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COVID-19 support – JobKeeper payment

Started ‎3 April 2020 by
Modified 2 weeks ago by

Once you have identified and maintained your employees in Step 2, you should receive JobKeeper payments within five business days. See our summary of JobKeeper key dates


The JobKeeper Payment scheme has been introduced to help keep people in jobs by providing wage subsidies to businesses that are significantly affected by COVID-19.

Eligible employers, sole traders and other entities can enrol for JobKeeper online and nominate eligible employees to receive the JobKeeper payment of $1500 per fortnight before tax.


How can I participate?

Our JobKeeper guides provide step-by-step information on how to enrol for the JobKeeper payment, how to identify and maintain your employees and how to make a business declaration each month. See JobKeeper key dates for when these steps need to be completed by. 

How do I calculate the turnover decrease for our business?

You can satisfy the fall in turnover test in two ways:

  • The basic test based on GST turnover
  • The alternative test where there isn’t an appropriate relevant comparison period in 2019. For example where businesses didn’t exist in the comparison period or where businesses were affected by a natural disaster in the comparison period.

You only need to satisfy the fall in turnover test once, however there are monthly turnover reporting requirements.

Do I include JobKeeper payments in my GST turnover?

No. Payments for no supply (like JobKeeper payments) are specifically excluded from turnover calculations.

What if my turnover hasn't decreased for April but I think it will decrease in July?

You will need to wait until you satisfy the fall in turnover test for the current month or quarter before you enrol. 

See this thread: JobKeeper enrolment cut off date

Is it compulsory to enrol for JobKeeper and can I choose which employees I nominate?

It’s not compulsory for employers to participate however if you decide to enrol, you need to nominate all eligible employees, you can’t pick and choose. See this thread: One in all in - can employers choose who they claim JobKeeper for?

When and how much do we pay employees?

Eligible employers will need to pay eligible employees a minimum of $1,500 (gross salary inclusive of PAYG withholding) before the end of each JobKeeper fortnight

What if my pay cycle doesn’t align with the JobKeeper fortnights?

When paying eligible employees, you do not need to adjust your pay cycle. The important thing is to pay your employees on or before the relevant due date for each JobKeeper fortnight outlined on the JobKeeper key dates page.

If you pay your employees monthly, see Paying your eligible employees

How do I treat payments to employees – do I withhold tax and pay super?

The $1,500 per fortnight is a before tax amount so you'll need to withhold tax along with any other payments each fortnight. You'll also need to continue paying super for any hours that your employees work.

See this thread: JobKeeper – tax, super and annual leave

What if an eligible employee earns less than $1,500 per fortnight?

You will still need to ensure these employees are topped up to a minimum of $1,500 per fortnight (before tax).

What if an eligible employee earns more than $1,500 per fortnight?

If an employee normally earns more than $1,500 per fortnight, you should continue to pay these employees their regular salary or wages.

If an employee was stood down after 1 March 2020, you can start paying them $1,500 per fortnight to qualify for the JobKeeper payment for that employee.

You will only receive $1,500 for each eligible employee. Any amount you pay above $1,500 per fortnight is not subsidised by the JobKeeper payment.

We have instructions for reporting top-up payments through Single Touch Payroll.

What if I pay my employees and find out they aren’t eligible?

Eligibility for JobKeeper payments is a self-assessment process and employers are responsible for checking with their employees they meet the eligibility requirements prior to paying their employees. If a payment is made and we later determine that the entity was not entitled to that payment, the entity will be required to repay the overpaid amount. If you think you have incorrectly received a payment, you can phone us to check.

Can an employee opt in and out of JobKeeper?

An eligible employee who has provided their employer with a valid nomination form cannot opt in and out of JobKeeper on a fortnightly basis.

See this thread: Employee refuses to sign JobKeeper Employee Nomination Notice

What if I have a 17 year old employee who just turned 18?

It depends what JobKeeper fortnight you’re claiming for and what their circumstances were on 1 March 2020.

See this thread: 17 year old casual who turns 18 in July 

When will I receive the payment?

On average most payments issue within five business days from when your submit your application form (when you identify and maintain your employees). However, it may take longer if there are additional checks required or any errors made on your form.

What if we can’t afford to pay wages while we wait for JobKeeper payments?

Businesses may be able to use the upcoming JobKeeper payment as a basis to seek credit in order to pay their employees until the scheme is making its first payments. We recommend that you talk to your bank as soon as possible if you are concerned about paying wages while you wait for JobKeeper.

How long can I receive JobKeeper payments for?

The JobKeeper payment covers 13 fortnights from 30 March 2020 until 27 September 2020, with the first payment made to employers from May 2020

Sole traders, partners, trust beneficiaries, shareholders and directors

How can I participate?

Our JobKeeper guide for sole traders provides step-by-step information on how to enrol for the JobKeeper payment, how to identify and maintain your employees and how to make a business declaration each month. See JobKeeper key dates for when these steps need to be completed by. 

What if I have another job?

An eligible business participant cannot be an employee (other than a casual employee) of another entity. If a sole trader is both a long-term casual employee of another business and also an eligible sole trader, they can choose to either let their employer claim the JobKeeper payments on their behalf, or they can claim as a sole trader, but not both.

See this thread if you have gotten another job after 1 March 2020: JobKeeper and a New Job 

Can I nominate my eligible employees if I have permanent employment elsewhere?

As long as you meet the employer eligibility criteria and turnover test, you can nominate your eligible employees. 

See this thread: JobKeeper for employee of sole trader but not sole trader

How do I calculate turnover if I’m not registered for GST?

You don’t need to be registered for GST to be eligible for JobKeeper. However, you need to have had an ABN on 12 March 2020 and an amount of assessable income related to your business in your 2018–19 income tax return.

