The ATO has been charged with running the JobKeeper Payment scheme, which is intended to support businesses that are financially affected by COVID-19 to help keep their staff employed.

Your employer clients will be required to pay their eligible employees a minimum of $1,500 a fortnight, before tax, to claim the JobKeeper payment. This is then paid in arrears back to the employer each month by the ATO.

Note that if their staff had been earning more than this amount before tax, the business will need to make up the rest as the employer will still only get the $1,500. If they earned less, the employer will still be required to pay them $1,500. There is no “keep the difference” option in these cases, and not paying the full $1,500 cancels a business’s eligibility.

Payments are made each fortnight, with the first fortnight period being 30 March to 12 April. The run of fortnights is intended at present to end at 27 September. There is no need to adjust any payroll periods already adopted by the business, but the JobKeeper reimbursements will follow this fortnightly schedule.

Entitlement to JobKeeper reimbursements will usually pivot on a business’s payroll, but the ATO says the first two fortnights can be deemed as compliant as long as staff are paid the required amounts by the end of April.

All JobKeeper payments are assessable income of a business, and the normal rules on deductibility apply. The payments are not subject to GST. The ATO says it intends to change some aspects of the super guarantee rules to that there is no SG on additional payments to result from the scheme. Readmore