Centrelink lines
Centrelink lines

Experts answer JobKeeper questions

MILLIONS of Australian workers are set to benefit from the Federal Government's multibillion-dollar JobKeeper wage subsidy scheme as the nation attempts to soften the economic blown from COVID-19.

The $1500-a-fortnight payment is designed to save jobs. But questions remain about exactly how it works.

Business finance and small business expert David Gandolfo has weighed in to answer questions on how the scheme will work for businesses and individuals.


My son had a permanent part-time job as well as a full-time job. His FT employer continues to pay his normal wage however he cannot work doing his PT hospitality job. Can he get the JobKeeper allowance for the PT job

A. No. Generally the JK is usually, for occupations for which you claim the tax free threshold. You can only get JK for one job and generally it's because your job has disappeared. Your son is lucky he still has FT work.


The queue outside Southport Centrelink at 8.40am this morning. Picture Glenn Hampson
The queue outside Southport Centrelink at 8.40am this morning. Picture Glenn Hampson


My understanding is that you have to include ALL eligible employees in your submission, you can't pick and choose who you pay the JobKeeper to from your staff. So a cafe that has six eligible employees and is only currently using the two full-timers to operate a smaller takeaway service, now has to find enough money to pay all six employees through April and early May before it receives the first payment from the ATO on 14 May?

A. JK is designed for all staff that remain connected with the business. As an employer, if you believe your business cannot carry all staff through the next six months, you have the normal ability to terminate employees that your business cannot reasonably carry. You don't have to pre-pay till you get confirmation from the ATO. And then you can back pay provided you do it on or before 26 April and you will receive the cash for JK payments from 1 May - so the gap is effectively - one to two weeks. If you know you're eligible, your bank may cover the cash gap for this period


Is there an obligation to re-employ stood down employees once the JobKeeper payments have ended?

A. The principal purpose of JobKeeper is to keep employees connected to their business so that when the health crisis is over, the business can resume trading with its employees. That said, no one knows what the impact will be on businesses long term and so, while there is a moral obligation on business owners to keep JK employees on after the crisis is over, there is no absolute or legal obligation to do so (as some businesses may be damaged to the point of not being as viable as they were before the crisis).


Do employers have to pay superannuation on the $1500 job keeper payment?

A. That's a good question..... If the employee is stood down, no super requirement. If the employee is working and normally paid less than $1500, you pay super on their normal salary. (Not the $1500 new JK salary.) If the employee is working and normally paid more than $1500, you pay super on their normal salary.


We are confused in relation to the qualification for the JobKeeper payment for our workers. We understand the part about the 30 per cent drop in GST recorded revenue, but do we have to suffer the drop and prove it first or provide a forecast of our expected drop? If our forecast doesn't come true due to a change in business conditions, will we need to pay back the allowance? If so, why would anyone start paying the allowance now for laid off workers and risk having to pay it back? Currently, we only have March figures to go by and if we wait until June quarter results are in, it could be too late. So how can anyone claim to have suffered a 30 per cent quarterly drop now and receive the JobKeeper allowance?

A. Our understanding is that, you can use a forecast of a suspected drop. If that drop doesn't happen, you may have to enter arrangements with the ATO to pay back. But such arrangements would normally take into account the capacity of the business to repay … don't pay it now, wait till you get eligibility confirmed from ATO. If a business makes an honest mistake, they won't be penalised. Our understanding is the employer registration forms have been issued today from ATO.