and satisfaction.

  • Affinitas Accounting has been so helpful with the restructure of my business. They made it an easy process and explained it in a language that was easy to understand. My ongoing tax and gst is all prepared by them, they’ve really taken the stress out of it all to let me focus on growing my business.

  • Tax Accountant & Financial Advisor Brisbane - Affinitas Accounting
    Rebecca & Russel Johns

    Since moving to Affinitas Accounting we have a clear understanding of companies and trusts. We have no hesitation in saying the team here will meet and then exceed your expectations! I never feel like i am annoying them. Thank you Team Affinitas

  • Tax Accountant & Financial Advisor Brisbane - Affinitas Accounting
    Paul Maclaine

    Affinitas has looked after all our financial needs for our business and personal tax returns. We have been with our accountant for 10+ years. I have no hesitation in recommending Affinitas to anyone looking for an accountant or any financial advise. We have always found and received friendly professional and practical advise.

  • For the past 6 years, Tammy has been lodging our tax. The team always spend the time to explain how things will affect us and always manage to maximise our returns. We highly recommend the team to anyone we speak to and have had friends move to do their future tax with the team at affinities accounting. Couldn’t recommend them highly enough.

  • Tax Accountant & Financial Advisor Brisbane - Affinitas Accounting
    Kirsty Whittaker

    I’ve been using Deb from Affinitas Accounting now for many years and have found her to be excellent in looking after my taxation needs. I’m in Tasmania, Affinitas Accounting is in Queensland and distance is no barrier. She understands my business needs, everything is done in a friendly and efficient manner and I happily recommend to anyone looking for ‘down to earth’ taxation advice.

  • Tax Accountant & Financial Advisor Brisbane - Affinitas Accounting
    David Williams

    We’ve been with Affinitas Accounting for over 5yrs when they were known as Online Accounting & Taxation Solutions. From our initial phone call with Brad looking for an accounting team that would meet our expectations as well as provide efficient service, we’ve been really impressed with the team’s professionalism, knowledge & expertise.

  • Tax Accountant & Financial Advisor Brisbane - Affinitas Accounting
    Allyson O'Connell

    Debbie is our accountant and has been for seven years. She is thorough and always does what she can to honestly get us the best return but always adheres to the ATO guidelines. We recommend her to our friends and wouldn’t take our business to anyone else. Thanks Debbie.

  • We have only been with Affinitas Accounting for the past 12 months but in this time they have by far exceeded our expectations of an accountant and far surpassed previously used accountants.
    Affinitas are not just about annual returns, BAS statements etc, they take the time to get to know you enabling them to provide advise to help you work toward personal & business goals.

  • Tax Accountant & Financial Advisor Brisbane - Affinitas Accounting
    Mark D’Andrea

    Can’t fault Affinitas.

    Have been coming here for years (when it was then called online tax). Deb has been happy to always go the extra mile and doesn’t mind dispensing helpful advice throughout the year.

  • Tax Accountant & Financial Advisor Brisbane - Affinitas Accounting
    Deagon Fixing

    I have been a client of Affinitas Accounting (previously Online) for the past 8 years. It is like a one stop shopping experience, all my needs were addressed in the one office.

    Thanks Affinitas you for all your assistance and I would strongly recommend them to anyone to use

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.