JobKeeper Q&As - Part 2 - The wage subsidy explained

JobKeeper Q&As - Part 2 - The wage subsidy explained

Further to our previous article – JobKeeper Q&As - Part 1 – please find following further important information. Set out in a Q&A style, the information reflects some of the questions REEF has been fielding from members.

What are the steps involved in taking part in the JobKeeper scheme?


Register your interest and subscribe for JobKeeper payment updates, if you haven’t already done so.

Step 2

Check you and your employees meet the eligibility requirements (refer to last Friday’s REEF Employer Alert).

Step 3

Ensure you pay your employees for each JobKeeper fortnight you plan to claim for. The first fortnight is from 30 March – 12 April and each JobKeeper fortnight follows after that. For the first two fortnight periods (30 March – 12 April, 13 April – 26 April), the Australian Tax Office (ATO) will accept the minimum $1,500 payment for each fortnight has been paid by you even if it has been paid late, provided it is paid by you by the end of April. This means that you can make two fortnightly payments of at least $1,500 per fortnight before the end of April, or a combined payment of at least $3,000 before the end of April.

Remember that you pay the employee first and then in the month following you get reimburse by the ATO.

Step 4

Notify your eligible employees that you are intending to claim the JobKeeper payment on their behalf and check they aren’t claiming JobKeeper payment through another employer or have nominated through another business.

Step 5

Give the JobKeeper employee nomination form to your nominated employees to complete and return to you by the end of April if you plan to claim the JobKeeper payment for April. You don’t need to lodge the forms – just keep them on file and provide a copy to your registered tax agent if you are using one.

Step 6

From 20 April 2020, you can enrol with the ATO for the JobKeeper payment using the Business Portal and authenticate with myGovID. You must do this by the end of April to claim JobKeeper payments for April.

Step 7

In the online form, provide your bank details and indicate if you are claiming an entitlement based on business participation, for example if you are a sole trader.

Step 8

Specify the estimated number of employees who will be eligible for the first JobKeeper fortnight (30 March – 12 April) and the second JobKeeper fortnight (13 April – 26 April).


Can I exclude one or more of my employees from the application process?

No.  Once you decide to participate in the JobKeeper scheme and your eligible employees have agreed to be nominated by you, then you must ensure that all of these eligible employees are covered by their participation in the scheme. This includes all eligible employees who are undertaking work for the employer or have been stood down.
You cannot select which eligible employees will participate in the scheme. This ‘one in, all in’ rule is a key feature of the scheme.


What happens if my employee will not sign and return the application form?

If an employee refuses to sign the application form then the employee becomes ineligible for the scheme and you will not receive the JobKeeper subsidy for that employee.  An employee cannot be forced to sign the form.


Am I obligated to pass the payment on to a commission-only employee despite that employee not normally receiving any wages?

Yes.  A central part of the JobKeeper scheme is creating an obligation on employers who receive a JobKeeper payment to ensure that it is paid to the applicable eligible employee.  Therefore, you must pay it to a commission-only employee if you receive it for them.


Is there any way for me to ‘claw back’ or withhold the JobKeeper payment through the payment of commission to commission-only employees?

No.  There is no mechanism in the REEF template commission-only agreements or the Real Estate Industry Award for JobKeeper payments to be subject to ‘clawback’ or recovery through the commissions paid to commission-only employees.


When I pay the JobKeeper subsidy to my commission-only employees, does the amount paid contribute to the MITA that the employee has to annually achieve?

Yes.  If you pay JobKeeper payments to a commission-only employee, then for the purposes of the MITA it is considered income and therefore contributes to the MITA that the employee has to annually achieve.


Am I obligated to increase the wages paid to an employee in circumstances where they are being paid less than $750/week (say for part timers or casuals)?

Yes. You are obliged to make payment of at least $750 per week or $1,500 per fortnight to comply with the rules of the JobKeeper scheme.


Can I increase the hours of a part time employee to ensure that the hours worked reflect the JobKeeper subsidy?

No.  While you can make various types of JobKeeper enabling directions to an eligible employee (refer to last Friday’s REEF Employer Alert) under the recent amendments to the Fair Work Act they do not enable you to increase an employee’s working hours.


Can an employer continue to debit a debit/credit salesperson the full amount of their wages (which includes the JobKeeper payment) and allowances when calculating commission payments?

Yes. Provided the employee’s written commission structure contains appropriate “debiting” arrangements. REEF’s template debit-credit commission structures contain such a provision.

Remember, you can only debit what has actually been paid to the salesperson.



If you have any questions about this information, please email (rather than calling the Helpline).

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About REEF

The Real Estate Employers' Federation is the real estate industry’s leading not-for-profit employer and workplace relations advisory association. It has more than 1600 members and subscribers across Australia.

Each year, REEF receives more than 20,000 calls from real estate employers needing help and guidance on matters affecting the employment relationship.

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