JobKeeper Q&A - Part 3

Are employees who have returned from maternity leave eligible for JobKeeper assistance, even if there is no actual work for the employee to do?

Yes, provided they meet the “eligible employees” tests. Also note that employees who are currently on maternity leave with paid parental leave from their employer are also eligible for JobKeeper assistance. However if the employee receives paid parental leave or dad and partner pay under the Paid Parental Leave Act 2010 and the person’s paid parental leave period overlaps with or includes a fortnight in respect of which a JobKeeper payment may be paid, the person is not an eligible employee for JobKeeper for that fortnight.

Is an employee who has been with the company for more than 3 years and works 3 hours a week or 6 hours a fortnight eligible for JobKeeper assistance?

Yes, provided they meet the “eligible employees” tests and their hours per week/fortnight are “regular and systematic”. While these terms are not defined, the Explanatory Statement to the Rules states: A casual employee is likely to be employed on a regular and systematic basis where the employee has a recurring work schedule or a reasonable expectation of ongoing work.

Is a casual employee who has been with the organisation more than one year, but opted not to work due to COVID-19, eligible for JobKeeker assistance?"

If the employee’s decision not to work meant that they had terminated their employment: No Only a person who has been stood down or is on leave is considered to be an employee of their employer for the purposes of the JobKeeper payment. However, if the employee was on an approved absence from the organisation due to their concern about contracting COVID-19, but were still an employee of the organisation as at 1 March 2020 and satisfied the other “eligible employees” tests then: Yes

Is a sole trader with no employees eligible for JobSeeker, JobKeeper and the Cash Flow Boost?

JobSeeker: Yes, but not if the employee is receiving JobKeeper payments.
Previously if a sole trader was trying to access income support payments they had to be willing to seek, and be available to take up, alternative work which effectively would have required them to close their business. These mutual obligation requirements will be temporarily removed to allow sole traders to continue operating and receive the JobSeeker Payment if they are eligible to do so. A sole trader who is eligible for a payment can meet their mutual obligation requirements during this period by continuing to sustain their business. Income testing will apply consistent with current arrangements. So the level of support a sole trader will receive will depend on their ongoing income and that of their partner, if they are in a relationship.

JobKeeper: Yes
An “eligible business participant” who is involved in the daily running of the business can be nominated to receive JobKeeper assistance provided they meet the eligibility criteria. However please note:

  • Only one person can be nominated;
  • if a sole trader starts to receive the JobKeeper Payment they will need to notify Services Australia as this will impact their eligibility to JobSeeker assistance.

Cash Flow Boost: No
The cash flow boost assistance is only available to businesses with employees.

How will an employer who does not have STP apply for JobKeeper assistance?

The ATO will be accepting applications for JobKeeper assistance from Monday, 20th April 2020. There is information on the ATO’s website as to the steps to be taken once applications open.

If a subcontractor satisfies the definition of employee but invoices for his services, can a business apply for JobKeeper assistance for that subcontractor?

If the subcontractor meets the “eligible employee” tests then the business can apply for JobKeeper assistance for the subcontractor. However if the subcontractor is invoicing for his services rather than receiving salary and wages, there should be an analysis as to whether the subcontractor is indeed an employee. There is no definition of “employee” for the purposes of the JobKeeper rules, therefore the term will take its ordinary, common law meaning.

If my company earned $5,000 in April 2019 but in April 2020, it has zero income, is my decline in turnover 30% or more?

Yes, on its face, the decline in turnover is 100%. However, the JobKeeper rules use the GST concepts of “projected GST turnover” and “current GST turnover”. You will need to satisfy yourself that the amounts you are referring to in your question satisfy these definitions. You should take note of the comments that are made in the ATO document entitled “Applying the turnover test” (QC 62132).

If a business does not satisfy the decline in turnover test at the start of the JobKeeper scheme, but does satisfy the test in a later test period, can the business apply for JobKeeper assistance from that later period?

Yes, if an entity does not qualify for, say, the month of April 2020 because its turnover has not been sufficiently affected, it can test in later months to determine if the test is met. This allows entities that only become affected part way through the six month period of operation of the JobKeeper scheme to continue to monitor for any decline in turnover until they qualify for the scheme in a later period. Also, if the business does not think it will have a sufficient decline in turnover for the month of April 2020, it can also undertake the test in relation to the June 2020 quarter. This can be done whether the business lodges its activity statements on a monthly or quarterly basis.

Once an entity satisfies the decline in turnover test does it need to retest its turnover in later months?


If a casual reaches 12 months service in April, can they qualify for the Job Keeper then?

No, the employee must meet the “eligible employee” tests as at 1 March 2020.

COVID-19 Essentials