The Government has released details of what it calls its “JobMaker” hiring scheme. It will take the form of a payment to employers for each new job they create over the next 12 months. It is estimated that the scheme will cost $4 billion and support about 450,000 employees. So it could help a lot of businesses and there is quite a bit of money up for grabs – up to $200 for each “new” employee each week!

It is available for eligible individuals who commence work between 7 October 2020 and 6 October 2021. Note the use of the term “eligible” – there are certain conditions that must be met before an employer can receive the payment. First up, the employee must be aged between 16 and 35 years at the time they start work. One crucial thing to note is that the payment rate is higher for those aged 16 to 29 years than it is for those aged 30 to 35 years.

Further, each employee must work an average of 20 hours a week for the JobMaker period (a rolling 3-month period). There are other important conditions to be met. For example, the new employee must, for 4 out of the 12 weeks preceding the employment start date, have received either the parenting payment, the youth allowance or the JobSeeker payment. In other words, individuals must have come from having had recent government support to employment.

Hence, people who are changing employers, eg switching from one full time job to another, will not be eligible. The type of employer who can benefit from the scheme is pretty broad. It is open to those who are carrying on a business at the time they elect to participate in the scheme.

The employer must already have an ABN and be registered to withhold PAYG. The ATO has flagged that the requisite information will be provided through the Single Touch Payroll system, so if you are not using STP, then you cannot participate in the scheme. To participate in the scheme, employers must be up to date with their tax return and BAS lodgments.

Employers must also have an overall headcount increase as a result of taking on more employees. This is measured by comparing the employee count in the JobMaker period to the number of employees on the books at 30 September 2020 (this reference point will change over time). In addition, employers must have what is termed a “payroll increase” in the JobMaker period. This is worked out by comparing the total payroll in a JobMaker period to the payroll for the period that ended immediately before 6 October 2020 (and, again, this will change over time). This test is designed to stop employers cutting the wages of existing staff so as to access JobMaker.