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ATO answers your JobKeeper, JobMaker questions

Maja Garaca Djurdjevic
Maja Garaca Djurdjevic
16 December 2020 6 minute readShare

Last week, MyBusiness hosted a special webcast, bringing together the ATO and the ASBFEO to talk JobKeeper extension, JobMaker and other support measures available to SMEs as we head into 2021.

MyBusiness was joined by ATO Deputy Commissioner James O’Halloran and Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman Kate Carnell to wrap up 2020 and share what you need to know to be ready for the year ahead.

As promised, MyBusiness brings you the ATO’s answers to the most burning audience questions we received during the 60-minute show.

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To revisit the webcast for free, click here.

JobMaker is a new scheme — tell us about this and how businesses can register, how do employees qualify? 

 

The JobMaker Hiring Credit scheme is an incentive for businesses to employ additional young jobseekers aged between 16 and 35 years. A business may receive up to $200 per week for each eligible additional employee aged 16 to 29 years, and up to $100 per week for each eligible additional employee aged 30 to 35 years.

Employers can register at any time until the program closes, and only need to register once. Your registered tax or BAS agent can do this for you. Or you can log into ATO online services or the Business Portal. You can then view the COVID-19 screen and select “JobMaker Hiring Credit”, then “Register”.

You’ll need to provide baseline figures for your total employee headcount as of 30 September 2020, and your total payroll for pay cycles that ended in the three months up to and including 6 October 2020. Either or both of your baseline values can be zero — for instance, if your business is new or had no employees at 30 September 2020. You’ll also need to provide contact details for yourself, or a third party such as your registered tax or BAS agent.

Employers can then claim the JobMaker Hiring Credit every three months in arrears, from 1 February 2021.

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When will they receive the first JobMaker Hiring Credit?

The first JobMaker period goes from 7 October 2020 to 6 January 2021. Employers have three months to claim payments relating to this period, from 1 February 2021 to 30 April 2021.

Can they receive the JobKeeper payment and JobMaker Hiring Credit at the same time?            

An employer cannot receive the JobKeeper payment and JobMaker Hiring Credit at the same time. More specifically, they can’t have claimed a JobKeeper payment for a JobKeeper fortnight that started during the JobMaker period.

Can they receive the JobMaker Hiring Credit for any existing employees?

An employer cannot receive the JobMaker Hiring Credit for existing employees. To be eligible for the JobMaker Hiring Credit, the employer’s total employee headcount must increase compared to the reference date of 30 September 2020.

What happens if someone on your team resigns, through no fault of the business?

If an employee resigns, the employer’s total employee headcount will be reduced by one. In this case, the employer will only be eligible for the JobMaker Hiring Credit if they have taken on at least two eligible employees:

  • one to account for the employee who has resigned, and
  • one to increase the employer’s headcount above their baseline.

A business did not have employees in September. They hired their first employee in November. Can they claim JobMaker for this employee?

Provided all other eligibility criteria are met (including those just discussed about the employee themselves), the employer will be able to claim the JobMaker Hiring Credit for this employee. Under the draft rules, an employer couldn’t claim JobMaker for their first employee. However, this was changed in the rules which were registered.

If a business doesn’t hire new staff until January 2021, can they claim JobMaker for 12 months or only up to 6 October 2021?

Where all eligibility criteria are met, an employer can claim the JobMaker Hiring Credit for up to 12 months from an eligible employee’s start date. In this case, the business would be able to claim JobMaker until January 2022.

How does maternity leave affect JobKeeper?

An employer can claim JobKeeper for an employee who is on maternity leave, provided that employee meets the eligible employee requirements and the employer has met the wage condition for that employee. An employee on maternity leave will not be an eligible employee for fortnights where they are receiving government paid parental leave (s9[4][a]) or dad and partner pay (s9[4][b]). An employer will be entitled to the tier 1 rate for their employee if they satisfy the 80-hour threshold test (from 4 January $1,000). If not entitled to tier 1, the employer will be entitled to the tier 2 rate ($650) for the employee.

If the employee was on employer paid leave (including employer paid maternity leave) during the 28-day reference period used to calculate the payment rate, the hours of leave are counted towards the 80-hour threshold.

It does not matter if your eligible employee takes their leave at full pay or half pay, or through a purchased leave arrangement. You still count the total number of hours covered by the leave taken. For example, if your employee takes eight hours of annual leave at half pay, you count eight hours towards their 80-hour threshold, not four hours.

