Jobkeeper 2.0

The JobKeeper wage subsidy has been extended until March 2021, with some changes and modifications to the amount of the payments and eligibility requirements.
A second phase of the JobKeeper program will run from the conclusion of the first phase on 27 September 2020, through to March 2021. Support will be targeted towards business and not-for-profits that continue to be affected by coronavirus. Below is a summary of everything we know so far about JobKeeper 2.0.

New Payment Rate

Two tiers of JobKeeper payments will be introduced. At the higher tier, for staff that work 20 hours or more per week, the current payment rate of $1,500 per fortnight for each eligible employee will be reduced to $1,200 per fortnight from 28 September. A further reduction will then take place from 4 January 2021 to $1,000 per fortnight.

For those staff that work less than 20 hours per week, the lower tier of JobKeeper payments will be paid at $750 per fortnight, with a further reduction to $650 per fortnight from 4 January 2021.

Revised Eligibility Tests

The new eligibility tests will run along the same lines as previous criteria, however, unlike current eligibility rules which require a business to satisfy a decline in turnover test only once for a single month in order to gain access to JobKeeper payments, the new rules will require businesses to continue to meet a decline in turnover test between September 2020 and March 2021. Further, the new decline in turnover test will be based on actual GST turnover, rather than projected GST turnover.

Employers will be required to demonstrate their GST turnover declined at least 30% for each of the June and September quarters (comparable to the same 2019 quarters) in order to gain access to JobKeeper payments covering the December quarter. Employers will then also need to demonstrate the same decline in GST turnover for the December 2020 quarter in order to access JobKeeper payments through the March 2021 quarter.

As per the existing rules, the commissioner of taxation will have discretion to set out alternative tests for situations where the GST turnover for a given period in 2020 is not comparable to the same period in 2019.

Employee Eligibility

The eligibility rules for employees will not change. Those employees that were previously eligible for JobKeeper will remain eligible during the extension period. There is no scope to include additional employees that were not eligible for JobKeeper the first time around.

Still to Come

We will provide further information as it comes to hand. We expect further clarification from the ATO in the coming months, particularly in relation to:

  • Alternative tests where GST turnover is not comparable to the same period in 2019; and
  • Alternative tests where the working hours of a given employee were unusual (with respect to the 20 hours per week rule)

Please contact our office on 08 6380 7800 if you have would like to discuss this in more detail with one of our consultants.

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