A new $130 billion stimulus package will subsidise the wages of Australian businesses that have been negatively impacted by Covid-19.

Designed to allow businesses to keep people employed, the new JobKeeper Payment will provide up to $1500 a fortnight per employee to affected businesses.

Importantly, whether you access this subsidy or not, your superannuation obligations have not changed. Though, there are some circumstances were the amount of super you pay an eligible employee could change.

Eligibility for employers and employees

The government has set a number of eligibility criteria for businesses to access these payments. They apply to both the employer an employee.

Employers will be eligible for the subsidy if:

  • 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); or
  • 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); and
  • your business is not subject to the Major Bank Levy.

Not-for-profits and sole traders are eligible for the JobKeeper Payment (if they meet all other eligibility criteria).

To find out more about employer eligibility, visit the Australian Government website.

As an employer, it’s important to note that only some of your employees may be eligible for you to receive this payment.

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, 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
  • are not in receipt of a JobKeeper Payment from another employer.

To find out more about employee eligibility, visit the Australian Government website.

The payment process and a superannuation options

If you are found to be an eligible employer, you will be paid $1,500 per fortnight per eligible employee. Eligible employees must receive, at a minimum, $1,500 per fortnight, before tax, and employers are able to top-up the payment.

This leads, in some special cases, to a choice in the amount of super you could pay to an employee.

If you have an employee that ordinarily receives less than $1,500 in income per fortnight before tax, and you receive the $1500 JobKeeper Payment for this employee, you must pay the employee, at a minimum, $1,500 per fortnight, before tax. But, you can decide if you want to pay superannuation on any additional wages paid because of the JobKeeper Payment.

The JobKeeper subsidy will start on 30 March 2020, with the first payments to be received by employers in the first week of May.

For more information on how the payment process works, visit the Australian Government website.

How to apply for the JobKeeper Payment

You can register your interest for the JobKeeper scheme through the ATO here, from there you will need to fill in an online form and identify employees you believe to be eligible.

You can find more details here for both employers with employees and those without (like sole-traders) here.

If you have any super related questions during this time, please reach out to our employer relations team via phone (02 4298 6013) or email (employers@firststatesuper.com.au).