When the JobKeeper scheme was first presented, the criteria stated that the ATO would accept that the first two fortnights (30 March to 12 April, 13 April to 26 April) were paid, and therefore eligibility to the scheme would remain assured, if the actual wage payment (of at least two lots of $1,500) had been made by the end of April.
In guidance modified this week, the ATO has extended that wage payment deadline to 8 May (it was 30 April). The ATO notes that if an employer usually pays their employees less frequently than fortnightly, the payment can be allocated between fortnights in a reasonable manner. For example, if they pay employees on a monthly pay cycle, those employees must have received the monthly equivalent of $1,500 per fortnight.
The ATO has also extended the time to enrol for the initial JobKeeper periods, from 30 April to 31 May. If employers enrol by 31 May they will still be able to claim for the fortnights in April and May, provided they meet all the eligibility requirements for each of those fortnights. This includes having paid your employees by the appropriate date for each fortnight.
Tips for your employer clients
If eligible employees earn less than $1,500 (before tax) per fortnight, employers must pay them at least $1,500 for each fortnight to claim the JobKeeper payment. This is a “top up” of their salary or wages and will ensure they remain eligible.
A business cannot pay employees less than $1,500 per fortnight and keep the difference. Employers will not be eligible for the JobKeeper payment if they pay their nominated employee less than $1,500 (before tax) per fortnight.
If eligible employees earn more than $1,500 per fortnight, the employer should continue to pay them their regular salary or wages. However, employers will only receive $1,500 for each eligible employee. Any amount paid above $1,500 per fortnight is not subsidised by the JobKeeper payment.
If an employee was stood down after 1 March 2020, an employer can start paying them $1,500 per fortnight to qualify for the JobKeeper payment for that employee.
If an employee ceased working for a business after 1 March 2020, they can be re-engaged and paid at least $1,500 per fortnight. The employer will only be eligible to claim for the fortnights after they re-engaged the employee.
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