What is the "JobKeeper" Allowance and who can apply?


For a full list of Government Packages and other COVID-19 assistance, please click here

In summary:

  • Up to $1500 a fortnight will be paid to employers to help pay employee wages while the business is put into 'hibernation'.
  • Businesses will be eligible if their revenue had dropped by 30% or more since the crisis hit.
  • The payment will be available to full-time and part-time workers, sole traders, and casuals who have been with their employer for 12 months or more.
  • New Zealanders are eligible for the payment.
  • Payments will start flowing into accounts from first week of May, they will be backdated to 1 March.
  • Employees who may have lost their jobs or been laid off already will be able to access the payment if they were still employed as of 1 March. 

Who is eligible?

Employers will be eligible for the subsidy if:

  • Their business has a turnover of less than $1 billion and their turnover will be reduced by more than 30% relative to a comparable period a year ago (of at least a month); 

OR

  • Their business has a turnover of $1 billion or more and their turnover will be reduced by more than 50% relative to a comparable period a year ago (of at least a month);

AND

  • The business is not subject to the Major Bank Levy.

The employer must have been in an employment relationship with eligible employees as at 1 March 2020, and confirm that each eligible employee is currently engaged in order to receive JobKeeper Payments.

Not-for-profit entities (including charities) and self-employed individuals (businesses without employees) that meet the turnover tests that apply for businesses are eligible to apply for JobKeeper Payments.


Eligible employees are employees who:

  • Are currently employed by the eligible employer (including those stood down or re-hired);
  • Were employed by the employer at 1 March 2020;
  • Are full-time, part-time, or long-term casuals (a casual employed on a regular basis for longer than 12 months as at 1 March 2020); 
  • Are at least 16 years of age;
  • Are an Australian citizen, or alternatively: the holder of a permanent visa, a Protected Special Category Visa Holder, a non-protected Special Category Visa Holder who has been residing continually in Australia for 10 years or more, or a Special Category (Subclass 444) Visa Holder; and
  • Are not in receipt of a JobKeeper Payment from another employer.

If your employees receive the JobKeeper Payment, this may affect their eligibility for payments from Services Australia as they must report their JobKeeper Payment as income.


On the 24 April 2020, the Treasury released a statement further clarifying who is and isn't eligible for JobKeeper payments. 

This update included full time students and religious workers. Click here for the full statement. 

Employer Obligations

To receive the JobKeeper Payment, employers must:

  • Register an intention to apply on the ATO website and assess that they have or will experience the required turnover decline.
  • Provide information to the ATO on eligible employees. This includes information on the number of eligible employees engaged as at 1 March 2020 and those currently employed by the business (including those stood down or rehired). For most businesses, the ATO will use Single Touch Payroll data to pre-populate the employee details for the business.
  • Ensure that each eligible employee receives at least $1,500 per fortnight (before tax). For employees that were already receiving this amount from the employer then their income will not change. For employees that have been receiving less than this amount, the employer will need to top up the payment to the employee up to $1,500, before tax. And for those employees earning more than this amount, the employer is able to provide them with a top-up.
  • Notify all eligible employees that they are receiving the JobKeeper Payment.
  • Continue to provide information to the ATO on a monthly basis, including the number of eligible employees employed by the business.

Employee Obligations

Employees will receive a notification from their employer that they are receiving the JobKeeper Payment. The majority of employees will need to do nothing further, however employees in the following circumstances will have additional obligations:

  • Employees that have multiple employers must notify the employer that is their primary employer.
  • Employees that are not Australian citizens must notify their employer of their visa status, to allow their employer to determine if they are an eligible employee.
  • Employees that are currently in receipt of an income support payment must notify Services Australia of their new income.

Application Process

Firstly - we recommend you talk to your accountant or adviser to assist you with the registration process and calculations.

Businesses with Employees

Initially, employers can register their interest in applying for the JobKeeper Payment via ato.gov.au from 30 March 2020.

Subsequently, eligible employers will be able to apply for the scheme by means of an online application.

The first payment will be received by employers from the ATO in the first week of May. Eligible employers will need to identify eligible employees for JobKeeper Payments and must provide monthly updates to the ATO.

Participating employers will be required to ensure eligible employees will receive, at a minimum, $1,500 per fortnight, before tax. It will be up to the employer if they want to pay superannuation on any additional wage paid because of the JobKeeper Payment.

Further details for businesses for employees will be provided on the ATO website. .


Businesses without Employees

Businesses without employees, such as the self-employed, can register their interest in applying for JobKeeper Payment via ato.gov.au from 30 March 2020.

Businesses without employees will need to provide an ABN for their business, nominate an individual to receive the payment and provide that individual’s Tax File Number and provide a declaration as to recent business activity.

People who are self-employed will need to provide a monthly update to the ATO to declare their continued eligibility for the payments. Payment will be made monthly to the individual’s bank account.

Further details for the self-employed will be provided on the ATO website


If you want to manage the process yourself, you must:

1. Register

Applications are not yet open. However, you should register your intent to apply for the JobKeeper subsidy with the ATO.  The ATO will provide you with regular updates and advise you when you can lodge your application.

Register Interest


2. Assess Turnover

  • Ensure you have an accurate record of your revenue for the 2018-19 income year and for the 2019-20 year to date
  • Ensure you keep an accurate record of revenue from March 2020 onwards
  • Compare your revenue for the whole of March 2019 with the whole of March 2020
  • Measure the % decline in your revenue and ensure it has declined by more than 30%
  • If you are not eligible in March, you may become eligible in another month

3. Identify eligible employees

  • Nominate the employees eligible for the JobKeeper payments – you will need to provide this information to the ATO and keep that information up to date each month. The ATO will use Single Touch Payroll to prepopulate the information in most cases.
  • Notify all eligible employees that they are receiving a JobKeeper payment. Employees can only be registered with one employer.
  • Pay eligible employees at least $1,500 per fortnight (before tax). If an employee normally receives $1,500 or more per fortnight before tax the employee should continue to receive their regular income. Note: It is unclear at this stage if the employer must continue to pay their employee the same salary if it was more than the subsidy amount.
  • Pay superannuation guarantee on normal salary and wages amounts paid to employees. If the employee normally receives less than $1,500 per fortnight before tax, the employer can decide whether to pay superannuation on the additional amount that is paid as a result of the JobKeeper program.

How the support is calculated

The ATO will administer this program and will make the $1,500 payments based on payroll information. The payments will be made monthly in arrears, so it is essential that you ensure your business and your employees continually meet the eligibility criteria.

The business will continue to receive the payments for eligible employees while they are eligible for the payments. While the program is expected to run for six months, payments will stop if the employee is no longer employed by the relevant employer.


For further information and examples, please see the following Fact Sheets from The Treasury:



Source: https://treasury.gov.au/