Institute of Certified Bookkeepers

JobKeeper 1 ended as of 27th September

JobKeeper 1 (JK 1) started as of 30th March and there were 13 JK fortnights in the first iteration of the Scheme.

The government guidance about the scheme was provided by the ATO.

Your Obligation

An employer should have paid 13 fortnights of $1,500 or more to each eligible employee.

This is what you should now confirm!

Detail

How much you should pay employees

An employer must meet the Wage Condition, declared to the ATO in order to claim the payment of the subsidy to the employer:

“You must pay at least the JobKeeper amount (gross salary inclusive of PAYG Withholding) to each eligible employee in each fortnight to claim the JobKeeper payment for that fortnight.”

“You do not need to adjust your pay cycle through your existing payroll solution.”

“If you usually pay your employees less frequently than fortnightly, the payment can be allocated between fortnights in a reasonable manner.”

“if you usually pay your employees monthly, the payment can be allocated between fortnights in a reasonable manner.”

Payments for top-ups to employees for JK FN #1 & #2 should be paid by 8th May 2021.

The components of payroll that were allowed to be included in the calculation of the Wage Condition, and those that were not (notable lump sum A, B, D, E were excluded) are outlined by the ATO.

The minimum payment for JK 1 was $1,500 per fortnight or greater for work performed.

ATO Web – Paying Employees

ATO material and narrative has always been about paying the amount of $1,500 per fortnight in each JobKeeper fortnight.

What does Fair Work say?

The Fair Work Act was amended to include Section 789GDA which requires an employer to meet the Minimum Payment Guarantee.

The Fair Work Ombudsman website explains it as:

An employer who is receiving JK payments for an employee, needs to pay the employee the higher of the following amounts, each fortnight:

  • the amount of the applicable JK payment, or
  • their usual pay for work performed (including any paid leave or public holiday pay).

In theory this may be the same as described by the ATO.

The Qantas case (yet to be considered and explained by Government and Fair Work) and other matters are considering the full impact of the differences between the ATO Wage Condition and the Fair Work Minimum Payment Guarantee.

Were you compliant?

Let’s keep it simple (at least until Government clarifies)

Did the employer pay to each eligible employee for 13 fortnights, an amount of $1,500 or more?

If the employer is no longer on JobKeeper, then ensure they received at least $1,500 in or for the fortnight ended 27th September and commence paying them for time worked as from 28th September.

If eligible for JK 2, then pay them at least $1,200 for tier 1 employees and $750 for tier 2 employees in the JK FN starting September 28th.

If the employer is not yet sure they are eligible or what tier each employee is eligible for, the ATO has allowed payments to be made as late as 31st October 2020.

If the Fair Work Ombudsman asks

Ensure that the inspector considers the following:

  • Employers were instructed by the ATO detail on behalf of the government announcements as to how to pay and how to calculate the top-up up.
  • Accordingly, the pay records and the calculation of the top-up reflected on payslips will be in accordance with following that guidance.
  • Payslips for amounts paid in the first JK FN will reflect the amount being paid for work during the relevant pay period (which will most likely include time before JK commenced) and then, where required, a top-up amount to bring that payment up to $1500.
  • It should be noted that based on the current Section 789GDA interpretation that top-up amount will in effect have been calculated brining in amounts that Section 789GDA would not include.
  • The top-up included in that first payslip may need to be attributed by FWO as an amount in advance, to be used in future calculations and not limited to the description on the payslip. It will be observed that it was NOT a payment that needed to be made for the periods before JK commenced (based on 789GDA interpretation).
  • We recommend an appropriate process for any such review is to now review the payments that cover the entire 13 fortnights (or less if employment ceased or late enrolment into JK). Review whether the employee was paid the greater of $1,500 or amount for work performed in respect of the 13 JK Fortnights.
  • That review should not limit itself to the descriptions / attributions on the payslip.

Resources

ICB provides guidance and “How To” guides, available at:

  • Updated: 26th October 2020
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