The Government has decided to extend a lower JobKeeper for a further six months (13 fortnights) from 28 September this year, with eligibility based on actual rather than projected turnover declines.
The key features are:
- Only those businesses whose actual GST turnovers in each of the June AND September 2020 quarters have declined by 30% or more (or 50% or more – businesses with a GST turnover of $1 billion or more) compared with the same periods in 2019 will be entitled to JobKeeper in the December 2020 quarter.
- Only those businesses whose actual GST turnovers in each of the June, September AND December 2020 quarters have declined by 30% or more (or 50% or more – businesses with a turnover of $1 billion or more) compared with the same periods in 2019 will be entitled to JobKeeper in the March 2021 quarter.
- The JobKeeper payments will be lower and there will now be two tiers:
- For employees who, in the four weeks of pay periods before 1 March 2020, were working in the business for 20 hours or more a week on average – for the December quarter, $1,200 a fortnight; and for the March 2021 quarter, $1,000 a fortnight
- For other eligible employees (both permanent part time and casual) – $750 a fortnight for the December 2020 quarter and $650 a fortnight for the March 2021 quarter
- Business participants who are not employees remain eligible on the same basis as employees.
- Employers must pay employees first before they can receive JobKeeper.
The new turnover tests will be harder to fulfill than those applying to JobKeeper 1.0.
Each quarter is tested for actual GST turnover, – averaging is out and the single month test is out.
One difficulty all employers who remain eligible will face is timing the calculation of their turnover for the September and December 2020 quarters with the payment of staff. With BAS deadlines of 28 October and 28 January respectively, the ATO “will have discretion to extend the time an entity has to pay employees in order to meet the wage condition, so that entities have time to first confirm their eligibility for the JobKeeper Payment”. But delaying BAS lodgement can also delay receipt from ATO.
As far as employees are concerned, the eligibility rules are unchanged. In that regard, the employee must have been on the books as at 1 March 2020 as well as being a current employee for the relevant JobKeeper fortnight. The rules which exclude persons who were not long-term casuals as at 1 March also remain, as do the rules excluding most temporary workers who are neither citizens nor permanent residents.
The long term casual test has two relevant dates – 1 March being the date on which the employee has to meet the basic criteria (including the long term casual test) and the JobKeeper fortnight the subject of the claim and for which the employer must have paid the employee.