JobKeeper Q&A: we answer 12 questions from employees and employers


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The ATO has extended the deadline for JobKeeper applications until May 31 as employees and business owners around the country demand more information about who is eligible.

We've been inundated with questions over who can receive the $1500/fortnight payment, so we've teamed up with JobKeeper expert Mark Chapman from H&R Block to help give you some answers.

What employees are asking

coronavirus jobkeeper eligible

1. Is any employee casual or permanent eligible for JobKeeper?

If you are employed as a permanent employee, and were employed before March 1, 2020, you are eligible for the JobKeeper payment. If you were employed after March 1, 2020, as a permanent employee, you are not eligible.

If you are employed on casual basis, you will only be eligible for JobKeeper if you have been employed with the same employer for more than 12 months.

2. Am I entitled to JobKeeper when I am on maternity leave?

This depends on how you have been paid. If your maternity pay has been paid by your employer then yes you are. However, if you've been paid through a statutory payment by the government, then no, you are not.

3. Can my employer charge me for applying for JobKeeper?

No, they cannot. You are entitled to be paid the full JobKeeper amount without being charged. If your employer tries to charge you, you can contact Fair Work Australia.

4. If the business I've been working at has closed for the time being and I've been stood down, am I entitled to JobKeeper?

Yes, if you are still employed but you've been stood down then you are entitled to JobKeeper - but it's at the employer's discretion whether they wish to apply or not. Some employers may decide it's easier and cheaper to fire everyone and start hiring again when this is over.

5. If my partner is still working am I still eligible for a JobKeeper payment?

Yes, you are. For JobKeeper you only need to be eligible on your own terms - you don't need to take into account your partner's income or situation.  However, Centrelink will take into account your partner's income for the amount you are eligible to receive with JobSeeker.

6. Are you entitled to JobKeeper if you have two jobs?

You may only receive the JobKeeper payment from the employer you nominate as your primary employer. You are only eligible once, if you work two jobs you need to choose which one you need to claim JobKeeper through and then you need to inform your second employer to exclude you from their scheme.

7. Can an employer discriminate against some of their eligible employees by not nominating them for JobKeeper?

No, the JobKeeper scheme is a one in, all in scheme. Every single eligible employee needs to be included in the scheme. However, as the above example shows, if an employee is receiving JobKeeper from another employee they must be excluded. Temporary residents are also ineligible.

However, an employer can choose to exclude employees from the scheme by letting them go before they apply for JobKeeper. For example, if you have 10 staff but only want to keep five you can let them go and remove them from your books, but if you don't take them off your books you need to claim JobKeeper for all 10 staff.

What employers are asking

1. If I have employees who are earning less than $1500, do I have to pay them the full JobKeeper payment of $1500?

Yes, you do. The money is very much a payment by the government into a business to help them stay operational and keep people in jobs and so this payment by the government is designed to be paid directly to the employee.

2. Do I need to pay super for employees on top of the JobKeeper amount?

Yes, you do need to pay super to employees at this time. If your staff members are paid more $1500 their super will still be based on their full wage.

Conversely, if your employee normally earns less than $1500 (but is now receiving $1500 because of JobKeeper), you only need to pay super on their normal earnings.? You don't need to pay super on the top-up that takes them to $1500.

3. What can I do if I can't afford to keep staff on until JobKeeper kicks in?

This week the government, realising this was an impost for many small businesses to pay their staff until JobKeeper payments start in early May, provided an extension for employers to pay their employees.

Employers will now have until May 8, 2020, to ensure those payments have been made to eligible employees.

This is critical, as some small businesses had chosen not to apply for JobKeeper because they were worried about having enough cash to pay their staff.
The government is now promising to fast-track these applications. Businesses now have until May 31 to formally enrol to claim JobKeeper.

In addition, the government announced a special scheme for businesses with apprentices. Employers can receive a 50% wage subsidy from January 1 until September 30 but this cannot be claimed in addition to JobKeeper for that staff member. It's either one or the other.

4. As a sole trader without employees am I still eligible for the JobKeeper payment?

Yes, you are, provided that you have met the criteria of a 30% drop in turnover and are an eligible business participant - sole trader, partner in a partnership or beneficiary in a trust running a business.

A freelancer is also classified as a sole trader as long as you have an ABN - you don't need to be registered as a company. This can include Uber drivers, contractors and entertainers, who are eligible provided they are self-employed.

5. As an employer, am I obliged to pay any of my staff while the business is closed due to coronavirus?

No, you're not obliged to pay them, you can fire them. Alternatively you can stand them down and apply for JobKeeper, in which case, any of the incidental costs on top of salary are still payable.

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Julia Newbould was editor-at-large and later managing editor of Money from November 2019 to February 2022. She was previously editor of Financial Planning and Super Review magazines; managing editor at InvestorInfo and at Morningstar Australia. Julia co-authored The Joy of Money, a book on women and personal finance. She holds a Bachelor of Economics from the University of Sydney where she serves on the alumni council.
Mark Thew
May 1, 2020 10.00pm

my wife is being paid the jobkeeper payment by her employer.the jobkeeper system started 30/3/20.her employer deducted her wage for the period 25/3/20 to 31/3/20 from her first jobkeeper payment.she is a casual and her wage for the above period was higher than her pay in april.i believe that the period before 30/3/20 is not part of the jobkeeper system and should not have deducted from her $750.00/ best they should have pro rated her pay for any work performed on 30/3/20 and 31/3/20.The ATO states that the jobkeeper payment starts the first fortnight from 30/3/20 to 12/4/20.Can you please give me your opinion.

