Jobkeeper 2.0 – new eligibility and new rates

On 15 September 2020, the Treasury has released the Amendment Rules in relation to the Jobkeeper extension (Jobkeeper 2.0) that was legislated on 16 September 2020. The new extension rules will apply from 28 September 2020 onwards to 28 March 2021 and it will affect all Jobkeeper participants, including employees and business participants. 

In short: 

  • Businesses need to reassess their eligibility criteria from 28 September 2020 onwards in order to continue to qualify for Jobkeeper, and again on 4 January 2021. 
  • Payment rate will be reduced for both employees and business participants, and be split into tiers, depending on the number of hours worked 

Eligibility criteria for Jobkeeper 2.0 – decline in turnover test 

In order to be eligible for the JobKeeper Payment from 28 September 2020, businesses will have to meet a further decline in turnover test for each of the two periods of extension, as well as meeting the other existing eligibility requirements for the JobKeeper Payment. 

Between 28 September 2020 to 3 January 2021 (Jobkeeper extension 1), businesses will need to demonstrate that their actual GST turnover has fallen in the September quarter 2020 relative to a comparable period. 

Between 4 January 2021 to 28 March 2021 (Jobkeeper extension 2), businesses will need to demonstrate that their actual GST turnover has fallen in the December quarter 2020 relative to a comparable period. 

For both periods, businesses need to prove that their turnover in the current quarter has dropped by: 

  • More than 30% when compared to a comparable period if your aggregated turnover is under $1 billion 
  • More than 50% when compared to a comparable period if your aggregated turnover is over $1 billion 

For businesses that do not have a relative comparable period (or have special circumstances), the ATO will release information on the alternative test methods. 

It is important to note that the BAS lodgement due dates (September & December 2020) are after the period where businesses can assess and declare the Jobkeeper eligibility to ATO (usually 14 days after end of month), this means that businesses need to take action soon to assess their eligibility and ensure they satisfy other conditions in order to continue being eligible for Jobkeeper extension payments after 28 September 2020. 

Payment rates 

Current Jobkeeper payments are $1,500 per fortnight for both eligible employees and business participants.  

From 28 September 2020 onwards the payment rates will be split into 2 tiers: 

  • Tier 1: For employees and business participants who work 20 hours or more per week on average in the four weeks of pay periods before either 1 March 2020 or 1 July 2020, and for eligible business participants who were actively engaged in the business for 20 hours or more per week on average: $1,200 per fortnight 
  • Tier 2: For all other employees and business participants: $750 per fortnight 

From 4 January 2020 onwards the payment rates will be dropped further: 

  • Tier 1: For employees and business participants who work 80 hours or more in the four weeks of pay periods before either 1 March 2020 or 1 July 2020, and for eligible business participants who were actively engaged in the business for 80 hours or more in February and provide a declaration to that effect: $1,000 per fortnight 
  • Tier 2: For all other employees and business participants: $650 per fortnight 

Other conditions 

Wage condition: Employers will continue to be 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. 

Employee eligibility 

Employees are eligible in the extension period if they:  

  • are currently employed by an eligible employer (including if you were stood down or rehired)  
  • were for the eligible employer (or another entity in their wholly-owned group) either:  
  • a full-time, part-time or fixed-term employee at 1 July 2020; or  
  • a long-term casual employee (employed on a regular and systematic basis for at least 12 months) as at 1 July 2020 and not a permanent employee of any other employer.  
  • were aged 18 years or older at 1 July 2020 (if you were 16 or 17 you can also qualify if you are independent or not undertaking full time study).  
  • were either:  
  • an Australian resident (within the meaning of the Social Security Act 1991); or  
  • an Australian resident for the purpose of the Income Tax Assessment Act 1936 and the holder of a Subclass 444 (Special Category) visa as at 1 July 2020.  
  • were not in receipt of any of these payments during the JobKeeper fortnight:  
  • government parental leave or Dad and partner pay under the Paid Parental Leave Act 2010; or  
  • a payment in accordance with Australian worker compensation law for an individual’s total incapacity for work.  

Employee can only claim Jobkeeper payment from one employer. Only under very limited circumstances can one employee change from one employer to another to claim Jobkeeper payment. 

Employees will continue to receive Jobkeeper payment if their employers satisfy the wage condition (see above) and are eligible to claim Jobkeeper payment on their behalf. 

Business owners can continue to receive Jobkeeper payment if their businesses satisfy the turnover test and they are not a permanent employee of another employer. 

Action points 

From 28 September 2020, all of the following must be done: 

  • work out if Tier 1 or Tier 2 rate applies to each of your eligible employees and/or eligible business participants 
  • notify us and your eligible employees and/or eligible business participants what payment rate applies to them 
  • during Jobkeeper extension 1 – ensure your eligible employees are paid at least 
  • $1,200 per fortnight for Tier 1 employees 
  • $750 per fortnight for Tier 2 employees 
  • during Jobkeeper extension 2 – ensure your eligible employees are paid at least 
  • $1,000 per fortnight for Tier 1 employees 
  • $650 per fortnight for Tier 2 employees. 
  • And, at the same time, remember to complete your September monthly declaration and submit it by 14 October 2020. 

Point to note 

You do not need to re-enrol for the Jobkeeper extension if you are already enrolled for Jobkeeper for fortnights before 28 September 2020. 

You do not need to reassess employee eligibility or ask employees to agree to be nominated by you as their eligible employer if you are already claiming for them before 28 September 2020. 

You do not need to meet any further requirements if you are claiming for an eligible business participant, other than those that applied from the start of Jobkeeper relating to holding an ABN, and declaring assessable income and supplies. 

Help is here! 

If you require assistance with assessing your eligibility to the Jobkeeper extensions, lodging monthly declarations and any other questions in relation to Jobkeeper – we are here to help! Give us a call or email and help will be on the way. 

Disclaimer: Please note that the information above is accurate as of 17 September 2020, any further updates will be included in our other blog posts.

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