If the employee is on unpaid leave from their employment with you (even if they receive non-employer paid parental leave such as the government’s parental leave pay), that leave is not counted towards the 80-hour threshold during the 28-day reference period. An alternative reference period may apply where, as a result of the unpaid leave, the employee does not satisfy the 80-hour test to be a tier 1 employee.

If a business can meet the 30 per cent decline in turnover on a cash basis but the GST registration was on an accrual basis, can the business still be eligible for JobKeeper 2.0?

No. For the JobKeeper extension periods, an entity must apply the actual turnover test using the accounting method that they ordinarily use for their GST reporting purposes. This is made clear on the ATO website here.

If with JobKeeper extension 1 you qualified for the tier 2 payment and you re-qualify again in January, can you change to tier 1?

No. An employer does not retest whether their eligible employee is eligible for a tier 1 or tier 2 payment. The 80-hour test to work out whether the tier 1 payment is available is based on a 28-day reference period that finishes on the last day of a pay cycle that ended before either 1 March 2020 or 1 July 2020 (unless an alternative reference period applies).

You can find more information about the 80-hour test here.

So if we qualified for JobKeeper 1 but not JobKeeper 2, if we qualify for 3, do we need to re-enrol or just activate?

If you were not eligible for JobKeeper extension 1 but qualify for JobKeeper extension 2, you do not need to re-enrol. You will need to submit the “check your decline in turnover” form for the December 2020 quarter, and then lodge your monthly declarations for January to March 2021. Refer to the ATO website guidance on the actual decline in turnover here.   

Is a departured employee who received JobKeeper payments from previous employer entitled to JobKeeper payments with the new employer?

Employees who are no longer employed by the entity that they first provided their nomination form to may be able to renominate with a new employer but only in limited circumstances, and only from fortnights starting on or after 3 August 2020.

The conditions that need to be met are set out on the ATO website here. Some key requirements are that the employee is an eligible employee of the new employer on the 1 July 2020 testing date, that at the time they agreed to be nominated by the new employer they were no longer employed as an employee of the first entity that nominated them for JobKeeper.

Can a business claim JobMaker for a new employee after JobKeeper finishes in March?

Employers cannot receive JobMaker Hiring Credits if they also receive a JobKeeper payment for a fortnight which started during the JobMaker period. Employers who are receiving JobKeeper payments and would like to claim for the first JobMaker period must not claim JobKeeper payments for the JobKeeper fortnight starting on or after 12 October 2020. If the employer did not receive a JobKeeper payment for a fortnight which started during the JobMaker period and they meet the other eligibility criteria (and the employee meets the eligibility criteria) then the business can claim the JobMaker Hiring Credit.

Please see www.ato.gov.au/jobmakerhiringcredit for further information.

Are we able to register for JobMaker once we know about our ineligibility for Jobkeeper? Is there a deadline for the registration period?

Employers can register for the JobMaker Hiring Credit scheme from 6 December 2020, even if they are still eligible for JobKeeper. The important aspect is that an employer cannot claim a JobMaker Hiring Credit if the employer has received a JobKeeper payment for a fortnight which started during the JobMaker period.

Employers can register at any time until the program closes and only need to register once. However, when the employer registers may impact the JobMaker period they can claim for (please see the table below).

Period

Period dates

Registration due date

Period 1

7 October 2020 to 6 January 2021

30 April 2021

Period 2

7 January 2021 to 6 April 2021

31 July 2021

Period 3

7 April 2021 to 6 July 2021

31 October 2021

Period 4

7 July 2021 to 6 October 2021

31 January 2022

Period 5

7 October 2021 to 6 January 2022

30 April 2022

Period 6

7 January 2022 to 6 April 2022

31 July 2022

Period 7

7 April 2022 to 6 July 2022

31 October 2022

Period 8

7 July 2022 to 6 October 2022

31 January 2023

ATO answers your JobKeeper, JobMaker questions
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Maja Garaca Djurdjevic
Maja Garaca Djurdjevic

Maja Garaca Djurdjevic is the editor of My Business. 

Maja has a decade-long career in journalism across finance, business and politics. Now a well-versed reporter in the SME and accounting arena, prior to joining Momentum Media, Maja reported for several established news outlets in Southeast Europe, scrutinising key processes in post-conflict societies and enabling citizens to influence decision-making.

You can email Maja on [email protected] 

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