When is an employer eligible for JobKeeper?

An employer will only be eligible to receive a JobKeeper Payment in respect of an ‘eligible employee’ (refer below) if, at the time of applying:

  • for employers with an aggregated annual annual turnover of $1 billion or less – the employer estimates that their projected GST turnover has fallen (or is likely to fall) by 30% or more; or
  • for employers with an aggregated annual turnover of more than $1 billion – the employer estimates that their projected GST turnover has fallen (or is likely to fall) by 50% or more; and
  • the employer is not specifically excluded from the scheme (e.g., one that is subject to the Major Bank Levy, one that is in liquidation, ).

Where an employer is a charity registered with the Australian Charities and Not-for-profit Commission (‘ACNC’), the employer will be eligible for the JobKeeper Scheme if they estimate that their turnover has fallen, or is likely to fall, by 15% or more relative to a comparable period.

However, universities and non-government schools registered as charities, remain subject to the 30% or 50% decline in turnover tests, as outlined above.

PRACTICAL TIP – Gathering information on decline in turnover

One of the primary tests for determining whether a business qualifies for the JobKeeper Scheme and, hence JobKeeper Payments, is the decline in turnover test (outlined above).

Ultimately, it is up to each business to self-assess whether it satisfies this test. In most cases, businesses will be required to make a reasonable estimate of their turnover for a month or a quarter. To assist with this process, the ATO (according to Treasury) will be providing guidance in this regard shortly.

In the meantime, it would be prudent for businesses to start collating relevant information (e.g., interim accounts, monthly sales reports and prior year BASs) to get ready for comparison calculations.

Importantly, eligible employers must actually elect to participate in the JobKeeper Scheme via an application to the ATO. In making such an application, an employer will also need to:

  • Provide information to the ATO on all eligible employees (i.e., confirming the eligible employees were engaged as at 1 March 2020 and are currently employed by the business, including those who have been stood-down or re-hired). Treasury has indicated that for most businesses, the ATO will use Single Touch Payroll (‘STP’) to pre-populate these details.
  • Continue to provide information to the ATO on a monthly basis, including the number of eligible employees employed by the business and details of its turnover.

The ATO has available on its website an online form which can be used by employers to register their interest in the JobKeeper Payment Scheme.


PRACTICAL WARNING – Employers must register for the scheme

An employer can only be entitled to a JobKeeper Payment where they are registered under the JobKeeper Scheme before the end of any relevant JobKeeper Payment fortnight.

Notably, an exception applies for the first JobKeeper fortnight (which ended on 12 April 2020) whereby an employer is required to be registered by 26 April 2020 (rather than 12 April 2020). In other words, an employer has until the end of the second JobKeeper fortnight to register in respect of the first JobKeeper fortnight.

For example, in order to be eligible for a JobKeeper Payment in respect of the JobKeeper fortnight commencing 30 March 2020, the employer has until 26 April 2020 to register. Whereas for the JobKeeper fortnight commencing 11 May 2020, the employer must (if they are not already registered) register by 24 May 2020.





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