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$130 billion JobKeeper payment scheme

Update 22 April 2020


Employers can only claim the JobKeeper payment on behalf of employees who were paid at least $1,500 (before tax) for each fortnight claimed for during the JobKeeper payment period.

You should pay your employees for each JobKeeper fortnight you plan to claim for. The first fortnight is from 30 March – 12 April and each JobKeeper fortnight follows after that. The JobKeeper payment cannot be claimed in advance in any circumstances. The JobKeeper payment is a reimbursement from the ATO to an employer in arrears.

The only exception being allowed is in respect of the first two fortnights where the ATO will accept a payment made by the end of April covering those two periods will count. Otherwise, an employer risks being held ineligible for the subsidy altogether – in that instance the ATO will reclaim any payments it has made to the employer, plus interest and penalties.

Employees who have been stood down from work under the Fair Work Act 2009 without pay may still be eligible employees as long as they were in their employment and met the eligibility criteria on 1 March 2020. Employers will need to have paid them at least the minimum amount of $1,500 for each fortnight claimed for, to receive the JobKeeper payment.

Learn more

Update 17 April 2020

The Government’s $130 billion JobKeeper Payment legislation passed on Wednesday 8 April with support from both sides of Parliament.

The Government has changed the Fair Work Act for employers and employees who have qualified and accessed the JobKeeper wage subsidiary. The new laws override all modern awards, enterprise agreements or employment contracts. To help our members navigate these dramatic changes, MEA has developed a guidance document:

View the COVID-19 JobKeeper Subsidy and Fair Work Act Amendments

On Monday 30 March, the Federal Government announced details of a new $130 billion JobKeeper payment to keep Australians in jobs.

In this third economic stimulus package, the Government will provide a wage subsidy to around six million workers who will receive a flat payment of $1,500 per fortnight through their employer, before tax.

Eligible employers will be able to claim the fortnightly payment of $1,500 (equivalent of 70% of the national median wage) per eligible employee from 30 March, for a maximum of six months.


Eligible employers must show their turnover has been reduced by more than 30%. 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.

Eligible employees are those 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 (over 12 months)
  • 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 and 444 Visa Holders
  • are not in receipt of a JobKeeper Payment from another employer.

Accessing the JobKeeper payment

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.
    Register here for the JobKeeper payment
  • 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.

Eligibility scenario

Mary Spark is a Sole Trader Electrical Contractor. In the period March 2020 she has seen a 30% reduction in turnover compared to March 2019. Mary registers on the ato.gov.au website for Jobkeeper subsidy. Mary then on a monthly period reports her turnover to prove her continued eligibility for the payment. The $1500 a fortnight flat payment is delivered into her bank account each month.

View the Treasury JobKeeper fact sheet for more details and scenarios.

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