Working from home can be a challenge if you’re used to working at the office.
In response to the ongoing pandemic, the Australian Government has announced changes in the eligibility requirements for JobKeeper 2.0 and extended the scheme until 28 March 2021.
The JobKeeper scheme was scheduled to cease on 27 September 2020. The scheme has provided critical support to 960, 000 businesses and 3.5 million workers which are approximately 30% of the pre-COVID-19 private sector workforce. The federal Treasury undertook a three month review and found that the scheme had met its objectives to support businesses and jobs, yet the labour market remains weak and there is a need of further economic support.
Taking into consideration the current economic situation, the government has decided to extend the current JobKeeper scheme for an additional six months until 28 March 2021, supporting businesses who continue to be significantly impacted by the pandemic.
Before moving to the eligibility, let’s review what the current JobKeeper scheme has and what JobKeeper 2.0 (extended scheme) will offer.
Current JobKeeper Scheme
The JobKeeper scheme was initiated on 30 March 2020 and has provided qualifying employers financial support in the form of subsidy. Eligible employers are currently able to access $1,500 per fortnight for each eligible employee.
To be eligible for the current scheme, employers must show that:
- They have experienced a decline in turnover of either 15%, 30% or 50% depending on the business type and aggregated turnover for the income year.
- 15% is for Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission-registered charities.
- 30% is for organisations with a combined turnover of $1 billion or less.
- 50% is for organisations with a combined turnover of more than $1 billion.
- The employer and employee(s) employment relationship existed on 1 March 2020.
JobKeeper 2.0 Scheme
The Australian Government at the time of announcing the extension also provided details of what the extended scheme will look like beyond September 2020.
Here are the new changes:
From 28 September 2020 to 3 January 2021 (first period), the JobKeeper payment will reduce from $1,500 to $1,200 per fortnight for eligible full-time employee and $750 for eligible employee working fewer than 20 hours per week.
From 4 January 2021 to 28 March 2021 (second period), the JobKeeper payments will further reduce to $1,000 and $650 per fortnight respectively.
What are the Eligibility Requirements for Employers?
To be eligible for the JobKeeper subsidy from 28 September 2020, employers will need to meet a further decline in the turnover test for both the First Period and Second Period of the extension.
- In the first period, the employers will need to prove they have suffered the decrease in actual GST turnover in the September 2020 quarter, that is, in months of July, August, September 2020 in comparison to quarters in 2019. This also means that employers are required to assess their GST eligibility before lodging their business activity statement.
- In the second period, the employers will need to prove that their actual GST turnover has fallen in the December 2020 quarter, that is, in the months of October, November, December 2020 as compared to quarters in 2019.
The Commissioner of Taxation holds the existing decision to set out alternative tests in particular circumstances.
Eligibility Requirements for Employees
The eligibility requirements for the employees remain unchanged, except that the relevant date of employment has moved from 1 March 2020 to 1 July 2020. This change came into effect from 3 August 2020.
In simple words, an eligible employee is a person who is currently employed by an eligible employer on 1 July 2020 and is a:
- Part-time, full-time or long-term casual employee.
- 18 years and older
- Either an Australian resident or a resident for the Income Tax Assessment Act 1936 and the holder of a Subclass 444 visa which is a special category visa.
- Not in receipt of government paid parental leave or workers subsidy.
All employees who were employed on 1 March 2020 under the current JobKeeper scheme are taken as eligible employees under extended JobKeeper 2.0 scheme unless they are no longer a current employee.
So, these are the eligibility requirements for the JobKeeper 2.0 and if you fall under any of these categories you will qualify for the extension of the scheme. If you are unsure if you qualify email firstname.lastname@example.org or phone (08) 6153 0036 and one of our team members can assist your business in lodgement or assessing if you qualify.