Fast facts you need to know
The Australian Government has passed legislation for a $130 billion JobKeeper scheme to keep people in employment throughout the coronavirus crisis
Businesses whose turnover has reduced more than 30% of at least a month are eligible for the scheme provided their turnover is under $1 billion. Eligible businesses can enrol for the scheme here.
Employers can use the Deputy JobKeeper report to quickly identify which employees are eligible – including those that can be rehired. This report can be found in the Employee Details report, through the Reports tab in your account.
Employers must notify employees that their pay is being subsidised by the JobKeeper scheme and have them complete this form, which can be done directly from the JobKeeper report in Deputy.
For each eligible employee, the business will receive $1500 / fortnight to be paid in full to each employee including if this is above their actual earnings. Employers are expected to make up the difference for employees on a higher rate of pay than $1500 a fortnight.
On 21 July the government announced proposed changes to JobKeeper including an extension through to 28 March 2021.
What is the JobKeeper payment?
In response to the estimated 6 million Australians who have been or who will be financially impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic in the coming weeks and months, the Australian Government has now passed legislation on a $130 billion "JobKeeper" stimulus package.
Through the JobKeeper scheme, businesses that have been significantly impacted by the coronavirus outbreak will be able to continue paying their employees with financial assistance from the Government. The Government has provided criteria for determining if a business is eligible for the payment, and which employees will qualify as eligible to receive the payment.
You can find all the information you need on the ATO website, but we’ve done a quick breakdown for you below, including an outline of how Deputy can help in quickly determining which employees may be eligible.
Accessing the JobKeeper stimulus package
For your business to be considered eligible for the JobKeeper payment, it must fall within one of the following sets of criteria:
Your business has a turnover of less than $1 billion and their turnover has fallen by more than 30 per cent (of at least a month)
Your business has a turnover of $1 billion or more and their turnover has fallen by more than 50 per cent (of at least a month)
If your business is in either one of these categories, you can enrol for the JobKeeper scheme here.
As the payment is not available to all employees, employers must also assess which employees they will be able to claim the JobKeeper subsidy for, which is defined by:
Employment status: They are either currently employed at your business, have been stood down, or rehired, and were under your employment on 1 March 2020.
Employment contract: They are a full-time, part-time, or long-term casual that has been employed on a regular basis for longer than 12 months as of 1 March 2020.
Age: They are at least 16 years of age.
Citizenship: They are an Australian citizen, or hold one of the following Visas mentioned here.
Dual employment: They can not receive the JobKeeper payment from another employer.
Quickly identify your eligible employees with the Deputy JobKeeper report
In Deputy, our JobKeeper Allowance report pulls together a centralised list of all potentially eligible employees in seconds. This report is already in your account, and you can find it under "Employee Details" in the Reports tab.
Through including other important details such as the base rate of pay, the report can serve as your guide not only to identify who you may be able to retain and even rehire, but also indicate where you may be able to make more efficient rostering decisions in the current climate.
Once you know which employees will be eligible to receive the JobKeeper subsidy, you will need to notify them that they are receiving the JobKeeper payment, and make them aware of their obligations as in the suggested template below.
To make it easier to get in touch with the right people and make sure no one gets missed, you can send a message out to all eligible employees straight from the JobKeeper report.
You have qualified as eligible to receive payment under the Government JobKeeper scheme. This means your pay is now being subsidised to the amount of $1500 by the Australian Government.
As part of qualifying for this payment, we will need you to complete the following form: https://www.ato.gov.au/assets/0/104/300/362/004e4999-5aee-480a-a38e-a668d9078aa0.pdf
A couple of things you may need to action include:
If we are not your primary employer, and you are currently receiving the JobKeeper payment at another place of employment, please let me know immediately. The JobKeeper payment is only available for one place of employment.
If you are currently receiving or have applied for an income support payment, you will need to notify Services Australia of your new income.
If you are not an Australian citizen, please notify me immediately of your current visa status.
Let me know if you have any further questions.
Simplify JobKeeper payments with Deputy and Xero
With your business and eligible employees successfully registered for JobKeeper, managing the payment of this subsidy can be done easily between Deputy and Xero.
If you're currently using Xero to process your payroll and haven't integrated it with Deputy yet, you can find out how to do so here.
If you have this integration already set up, you can follow our simple step by step guide on how to process JobKeeper payments with Deputy and Xero.
How do role based payments work when your business isn’t running as usual?
Businesses have been impacted in such varied ways by COVID-19, it’s difficult to apply a one-size-fits-all approach to what the JobKeeper subsidy will look like for your employees on a day to day basis.
The spirit in which the initiative is intended, is that employees are able to stay connected with the business, while also ensuring businesses can remain open, or return quickly to business as soon as possible.
Depending on how your business has been impacted, we can look at four common scenarios of how the JobKeeper may be used to pay your employees.
Retaining and rehiring employees
If you’re able to keep your business open, albeit with a significantly reduced trading margin, the JobKeeper subsidy will allow you to retain existing staff and even re-hire any eligible staff that had previously been stood down as a result of the pandemic.
It’s important to note that while all employees will receive the minimum of $1500 per fortnight, you still need to track their hours worked and calculate their pay according to the correct industry award. Employees can still earn above the $1500 threshold, and this difference will need to be made up by the employer.
For example, if you have an employee that earns a base rate of $25 an hour, scheduling them for 60 regular hours across two weeks of the roster (or less) would mean that you would not need to supplement the subsidy.
If that same employee was scheduled to work some of those hours across days that would qualify them for penalty rates, overtime, or other allowances, the business would need to top up the rest of their earnings above the $1500.
With COVID-19 creating a big shift in consumer behaviour, many businesses have been quick to pivot how their business operates, and even the products they sell.
We have spoken with customers that have turned restaurants into fresh produce stores, gin distillery and cellar doors into hand sanitiser manufacturing, and dine in venues to takeaway and delivery services.
This innovative approach in adapting to the pandemic, has allowed employees whose roles would no longer exist to move into meaningful work in new areas of the businesses.
If you are redeploying team members into new roles under the JobKeeper scheme, it is still the employers responsibility to make a fair assessment as to whether the employee has the adequate skill level and training to perform this role.
Importantly, as employees are redeployed into different roles this may also change how they are categorised under Fair Work industry Awards, entitling them to different rates of pay, allowances and working conditions.
For example, if you have an employee that previously worked as a waiter who removes food and clears tables, she would previously be paid as a food and beverage attendant (Level 1) under the Hospitality Award.
As your business has now pivoted to doing only takeaways and deliveries, the employee’s role now includes delivering food to customers, which would classify them as a food and beverage attendant (Level 2) for performing higher duties.
Reactivating the business as soon as possible
Unfortunately for many businesses, remaining open and trading in any capacity throughout this crisis is simply not an option.
Where the JobKeeper payment seeks to assist in this regard is through keeping employees connected with their employer even if they are unable to work, giving businesses a better chance at bouncing back quickly as soon as they are able to resume operations.
For businesses in this position, this would be a great time to work with your team on understanding how they may be able to up-skill remotely, or engage in other meaningful pursuits that will help keep them focussed and positive throughout this difficult time.
There are many fantastic resources available online that can assist with this, some that we would recommend include:
The Black Dog Institute: Take one of their free, accredited online training modules for improved mental health in the workplace and beyond.
Canva: Become a digital design pro through getting started with a free Canva account, and moving through their online learning tutorials.
LinkedIn Learning: With a one month free trial, individuals can access a personalised learning experience with real professionals from their field of interest
As always, if you need help with any of the above, our 24/7 support team is here to help.