Business guide to Coronavirus

How to apply for the JobKeeper payment

Enrolment for the JobKeeper payment plan is now open. Get started here.

 The JobKeeper payment is designed to support businesses impacted by the coronavirus crisis and assist with retaining employees.

Impacted employers can claim a fortnightly payment of $1,500 per eligible employee from 30 March 2020, for up to 6 months. The onus is on employers to apply for the JobKeeper payment through the Australian Tax Office (ATO).

The steps you need to follow

From 20 April 2020 employers (or your registered tax professional) can enrol for the JobKeeper payment:

Step 1 – Register your interest and subscribe for JobKeeper payment updates.

Step 2 – Check you and your employees meet the eligibility requirements.

Step 3 – Continue to pay at least $1,500 to each eligible employee per JobKeeper fortnight (the first JobKeeper fortnight is the period from 30 March to 12 April).

Step 4 – Notify your eligible employees that you are intending to claim the JobKeeper payment on their behalf and check they aren’t claiming JobKeeper payment through another employer or have nominated through another business.

Step 5 – Send the JobKeeper employee nomination notice to your nominated employees to complete and return to you by the end of April if you plan to claim JobKeeper payment for April. Keep it on file and provide a copy to your registered tax agent if you are using one.

Step 6 – From 20 April 2020, you can enrol with us for the JobKeeper payment using the Business Portal and authenticate with myGovID. You must do this by the end of April to claim JobKeeper payments for April.

Step 7 – In 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.

Step 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).

From 4 May onwards you (or your registered tax agent) will be able to apply for the JobKeeper payment for your eligible employees.

Step 1 – Apply to claim the JobKeeper payment by logging in to the ATO Business Portal

Step 2 – Ensure you have paid each eligible employee a minimum of $1,500 per JobKeeper fortnight before tax.

Step 3 – Identify your eligible employees in the application form by

  • selecting employee details that are prefilled from your STP pay reports if you report payroll information through an STP enabled payroll solution, or
  • manually entering employee details in ATO online services or the Business Portal if you do not use an STP enabled payroll solution, or
  • using a registered tax agent who will submit a report on your behalf through Online services for agents.

Step 4 – Submit the confirmation of your eligible employees online and wait for the confirmation screen.

Step 5 – Notify your eligible employees you have nominated them.

Step 6 – We will pay you the JobKeeper payment for all eligible employees after receiving your application.

Step 7 – Each month, you will need to reconfirm that your reported eligible employees have not changed through ATO online services, the Business Portal or via your registered tax agent. This will ensure you will continue to receive the JobKeeper payments from us. You do not need to retest your reported fall in turnover, but you will need to provide some information as to your current and projected turnover. This will be done in your monthly JobKeeper Declaration report.

Step 8 – If your eligible employees change or leave your employment, you will need to notify us through your monthly JobKeeper Declaration report.

If you use the ATO Business Portal, you will need a myGovID linked to your ABN in relationship Authorisation Manager (RAM). You can find out how to set this up at ato.gov.au/mygovid

For more information on the payment, read the Australian Government's fact sheet

Employer scenarios – eligibility and benefits

Example 1: Star Hairdressing – multiple employees on different wages

Lucy owns a hairdressing business with two employees. The business is still operating at this stage, but Lucy expects her turnover will decline by more than 30% in the coming months.

Both employees are currently working for the business:

  • Amelia, who is a permanent full-time employee on a salary of $3,000 per fortnight before tax, and 
  • Joe, who is a permanent part-time employee on a salary of $1,000 per fortnight before tax.

Does Lucy meet the JobKeeper eligibility criteria?

Yes, Lucy is eligible to receive the JobKeeper payment for each employee. Star Hairdressing and its employees will benefit

  • Amelia:
    • Star Hairdressing will continue to pay Amelia her full-time salary of $3,000 per fortnight before tax.
    • Star Hairdressing will receive $1,500 per fortnight from the payment to subsidise the cost of Amelia’s salary and will continue to pay the superannuation guarantee on Amelia’s income.
  • Joe:
    • Star Hairdressing will continue to pay Joe his $1,000 per fortnight before tax salary and an additional $500 per fortnight before tax, totalling $1,500 per fortnight before tax
    • Star Hairdressing will receive $1,500 per fortnight before tax from the payment which will subsidise the cost of Joe’s salary
    • Star Hairdressing must continue to pay the superannuation guarantee on the $1,000 per fortnight of wages that Joe is earning and choose to pay or not pay superannuation on the additional $500 (before tax) paid to Joe under the JobKeeper payment. 

How does Lucy apply?

1. Lucy registers her initial interest through the ATO from 30 March 2020.

2. Lucy applies to the ATO with details about her eligible employees.

3. Lucy advises her employees that she has nominated them as eligible to receive the payment.

4. Lucy provides information to the ATO on a monthly basis and receives the payment monthly. 

Example 2: Bella’s Beauty Salon – employees who have been stood down without pay

Bella runs a beauty salon in Western Australia and normally employs three permanent part-time beauticians.

The government has directed beauty salons to no longer operate and she has had to shut her business. Bella stood down her three beauticians without pay after 1 March 2020.

Does Bella meet the JobKeeper eligibility criteria?

Yes, Bella’s turnover will decline by more than 30%, so she is eligible to apply for the JobKeeper payment for each employee and pass on $1,500 per fortnight before tax to each of her three beauticians for a maximum of six months.

How will Bella and her employees benefit?

  • Bella will maintain the employment relationship with her employees and be able to quickly resume operations once the restrictions are lifted. 
  • Bella must advise her employees that she has nominated them as eligible to receive the payment and decide whether she wants to pay superannuation on the additional income paid from JobKeeper. 
  • Bella’s employees must notify Services Australia of a change in their income from receiving the JobKeeper payment – particularly if they are receiving other income support payments like the JobSeeker payment. This can be completed online via MyGov.

Further information

For more information on eligibility criteria for both employers and employees, read What exactly is the JobKeeper payment?

You can also stay up to date with the most recent COVID-19 announcements relating to your business here.

Explore our free Business Guide to Coronavirus for dedicated advice, support and solutions to help your business through these uncertain times. 

Siobhann Provost

Senior Writer, Business Australia

Siobhann has over 18 years human resources business partnering experience in large organisations. She more recently established and led a people advice team of senior workplace advisors before moving into content writing.

JobKeeper Payment Package Q&A (Free)

This on-demand session provides answers around the JobKeeper package to understand what it means for affected business and employees during the COVID-19 pandemic. Join as a free member now to view the session and download the presentation slides.

Already a member? Get started