Job Keeper 101: My experience now that it’s live

If you’re a small business owner, chances are you’ve been hanging out to hear how the Australian government’s Job Keeper program is going to work.


I’m one of the 900,000 business owners who is signing up to the program, which provides $1500 per employee, per-fortnight in relief to businesses that can show they have experienced at least 30 per cent reduction in revenue due to the COVID-19 pandemic.


With every employer in the country seeking the same information at the moment, the on-hold times at the ATO are astronomical – I spent over four hours on hold! My advice? Don’t call!


The good news is, the process for applying is done very simply through the business portal on MyGov, which allows you to apply for the Job Keeper payments for your employees and start getting some financial relief flowing.


There is still a lot of information and developments to come out as the payment is rolled out, and more information will come to light as this process continues.


For example, as it currently stands, a business that operates as a partnership can only apply for one partner, something that will need to be overhauled, and I believe will be overhauled eventually.


Another factor to consider is that on my reading of this, within the $1500 Job Keeper payment there must be tax paid, and superannuation must also be included. Stay tuned for clarity on this.


One thing that employers must also be wary of is they cannot direct employees to work more hours in order to ensure they get up the $1500 threshold. As a result, some employees may even see a pay rise out of this, which is an anomaly in the system as it currently stands.


There’s an unprecedented number of people needing this package, and the government is trying to put this assistance in place as quickly as they can, so there was always going to be some teething problems, but the important thing is that relief is on the way for employees and employers.