May 6, 2020 5.49pm

i AM 68 YEARS OF AGE I have been an old age pensioner but became ineligible due to increased hours in my part time employment I was stood down because of my age making a high risk of Corona virus if I take Job Keeper as my employer let me know yesterday will i loose any benefits of the old age pension that the staff at Centrelink told me was all I was eligible for please reply

Sandamalie Perera
May 12, 2020 4.43pm

Two questions,

Will there be a way employer able to withdraw from Jobkeeper scheme half way through after registred and claimed ?(Between April and September)

If the employer has to ask some employees to stand down and get paid only $1500 fortnightly jobkeeper payment due to shortage of work after joined Jobkeeper (Employees got paid more than $1500 per fortnightly when they joining Jobkeeper payments.), employee doesn't want to stay under Jobkeeper and asking redundancy due to employee can claim redundancy payments in a industrial redundancy scheme and they will be better off under that scheme. If employer redandant them and withdrawn them from Jobkeeper scheme, as an employer, is it wrong thing to do under the Jobkeeper rules?

Michael Brayshaw
May 13, 2020 3.52pm

If i work 40hrs a week who gets the benefit of jobkeeper? Does it go on top of my wages or does he keep it?

Janine Graham
May 15, 2020 2.22pm

My 19yr old daughter started working perm part time in March 2019. At the end of April she was found to have ovarian cancer and required surgery and 4 months of chemo. She returned to work in Dec 2019 and has regular work since then. she was never taken off the books, remained employed and just had extended sick leave.

Is she eligible for jobkeeper. Her employer is saying she isn't.

Dafeene Gilmour
May 21, 2020 5.46pm

My friend has been made redundant by employer, also she was had a doc certificate for being bullied at work when made redundant.She has been employed for a year and half on full time basis and company receiving job keeper for her.

Can employer legally do this?

lanny ash
July 2, 2020 1.25pm

I also have been on sick leave I have used up all my sick leave, and annual leave, am I entitled to job keeper I work in the disability industry and cant return as Im a high risk also have an on going med certificate

Anita Reeve
May 24, 2020 11.48am


If you have two jobs (two unique postions) with the same employer, is Jobkeeper only applied to one job, or does it get applied to both positions (total earnings) as they are with the same employer?

Hannah Daly
May 25, 2020 1.13pm

If an employee is working 2 jobs, one casual, one full time, and the casual job is closed due to Corona and the full time is open, can they claim Jobkeeper from the casual, which is $100s more than they usually earn, and then the usual full time salary from their employer? Even though the full time employer is getting jobkeeper for everyone else.

Shafiq Rehman
August 3, 2020 6.42pm

I am on job keeper from uber and got a casual job 200 $ per day.

I still can get job keeper??

Anita O
May 29, 2020 5.20pm

After the Job Keeper scheme finishes, is my employer allowed to make me redundant?

Jo Mullen
June 16, 2020 4.38pm

ive been at my job a year now can I get jobkeepet

Kevin Goverd
June 29, 2020 4.43pm

My employer wants me to sign a new employment agreement working full time (40 hours per week) but wants to only pass on the jobkeeper allowance which is only $18.75 per hour.

On my previous agreement I was earning $2500 per fortnight which was $31.25 per hour.

Is my employer right in asking me to sign this?


Renee Wills
July 4, 2020 1.44pm

Basic question as I can not find any simple information on it.

My company is on Job Keeper payments but as I earn just over $1500 per fortnight I don't really see a difference in my pay. I am now sick (not COVID!!) and I do not have any sick days to take time off work... Obviously I wont go to work because I am sick BUT will I still get paid my full wage if I take time off work because of Job Keeper? Or not get paid for the days I have off? Thanks in advance to anyone that can provide a simple answer/link!

Sharyn Douglas
July 13, 2020 3.57pm

Can my boss make me work in retail I don't feel safe will I loose the job seeker payment

Anne McMillan
July 22, 2020 1.36pm

I work in aged care as permanent part time and in a private hospital as permanent part time. Due to the pandemic I can only work in one. Am I entitled to jobkeeper?

Marilyn Bishop
August 2, 2020 5.21pm

I am a long term employee, but i do not have any leave left does my jobkeeper payment stop if i choose not to go to work, i am 66yrs old with a medical history, and a mother in nursing home whom i visit regularly (palliative care)

Jen Ellwood
August 5, 2020 2.17pm

If you received jobkeeper & then back to normal wages and then the possibility of closure again do you again go back on job keeper the duration of the closure this time round?

Robert williams
September 5, 2020 1.01pm

How do you check if your employer has applied for job keeper but not for all employees?

Regina thumm
September 17, 2020 12.11pm

I was on job keeper since much .

Worked for company for 3 years made redundant in arpril and made to sign.a contract has a casual .so far they have not call me in to work

I was getting job keeper .

This week the company haven paid me job keeper .I was not inform of any change with my payment

I was told by some staff that the company is no longer on job keeper

Since job keeper goes until September 28

I don't know what to do.

Please help ??