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Job keeper real estate credit / debit retainer

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Hi All,

I work in real estate sales on a “credit / debit” retainer or otherwise known as salary absorbed by commission ( meaning that sales commission from selling homes is used to pay back the business for my wage before bonuses are paid ).

Our business is receiving the Jobkeeper package however our company has told us that $1500 per fortnight will still be added to our debit retainer and we ( employees ) will end up paying the government support back to our employer, even though that money was paid by government / taxpayer.

There is no specific advice for the real estate industry as this has been rolled out so fast, and I have spent hours in the phone to the ATO and fair work who both point the finger at each other for the response to this question.

Because of the vagueness of the current factsheet wording I believe that mine and other real estate employers are using this package as an opportunity to profit from their staff due to the strange nationwide employment conditions / contracts that we have in place.

I have seen the wording around “employers can’t ask for a fee or to pay part of the package to receive the job keeper package”, however they are not asking us to pay it, they are using the ‘salary absorbed by commission’ to justify the payment of the government money and then have us pay it back ( to the business again) before any bonuses is paid.

Thanks in advance for any clarification.
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Most helpful response

Devotee

Replies 3

If you and your employer are both eligible, they have to pay you $1,500 before tax per fortnight before each due date. They can't claim Jobkeeper if they don't do this.

 

There's a similar conversation happening over here: Jobkeeper payment

18 REPLIES 18

Most helpful response

Devotee

Replies 3

If you and your employer are both eligible, they have to pay you $1,500 before tax per fortnight before each due date. They can't claim Jobkeeper if they don't do this.

 

There's a similar conversation happening over here: Jobkeeper payment

Initiate

Replies 2

The same thing is occurring in our office. We are eligible and employer is receiving $1500 but is keeping the job keeper and advancing us our retainer as a debit which will have to be paid in full not the portion above $1500. Both fairwork and ATO are not giving us answers .
Our employer presented us with some.extract of information or advice they believe to be correct but it still refers to them pocketing the jobkeeper and then recovering advancement.
Someone pleass help answer this at appears many agents are asking but going in circles.

ATO Community Support

Replies 1

Hi @JZ-7H ,

 

Thanks for your patience and sorry you've been unsuccessful in getting clear direction.

 

Please see How Much to pay which outlines the employer's responsibilities for paying eligible employees

Also, What you can't do

 

Fair Work can help with questions about workplace entitlements and obligations in relation to the JobKeeper Payment scheme. Refer to Resolving workplace issues during coronavirus

             - asked an eligible employee to give all or part of a payment made to them under the JobKeeper scheme

               back to their employer

 

I hope this helps,

JasonT

Initiate

Replies 0

Thank you for your reply. I have along with colleagues  all made investigation into several areas of written policy from the ATO website on this as it appears others sales people in the same position around the country are currenlty doing the same from these forums. However there has been no example that specifically relates to an advanced retainer to the employee that the business is then paid back on commissions from the employee when properties settle and at the same time receiving the job keeper on the employees behalf during this time. Effectively being reimbursed twice, once from the employee and once from ATO. 

I am sure in all of these quieries and cases all we wish to have is the policy, direct evidence to correctly advise our employers they are in the wrong and incorrectly advised by their advisors, be it REEF, REI or their interpretatin of ATO. Noone really wishes to "make a Tip Off" before trying to resolve issues. Fairwork do not answer the issue either. We are unfortunately still not having the actual concern addressed from ATO policy which is the advancement of the retainer of multiple pay periods amounting to a debit to the employee, the repayment of that advancement on commission paid in the future while the employer retains the JOBkeeps and has not applied its portion from the jobkeeper as every other eligible employee receives! _ We understand  that if you are eligible as an employee for $1500 or more then the employer is obligated to pass this on, but the employer believes this jobkeeper to be considered a bonus not a replacement of accumulated retainer, this is what isn't being resolved in any of the links that are replied to. 

