By Ann-Maree Chadwick
We’re living in an unprecedented time as COVID-19 impacts people’s lives everywhere. Tens, or even hundreds of thousands of retail industry workers in Australia are now working from home, been stood down or had a reduction of hours.
On April 8th, the Government legislated the Job Keeper Payment scheme and the clear message from them is that this is a wage subsidy program to support businesses and their employees. It is designed to help businesses affected by the Coronavirus to cover the costs of their employees’ wages so that more employees can retain their job and continue to earn an income. Keeping people in work and businesses in business will lay the foundations for a stronger economic recovery once the Coronavirus crisis passes.
As applications for the JobKeeper Payment scheme opened on 20th April, we wanted to ensure that any employers who believe they may be eligible can and have applied for the program.
Even if you have already registered for JobKeeper, we’ve put together a very handy timeline with links to ensure you are on top of the next steps and key dates.
In order to receive JobKeeper Payments, eligible employers must now:
2. Check you and your employees meet the eligibility requirements.
3. Start paying all eligible employees at least $1,500 per fortnight. Keep in mind that the first JobKeeper fortnight began from 30 March to 12 April.
4. Contact all eligible employees and let them know that you are intending to claim the JobKeeper payment on their behalf and ensure they are not going to receive the payment from another employer or have not been nominated by another business.
6. Enrol with the ATO for the JobKeeper payment using the Business Portal and authenticate with myGovID.
7. Using the online form, provide your bank details and indicate if you are claiming an entitlement based on business participation, for example if you are a sole trader.
8. Specify the estimated number of employees who will be eligible for the first JobKeeper fortnight (30 March – 12 April) and the second JobKeeper fortnight (13 April – 26 April).
9. Confirm eligible employees you will claim the JobKeeper payment for using the ATO Business Portal.
Then, each month you must:
Don’t worry, if you need more time, you have until the end of May to enrol and identify your employees, as long as you have made your April JobKeeper Payments by 8 May.
ATO & Treasury - Immediate changes to JobKeeper Rules
On Friday night, the Treasurer tabled the Coronavirus Economic Response Package (Payments and Benefits) Amendment Rules (No. 2) 2020 (the Amendments), which amends the rules of the Federal Government’s JobKeeper program.
The Amendments give effect to changes announced by the Treasurer on Friday 24 April 2020, including important clarifications to the “one in, all in” aspect of the JobKeeper scheme and the eligibility of junior employees. Please find a summary provided by the National Retailers Association below as well as the updated as well as Fair Work, Treasury and ATO links and updates attached and below;
One in, all in
Effective immediately, employers must notify their employees, in writing, that they have elected to participate in the JobKeeper program within 7 days of enrolling with the ATO. Failure to give this notice is an offence under taxation legislation which can be punished by fines, and even imprisonment of up to 12 months.
This notice must inform the employees of the steps they can take to provide a nomination notice to the employer via the Employee Nomination Notice Form published on the ATO website.
Once an employer has received a nomination notice from their employee, the employee is eligible to receive JobKeeper payments from their employer.
If an employee satisfies the other eligibility criteria, and has provided the employer with their nomination notice, the employer must satisfy the wage condition – that is, the payment of $1,500 per JobKeeper fortnight to the employee.
Failure to satisfy the wage condition is a civil penalty provision under the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) attracting fines of up to $63,000 for a corporation and $12,600 for an individual, or in serious cases $630,000 for a corporation and $126,000 for an individual.
If you would like advice on any parts of our check list, please contact either of our Trak HR Consulting Directors – Belinda McPhee 0417 239 458 or Garry Connell 0409 590 996.