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The JobKeeper initiative has seen the ATO pay a subsidy of $1,500 per fortnight per eligible employee to businesses (in arrears) that have experienced a downturn of 30% or more (50% for businesses with turnover of $1bn or more; and 15% threshold for ACNC-registered charities). The purpose of the scheme is to keep workers employed and ensure there is a viable workforce on the other side of the pandemic.

At present, JobKeeper is set to continue until 27 September 2020, and requires businesses to meet the decline in turnover test just once. If the eligibility criteria were met at the time of applying for JobKeeper, a business can continue claiming the subsidy assuming the other eligibility criteria for them and the individual employees, are met.

It is imperative that payments of at least $1,500 is made to eligible employees each JobKeeper fortnight – see below for these dates – and that each month you submit an income declaration.

There is talk that the eligibility to the subsidy will change over time as the regulators gain a clearer insight into the impact of the pandemic – but the ATO have not released any guidance on this to date.

If your business did not initially qualify for JobKeeper, you can apply to start JobKeeper payments when you meet the eligibility criteria. Not every industry will experience the economic impact of the pandemic in the same way. Some will experience a greater decline in later months.

Making JobKeeper payments on time

To be eligible for JobKeeper payments, staff must be paid at least $1,500 during each JobKeeper fortnight. If you pay employees less frequently than fortnightly, the payment can be allocated between fortnights in a reasonable manner. For example, if you pay your employees on a monthly pay cycle, your employees must have received the monthly equivalent of $1,500 per fortnight.

The JobKeeper fortnights are:

Fortnight Date range Date must be paid by
1 30/03/2020 – 12/04/2020 8 May 2020
2 13/04/2020 – 26/04/2020 8 May 2020
3 27/04/2020 – 10/05/2020 10 May 2020
4 11/05/2020 – 24/05/2020 24 May 2020
5 25/05/2020 – 07/06/2020 7 June 2020
6 08/06/2020 – 21/06/2020 21 June 2020
7 22/06/2020 – 05/07/2020 5 July 2020
8 06/07/2020 – 19/07/2020 19 July 2020
9 20/07/2020 – 02/08/2020 2 August 2020
10 03/08/2020 – 16/08/2020 16 August 2020
11 17/08/2020 – 30/08/2020 30 August 2020
12 31/08/2020 – 13/09/2020 13 September 2020
13 14/09/2020 – 27/09/2020 27 September 2020