 

ATO Community Support

Replies 3

Hi @JZ-7H

 

I hear your angst. If I understand correctly though generally the debit/credit system is aimed at shifting the financial reward towards listing and sales success. The agent is paid a salary every month, usually a rather low one, and when a sale is made these wages are deducted from their commission. Jobkeeper for its part guarantees any employee eligible must receive gross $3000 per month. See JobKeeper real estate sales

 

Anything above that will fall to the award or the said instrument. I understand you wanting to establish what is the right thing to start with.Therefore if you have questions about workplace entitlements and obligation in relation to the JobKeeper Payment scheme, the Fair Work Commission has released guidance on how it can assist with JobKeeper disputes. If your concerned that someone is doing the wrong thing in relation to JobKeeper payment, you can tell us about it. To report illegal or behaviour of concern, see Making a tip off.

 

MarkATO

 

Observer

Replies 2

Have you had any confirmation regarding your question about a debit credit situation for Real Estate Sales Agents.  

Hi @Jozeppi7

I agree with you that there seems to be no ruling on this sort of situation. In the situation where the agent is fulltime or permanent part time and receives superannuation, sick leave and annual leave entitlements this would make them eligible.  I also agree that the employer should pay the minimum $1500 jobkeeper where the agent has not received a commission and would normally receive a minimal repayable retainer. I would have thought that part should not have to be paid back to the employer as repayable retainer as it is paid by the ATO for the benefit of the employee. Am I wrong?   Due to the Covid19 situation there will no doubt be quite a few agents who will not have a steady flow of commissions paid.  When the sales agent has been asked to nominate for Jobkeeper and all other staff are recieving it (one in all in) it seems wrong that the employer is receiving payment to the business and the agent is paying it back to the employer as well.  A ruling needs to be made to clarify this.  If anyone knows of an actual ruling please let me know.

Initiate

Replies 1

In reply to any new information.. there has been a FairWork Commission reply to a submission request to alter the current Award relating to JobKeeper Payments in Real Estate Sales Persons Award - the determination was handed down yesterday. refer https://bit.ly/30szHc5 (link to FairWork Commission). I still see this to be in contradiction to what the ATO has advised however that is my opinion and that means little. This will still need to be a directive from Treasury to the ATO and can be the only way this is fairly distributed as even after review of the determination the belief is the employee is no worse off if they still receive their debit/credit advancement while the employer retains the Jobkeepr and then 'claws' back the debit incurred. They advise this is the nature of the incentivised employee. More included within the submission and decision relating to Commission Only employees as this was the original nature of the request to alter the award and has advised an alteration to MITA and no new commission only employees to be instated for a period of time. This is my understanding- any further interpretation ?? My enquiries to the Treasurer's office remain unanswered to date. 

Initiate

Replies 0

"The employee is no worse off if they still receive their debit/credit advancement while the employer retains the Jobkeepr and then 'claws' back the debit incurred." Really? For example a Melbourne debit/credit agent could easily have a debt of $36,000 if he/she is unable to earn commissions during the pandemic. Yes he/she is no worse off then he/she would of been if he/she didn't earn any commissions, but the point is he/she can't make commissions if he/she can't meet with sellers and buyers. Jobkeeper was designed to keep people in employment, all debit/credit agents would be far better off on Jobseeker.

Newbie

Replies 4

Hi Everyone, i have read through all this information and there is still no clear answer.

I am real estate sales rep who is receiving a debit/credit retainer that increases each week by $800 (the award retainer) once i receive a commission my employer pays this back to my retainer debit sheet. But in saying this the employer is receiving $750 per week from the goverment to sub my wage (retainer) so why i am i also paying this to the employer. my employer is double dipping. The job keeper payment should be added to my retainer debit aswell as the money he is drawing on my commissions for retainer payments.

I do not understand how the employer can be keeping this money and still charging my retainer debit $800 each week.

We need answers to this.