With a range of government COVID-19 economic supports such as the JobKeeper and JobSeeker schemes winding down in the next few months, businesses that are seeking to employ additional workers but still need a bit of help can now apply for the JobMaker Hiring Credit Scheme.
Unlike the JobKeeper Payment, where the money has to be passed onto your employees, the JobMaker Hiring Credit is a payment that your business gets to keep. Depending on new employees’ ages, eligible businesses may be able to receive payments of up to $200 a week per new employee.
The scheme started on 7 October 2020, and employers will be able to claim payments relating to employees hired up until 6 October 2021. The first claim period for JobMaker starts on 1 February 2021 and businesses must first register with the ATO. To claim the payment in the first JobMaker period, your business must register by 30 April 2021.
To be eligible for the scheme, you need to satisfy the basic conditions of operating a business in Australia, holding an ABN, and being registered for PAYG withholding. Your business will also need to be up to date with its income tax and GST obligations for two years up to the end of the JobMaker period you claim for, and satisfy conditions for payroll amount and headcount increases. Non-profit organisations and some deductible gift recipients (DGRs) may also be eligible.
Beware, however, that businesses receiving the JobKeeper Payment cannot claim the JobMaker Hiring Credit for the same fortnight.
For example, businesses that wish to claim the payment for the first JobMaker period must not have claimed any JobKeeper payments starting on or after 12 October 2020, and employers currently claiming other wage subsidies – including those related to apprentices, trainees, young people and long-term unemployed people – cannot receive the JobMaker subsidy for the same employee.
If you think your business may be eligible, the next step is to determine whether you are employing eligible additional employees.
Generally, the employee needs to:
- be aged 16–35 when their employment started (payment rates are $200 per week for 16 to 29 year-olds and $100 for 30 to 35 year-olds);
- be employed on or after 7 October 2020 and before 7 October 2021;
- have worked or been paid for an average of at least 20 hours per week during the JobMaker period;
- have not already provided a JobMaker Hiring Credit employee notice to another current employer; and
- received a JobSeeker Payment, Parenting Payment or Youth Allowance (except if they were receiving Youth Allowance due to full-time study or as a new apprentice) for at least 28 consecutive days in the 84 days before starting employment.
Since the aim of JobMaker is to subsidise an increase in the number of employees a business hires – not to reduce the cost of replacing employees – businesses wishing to claim the payment must also demonstrate increases in both headcount and employee payroll amount. This is meant to reduce instances of rorting by businesses that might replace existing non-eligible employees with eligible employees. Employers will need to send information such as their baseline headcount and payroll amounts to the ATO for compliance purposes.