In a bid to keep help businesses through the latest never-ending lockdown, the NSW government has expanded the JobSaver program to include more businesses as well as increase the amount of payment. The payment is available to businesses with an annual turnover of between $75,000 and $250m (up from the original upper threshold of $50m), that have experienced a revenue decline of 30% or more. Businesses that apply for the payment can expect to receive the funds in their bank accounts within 5 to 10 business days from the approval date.
Besides meeting the turnover thresholds, businesses must also maintain their employee headcount which the government hopes will help businesses hold on to their staff so that once the lockdown ends they will be able to hit the ground running. Other eligibility criteria include having an active ABN and be operating in NSW on or before 1 June 2021. It is envisaged that the JobSaver will work in much the same way as the Federal JobKeeper program introduced during the first wave of COVID-19 last year, that is, helping both businesses and individuals.
Businesses that have employees are able to receive between $1,500 and $100,000 per week (the maximum payment was previously $10,000). The payments are based on 40% of a business’ weekly NSW payroll. Non-employing businesses (ie sole traders) are also eligible for the JobSaver payment, but the maximum rate remains at $1,000 per week, provided that the business is the primary source of income for the associated person. If an individual has more than one non-employing business, the payment can only be claimed from one business.
According to the government, the weekly payroll should be calculated using the information contained in the most recent Business Activity Statement provided to the ATO prior to 26 June 2021 for the 2020-21 financial year. Businesses that only operate in NSW can work out their weekly payroll by first identifying the amount reported under W1 in the relevant BAS and deducting any amounts withheld on behalf of contractors. That amount should then be divided by the number of calendar days reported in the PAYG tax withheld section of the BAS period and multiplied by 7.
Businesses that operate in other states or territories can use a similar approach as outlined above, but should only use the W1 to identify those employees that usually work in or were based in NSW during the relevant BAS period. Amounts received from JobSaver can be used for a variety of business costs including utilities, rent, financial advice, legal advice, marketing, perishable goods, and other business costs, not just for salary and wages.
It should be noted that certain entities such as businesses that primarily earn passive income such as rent, interest, or dividends are not eligible for the JobSaver, even if they meet the other eligibility criteria. Additionally, businesses that have had their ABN backdated to before 1 June 2021 are also not eligible.