Jobkeeper payment FAQ

May 19, 2020 News

Given the Coronavirus has had a devastating impact on the retail and fast food industries, the Union and the ACTU called on the Federal Government to provide wage subsidies for SDA and other union members to save incomes and jobs.

The Federal Government has now passed legislation for the JobKeeper Payment which is a wage subsidy for employers and employees who have been negatively impacted as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

What is the difference between the JobSeeker and the JobKeeper payment?

The JobSeeker payment is for those who have lost their jobs and are no longer employed whilst the JobKeeper payment is a wage subsidy provided to employers impacted by the coronavirus to pay employees’ wages to keep them employed during this period. The payment will be paid to employers via the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) to pass on to employees.

Is my employer eligible for JobKeeper?

For an employer to be eligible, they must apply for the scheme and meet certain criteria.

When will I know if my employer is eligible?

Your employer must notify you if they have elected to participate in the JobKeeper scheme. Employees will be asked to fill out a form nominating to participate in the JobKeeper scheme which you will need to sign and return to your employer in order to receive JobKeeper payments.

If my employer is eligible, how do I know if I am eligible?

The form from the ATO that your employer gives you describes who is eligible to receive the $1,500 per fortnight. Generally, to receive the $1,500 per fortnight you must satisfy the following requirements:

  • Employed by your employer on 1 March 2020;
  • are a full-time or part-time employee; or
  • are a casual employed on a regular and systematic basis for longer than 12 months as at 1 March 2020; and
  • are aged 16 years or older at 1 March 2020 with the exception of full-time students who are 17 years old and younger and who are not financially independent; and
  • are Australian citizens, the holder of a permanent visa, or a Special Category (Subclass 444) Visa Holder at 1 March 2020

Will I receive the full $1,500 per fortnight?

  • If you are eligible for the JobKeeper payment you will receive the full $1,500 per fortnight. It is a flat rate regardless of whether you are a full-time, part-time or casual employee.
  • If you have been stood down or your wage is less than $1500 per fortnight, you will receive at least $1500 per fortnight (before tax) in payment.
  • If you are still working, your employer must pay you the higher of $1500 per fortnight before tax or your normal pay for the hours you are actually working (before tax).

What if my employer doesn’t pass on the payments to me?

If you are eligible to receive the JobKeeper payments, your employer is legally required to pay them to you. Contact the SDA for advice if this happens to you.

Will superannuation be paid on JobKeeper payments?

Superannuation will only be paid on hours worked. If you are receiving JobKeeper payments but are not working any hours then you will not receive superannuation contributions.

Can I be instructed to do different work under JobKeeper?

Yes, for a temporary period. An employer participating in the Job Keeper scheme can direct you to perform different duties if this is reasonable and necessary to save jobs.

Can I be forced to take leave under JobKeeper?

If you work for an employer participating in the JobKeeper scheme, you may be asked by your employer to agree to take some annual leave, as long as you will not be left with a balance of less than two weeks of annual leave. You must consider the request and can only refuse if you have reasonable grounds to do so.

You cannot be required to take your Long Service Leave.

Can my hours be cut under JobKeeper?

Yes, for a temporary period. An employer participating in the JobKeeper scheme can direct you to work reduced hours (or no hours) because of changes to business due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the directive is reasonable.

Please remember that if you are unsure about JobKeeper or any other issue, please ring or email the union office.