Home Forums Tell me straight… Employer refusing to pay Jobkeeper

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  • #1000127
    mediaman
    Member
    • Total posts: 130

    Hi everyone, my first post here for a long time.

    My wife has been employed by a local school P&C for the last 4 years as canteen manager. COVID-19 has meant the canteen has been shut down until school resumes.

    The P&C – although entitled to the Jobkeeper support – is refusing to pay her because they feel financially exposed without a guarantee of when the Govt will return them the money that they pay up front. Their problem is, if they don’t get the reimbursement for a long time, they are going to be committed to pay her the $1500 a fortnight and have to find the money from somewhere.

    They have plenty of money…they are saying they can’t pay it from the accounts that it is in and they “can’t hold a meeting to pass a notion to move it between accounts”.

    Although they submitted their intent to claim, they are not obliged to pay the money.

    ATO can’t do anything. Head of P&C NSW is saying they are not supporting the payments because – in the future – they may be forced to pay the money back if for some reason they have been found to be in contravention of some kind of Govt rule. However we know a lot of local P&C’s have already paid their staff. We also know for a fact that the P&C will get back $10,000 after submitting their latest BAS. I think all eligible businesses do.

    So, it’s not like they don’t have the money.

    The local Federal Member has intervened and, although they tried very hard for us, the P&C won’t budge.

    So, in all, the P&C and my wife are both eligible for the scheme. The problem is the P&C is refusing to pay her and can’t be forced to.

    I have local and national media at the ready to add some pressure, but we don’t really want to go down that route and jeopardise her position until absolutely necessary.

    Any suggestions?

    #1223072
    Paul – FS Concierge
    Moderator
    • Total posts: 3,127

    I am sorry to here of the struggle your wife is having and the stress the situation must be causing.

    It is true that there are risks the employer takes on with this program but I am surprised that in a case where the business has stopped trading, the employer does not think the risks are manageable.

    I can only recommend that if there is some way to have an Accountant walk them through the moving parts, it may move them some way towards your position.

    If you can steer the conversation around to their values and what they stand for in the care of their staff and away from the realm of “I’m right, you’re wrong”, that might also help.

    Presumably, there is Jobseeker in the meantime assuming your wife passes the combined income test?

    Good luck.

    #1223073
    mediaman
    Member
    • Total posts: 130

    Thanks Paul.

    I forgot to mention the Jobseeker won’t be available due to combined income.

    Yes the whole problem is that they believe the risks aren’t manageable. They are not aware we are privy to how much money they have available to them in accounts that they could – if they agreed to have a meeting, even online, to pass a motion to move the money – use to pay the Jobkeeper.

    Regards

    #1223074
    JamesMillar
    Participant
    • Total posts: 1,676
    mediaman, post: 269530, member: 11683 wrote:
    Hi everyone, my first post here for a long time.

    My wife has been employed by a local school P&C for the last 4 years as canteen manager. COVID-19 has meant the canteen has been shut down until school resumes.

    The P&C – although entitled to the Jobkeeper support – is refusing to pay her because they feel financially exposed without a guarantee of when the Govt will return them the money that they pay up front. Their problem is, if they don’t get the reimbursement for a long time, they are going to be committed to pay her the $1500 a fortnight and have to find the money from somewhere.

    They have plenty of money…they are saying they can’t pay it from the accounts that it is in and they “can’t hold a meeting to pass a notion to move it between accounts”.

    Although they submitted their intent to claim, they are not obliged to pay the money.

    ATO can’t do anything. Head of P&C NSW is saying they are not supporting the payments because – in the future – they may be forced to pay the money back if for some reason they have been found to be in contravention of some kind of Govt rule. However we know a lot of local P&C’s have already paid their staff. We also know for a fact that the P&C will get back $10,000 after submitting their latest BAS. I think all eligible businesses do.

    So, it’s not like they don’t have the money.

    The local Federal Member has intervened and, although they tried very hard for us, the P&C won’t budge.

    So, in all, the P&C and my wife are both eligible for the scheme. The problem is the P&C is refusing to pay her and can’t be forced to.

    I have local and national media at the ready to add some pressure, but we don’t really want to go down that route and jeopardise her position until absolutely necessary.

    Any suggestions?

    Ok there are a few parts to this

    1. How sure are you that the employer is an eligible employer under the tax JobKeeper legislation?

    (a) Are they are ineligible because they are a government agency or department? (one of the criteria)

    (b) Are they ineligible because they don’t pass the decline in revenue test? (the other main criteria)

    2. If they are an eligible employer – how sure are you that they are electing to enter the jobkeeper program for their employees? It is not compulsory for an employer to enrol in JobKeeper even if they are eligible to do so.

    In terms of the law – here is how it works

    – If they are an eligible employer and have enrolled in JobKeeper then they must offer JobKeeper to all eligible employees (they can terminate employees to avoid but would have to go through redundancy etc).

    – the “one in all in” compulsion does not actually come from the tax legislation pertaining to JobKeeper. It comes from an amendment that was made earlier this month to the Fair Work Act 2009 to deal with a range of issues stemming from from the JobKeeper program. A section was inserted to provide an “Obligation of employer to satisfy the wage condition” Section-789GD. The penalty for non compliance is potentially quite significant per offence (something in the order of $12k).

    It is quite possible that the organisation does have legitimate hurdles with its governance that make access to funds challenging (in terms of requiring due process). This would be a standard safeguard and it cannot simply be disregarded because it is incompatible with other law.

    To be honest the law for all of these matters has been thrown together and passed in record time with little review. There are many quite ridiculous outcomes so I think we all need to avoid judging organisations too harshly. I have spoken to countless businesses in the last month that are eligible to enrol and want to enrol but simply cannot get the funding to pay for all staff for four weeks in advance with no income coming in. The uplifting of casual wages to $1500 per fortnight is an attempt to divert jokseeker responsibilities onto small businesses rather than have Centrelink deal with them. It should have been designed differently.

    #1223075
    bb1
    Participant
    • Total posts: 4,472
    mediaman, post: 269534, member: 11683 wrote:
    They are not aware we are privy to how much money they have available to them in accounts that they could – if they agreed to have a meeting, even online, to pass a motion to move the money – use to pay the Jobkeeper.

    Regards

    this is the one that makes me laugh, yes you may know of some funds they have available, but you may not know of other commitments, liabilities or issue they have. Just because they have funds, they don’t have to do lanything, its their business not yours.

    #1223076
    RunicConvenience
    Member
    • Total posts: 186

    yeah, the belief you think you know their books better than them kind of triggers me, you assume from the balance that x values could happen but do you know every expense and income for 6 months into the future?

    no one is entitled to job keepers. it is for the business to choose if they can take on the risk and pay staff they don’t have money to pay but in this situation, I would not want them taking it any way they are out of jobs because the customer is not there no kids. so it makes sense not to use job keepers on this when students won’t be using canteens at all.

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