The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) has updated its JobKeeper guidance to reflect a frequently asked question concerning the employee nomination process: “Can employers choose who they claim Jobkeeper for?”
And according to the ATO, the answer is no.
“If you decide to participate in the JobKeeper payment scheme, you must nominate all your eligible employees,” the Tax Office clarified.
It explained that while employers cannot choose to nominate only some employees, individual eligible employees can choose not to participate.
“If your employees have multiple employers, they can usually choose which employer they want to nominate through.”
The ATO further noted that the design of the JobKeeper scheme is that all eligible employees are paid the minimum of $1500 per fortnight and that the employer claims for each of these employees.
"Employers are not meant to pick and choose between their eligible employees," the Tax Office added.
Speaking to My Business sister title Accountants Daily, TaxBanter senior tax trainer Robyn Jacobson, who sought the explicit clarification of the “one in, all in” feature from the ATO, said there will be certain implications for businesses.
“There will be implications as participating employers will not have a choice as to which employees they select to go into the scheme. They will be required to pay a minimum of $1,500 a fortnight upfront, and then they’ll be reimbursed by the ATO the following month,” Ms Jacobson said.
“This will have serious cash-flow applications and employers should carefully consider whether the JobKeeper scheme is the right choice for them.
“They may have a large, long-term casual workforce and they may earn less than $1,500 a fortnight, and to go into JobKeeper, they would need to top up those workers to $1,500 a fortnight and they would have to fund it in the meantime until they are reimbursed by the ATO.”
New provisions of the Fair Work Act provide that an employer who elects to participate in the JobKeeper scheme and would be entitled to a JobKeeper payment for a worker if they satisfied the wage condition, must pay the employee an amount of at least $1500 per fortnight.
Ms Jacobson said employers could find themselves liable for civil penalties under the Fair Work Act if they failed to meet these wage condition.
Section 789GD of the Fair Work Act notes that employers must ensure that the wage condition has been satisfied in respect of the employee by the end of the fortnight or face civil penalty amounting to 60 penalty units or 600 penalties units for serious contraventions, equating to $12,600 and $126,000, respectively, under the current $210 penalty unit value.