Business guide to Coronavirus

JobKeeper: 16 questions businesses have for accountants right now

The JobKeeper payment scheme has been designed to help businesses affected by COVID-19 retain their employees. The JobKeeper scheme has been extended until March 2021, with a payment reduction in September to $1,200 per fortnight for full-time employees and $750 per fortnight for part-time employees (working 20 hours or less a week). 

If you’re considering applying for JobKeeper, here are the answers to 16 questions businesses are asking their accountants right now.

GST turnover is the total of all your sales made (excluding GST, overseas sales, gifts and donations) for the given assessment period. 

Identify any sales you expect to make for the remainder of the turnover test period. Then factor in any changes in the patterns of trade you’re expecting due to COVID-19, such as related close-downs or periods of restricted trade.

Yes. As part of the turnover test, you may have to work out your projected GST turnover for the remainder of the relevant test month or quarter.

If your business has been in operation for less than a year, you may still be eligible for JobKeeper under the alternative test

According to the ATO, your projected GST turnover needs to be a reasonable assessment. As long as the ATO thinks you’ve made a reasonable assessment, you will probably not lose access to JobKeeper, even if your actual turnover turns out to be greater than your projection.

Only Australian-based turnover is assessed. Unfortunately, a decline in revenue made from overseas activities is not included

As long as the employee was stood down after 1 March 2020, they may still be eligible for JobKeeper.

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It is likely you will need to continue to pay super contributions on your employees’ regular wages. However, if the employee is usually paid less than the given payment rate per fortnight, the employer can decide whether or not to pay super contributions on the additional amount. 

Yes. Even if the employee usually earns less than fortnightly payment, you still need to pay them the full JobKeeper payment.

JobKeeper 2.0 now means that payment rates have been reduced and now follow a 20 hour test to allocate eligible employees. 

To satisfy the 20 Hour Test an eligible employee (or business participant/sole trader) must have:

  • Worked in each of the four weeks of pay periods prior to 1 March or 1 July 2020; and
  • Worked at least 20 hours a week on average in the month of February or June 2020.

Failure to satisfy the 20 hour Test does not disqualify an eligible employee from participation, but it does allocate them to the lower subsidy in each of the December and March Quarters.

For more information on JobKeeper 2.0 click here.

JobKeeper is based on 14-day periods beginning on 30 March 2020 and running until 27 September 2020. 

The 2 new extensions of Jobkeeper are for pay periods: 

28 September 2020 to 3 January 2021 (Extension 1) 

4 January 2021 to 28 March 2021 (Extension 2)  

No, as long as your eligible employees receive the equivalent fortnightly subsidy.

28 September 2020 to 3 January 2021  

  • Worked 20 hours or more: $1,200 per fortnight 
  • Worked under 20 hours: $750 per fortnight

4 January 2021 to 28 March 2021 

  • Worked 20 hours or more: $1,000 per fortnight 
  • Worked under 20 hours: $650 per fortnight 

Yes, eligible employees are entitled to JobKeeper while on parental leave.

If you claim JobKeeper for one employee, you must nominate all your eligible employees for the scheme. 

Understanding the ins and outs of JobKeeper can be a headache for employers. If you’re confused, it can be a good idea to seek assistance from a professional accountant. 

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