The extension of JobKeeper

On 21 July 2020, the Australian Government announced their intention to extend the JobKeeper scheme until 28 March 2021. The current scheme will remain in place until 27 September 2020, i.e. FN13. Whilst officially called the “JobKeeper extension” it was almost immediately labelled “JobKeeper 2.0”.

What’s new in JobKeeper 2.0? 

Businesses that are currently eligible for the JobKeeper scheme will need to requalify to continue receiving JobKeeper from 28 September 2020 and again in early January 2021. Obviously, if the employer is no longer eligible neither are their employees.

The eligibility criteria for employees remains the same, however there are now two tiers of payment determined by the average hours worked per week in February 2020. Employees who worked less than 20 hours a week on average in the four weekly pay periods ending before 1 March 2020 will receive the lower payment rate.

The rates are:

Date Full rate per fortnight Less than 20hrs worked per fortnight rate
28 September 2020
to 3 January 2021
$1,200 $750
4 January 2021
to 28 March 2021
$1,000 $650

Whilst not the domain of Payroll, it’s worth outlining the primary eligibility criteria for business. In order to be eligible for the JobKeeper Payment after 27 September 2020, businesses and not-for-profits will have to meet a further decline in turnover test for each of the two periods extension, as well as meeting the existing eligibility requirements for the JobKeeper Payment.

  • From 28 September 2020, businesses and not-for-profits will be required to reassess their eligibility with reference to their actual GST turnover in the June and September quarters 2020. They will need to demonstrate that they have met the relevant decline in turnover test in both of those quarters to be eligible for the JobKeeper Payment from 28 September 2020 to 3 January 2021. 
     
  • From 4 January 2021, businesses and not-for-profits will need to further reassess their turnover to be eligible for the JobKeeper Payment. They will need to demonstrate that they have met the relevant decline in turnover test with reference to their actual GST turnover in each of the June, September and December quarters 2020 to remain eligible for the JobKeeper Payment from 4 January 2021 to 28 March 2021.

What has remained the same?

  • The eligibility rules for employees remain unchanged and will be the same as the current JobKeeper scheme. 
  • Employers are still required to make payments to employees equal to, or greater than, the amount of the JobKeeper Payment (before tax), based on the payment rate that applies to each employee.  Also known as the ‘wage condition’, the JobKeeper Payment will continue to be made by the ATO to employers in arrears.