What if I haven’t lodged my 2018/2019 tax return by 12 March 2020?

We can give you further time to lodge if you:

  • did not have a requirement to lodge your 2018-2019 return until after 12 March 2020. For example, your business is part of a registered agent’s lodgement program.
  • have deferred your lodgment under an extension of lodgment date we initiated.

Do I need a myGovID to enrol?

No. myGovID is a digital identity for businesses and not-for-profit organisations. They can use myGovID to log into the Business Portal to apply for JobKeeper payments. myGov is an account for individuals and sole traders that they need to access ATO online services. Sole traders can apply for JobKeeper payments through myGov.

Do I need an ABN to be eligible?

Yes, you need to have had an ABN on or before 12 March 2020.


How do I apply?

If your employer chooses to apply for the JobKeeper payment and you meet the eligibility requirements they will let you know. You can also refuse to participate if you choose.

Are casual employees eligible?

You’re eligible if you’re a long-term casual employee and have been with your employer on a regular and systematic basis for at least 12 months as at 1 March 2020. If you’re a long-term casual and you have other permanent employment, you must choose your permanent employer – you cannot be nominated by your casual employer.

What if I have multiple jobs?

You can only receive the payment from one employer. Here are some different scenarios:

  1. Long-term casual and permanent job: In this situation, you can’t be nominated by your casual employer, you must choose your permanent employer. If you’re permanent employer isn’t eligible to claim the payment, you won’t be eligible either.
  2. Fixed-term contract and long-term casual: if you're a fixed term contractor at 1 March and also a long-term casual, you can only choose to nominate through your fixed-term contract employer, not your casual employer. If the fixed-term contract is renewed before 27 September 2020, you will continue to be eligible for JobKeeper Payment under that employer. If you fixed-term contract isn’t renewed before 27 September 2020, you will likely cease being eligible for the JobKeeper Payment.
  3. Two long-term casual jobs or two permanent jobs: If you receive nominations from both employers, you can choose the one you want to get the payment from.
  4. Long-term casual who gets an additional permanent part-time job after 1 March 2020: If you were a long-term casual on 1 March 2020 and you later get an additional permanent job, you can still claim JobKeeper through your casual employer. You are allowed to earn additional income while you are on JobKeeper as long as you maintain your employment relationship with your JobKeeper-eligible employer.

See this thread: JobKeeper – Multiple employers

What if I’m on leave, am I still eligible for the payment?

Yes, unless you are in receipt of any of these payments during the JobKeeper fortnight   

  • government parental leave or Dad and partner pay
  • a payment in accordance with Australian worker compensation law for an individual’s total incapacity for work.

If you’re an eligible employee on paid or unpaid leave and your eligible employer decides to participate in the scheme, they are required to pay you a minimum of $1,500 per fortnight before tax.

The JobKeeper payment is a wage subsidy for your employer so if your employer is paying you an annual leave payment, the $1,500 will subsidise part or all of this amount – it’s not an additional amount.

What if I’m on a temporary visa like the 820 partner visa?

To be eligible you need to have been either of the following on 1 March 2020:

  • an Australian resident (within the meaning of the Social Security Act 1991). This means that you resided in Australia, and were an Australian citizen, the holder of a permanent visa, or a Protected Special Category Visa Holder. Visit the Services Australia website and read residence descriptions for more details.
  • an Australian resident for the purpose of the Income Tax Assessment Act 1936 and the holder of a Subclass 444 (Special Category) visa.

What if I signed my contract before 1 March but didn't start work until after 1 March?

When an employment relationship commences is a question of fact. The test is whether a person was an employee of the employer on 1 March 2020. If the employment contract contained a specific date that the employment was to commence, the Commissioner would accept that date.

See this thread: Evidence of 12 months casual employment 

How do I know if my employer has applied for me?

Before your employer enrols to receive JobKeeper, they need to notify each eligible employee that they intend to nominate them. If you agree, you need to complete a JobKeeper employee nomination notice and return it to your employer. You can talk directly to your employer to find out more about your situation.

Can I change which employer I claim JobKeeper through?

No. Once you have agreed to be nominated by one of your eligible employers and completed the Employee nomination notice, you cannot change the employer who is claiming JobKeeper payments for you.

I’ve applied for the JobSeeker Payment as well, can I claim both?

If you’re receiving or have applied for an income support payment like JobSeeker Payment and your employer starts paying you JobKeeper payment, you must report that income to Services Australia. If you don’t, they will pay you too much and you’ll have a debt to pay back. If you start to get JobKeeper payment you may need to cancel your JobSeeker Payment to avoid getting a debt.

Can I earn income from another job while receiving JobKeeper?

You can earn additional income without your JobKeeper payments being affected as long as you maintain your employment (including being stood down) with your JobKeeper-eligible employer.

What if I have been already made redundant by my employer?

If you were made redundant after 1 March 2020, your employer may choose to re-engage you and claim JobKeeper on your behalf if you both meet the eligibility criteria. You will only be paid JobKeeper payment from the fortnight you were re-engaged.

How will my super be affected by JobKeeper?

Employers can choose whether they pay super on additional payments made to employees as a result of JobKeeper.

See Superannuation guarantee

How will JobKeeper affect my tax return?

The JobKeeper payments you receive through your employer are considered taxable income and will appear on your tax return as regular wages. Your employer will have already withheld tax before they paid you each fortnight.

Can I still access my super early while receiving JobKeeper?

To check if you’re eligible, see early release of your super due to COVID-19.

What if I think an employer/employee isn’t following the rules of JobKeeper?

If you have questions about workplace entitlements and obligations in relation to the JobKeeper Payment scheme, the Fair Work Commission has released guidance on how it can assist with JobKeeper disputes. If you are 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.

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