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Changes to JobKeeper That Apply Now!

Amendments to the JobKeeper 1.0 Rules were released on Friday 14th August. The major change is the admission into the JobKeeper scheme of employees who were on the books as at 1 July 2020, from JobKeeper fortnight 10 (3rd August – 16th August).

In recognition of the short time available to employers to meet the wage condition for newly eligible employees, particularly in relation to JobKeeper fortnight 10, the ATO has given employers until 31 August 2020 to meet the wage condition for JobKeeper fortnights 10 (3-16 August) and 11 (17-30 August).

Where all other eligibility criteria are met, for JobKeeper fortnights beginning on or after 3 August 2020, the JobKeeper scheme can apply if an employer:

  • Employed a new employee by 1 July 2020, even if that employee has previously been an eligible individual for another entity under the JobKeeper scheme (whether as an employee or business participant) provided that the employee was not employed or actively engaged in the business of the other entity by 1 July 2020;
  • Had existing employees who were not eligible due to the former reference date of 1 March 2020, but become eligible employees under the new 1 July 2020 reference date;
  • Had existing employees who were eligible prior to the commencement of the instrument and they continue to be employed without any termination in employment and are not excluded from being eligible employees; or
  • Qualified for JobKeeper payments in respect of an eligible employee prior to the amendments commencing, and the employee ceased to be employed after 1 March 2020 but was later re-employed by the same employer. However, this only applies if no other entity qualified for JobKeeper payments in respect of that individual for any JobKeeper fortnight.

For a qualifying entity to claim the JobKeeper payment in respect of an eligible employee for a JobKeeper fortnight:

  • The employee must continue to meet other eligibility criteria including being in the required employment relationship with the entity and not be excluded from eligibility; and
  • The entity must continue to meet other eligibility criteria including meeting the wage condition requirements.

THE ‘ONE IN ALL IN’ PRINCIPLE

Under the amendments, for JobKeeper fortnights beginning on or after 3 August 2020, an individual can be an eligible employee if:

  • They meet the eligibility requirements with reference to the new 1 July 2020 date; or
  • Their eligibility from 1 March 2020 was preserved as a 1 March 2020 employee under the amendments.

Accordingly, a qualifying entity that has some eligible employees that were in an employment relationship with the entity on 1 March 2020 and other employees that are newly eligible by applying the 1 July 2020 requirements cannot choose to exclude any eligible employees if the entity participates in the JobKeeper scheme.

WHAT EMPLOYERS SHOULD DO NOW

  1. When considering which employees may now be eligible for JobKeeper assistance, bear in mind that the “one in all in” principle applies to the newly eligible 1 July 2020 employees, just as it did to the 1 March 2020 employees;
  2. Consider which employees are now eligible to bring into the JobKeeper scheme, not forgetting:
    • Employees who may have joined the business after 1 March 2020 but are currently stood down;
    • Casuals who may qualify as long-term casuals as at 1 July 2020;
    • Employees who may not have met the age condition as at 1 March 2020, but do as at 1 July 2020;
    • Employees who may not have met the residency condition as at 1 March 2020, but do as at 1 July 2020;
  3. Immediately obtain Nomination Notices from the newly eligible employees (including former employees now re-engaged, as discussed above);
  4. By Friday, 21 August 2020, notify those newly eligible employees in writing of the business’s intention to apply for JobKeeper on their behalf;
  5. By Monday, 31 August 2020, ensure that the newly eligible employees are paid $1,500 per fortnight for JobKeeper fortnight 10 (3-16 August) and JobKeeper fortnight 11 (17-30 August);
  6. Add the new employees into the JobKeeper monthly reporting for August 2020 (due 14 September).

General Advice Warning: The information provided is of a general nature only and has been prepared without taking into account your financial objectives, situation or needs. These should be considered before you act on any information considered in any article and you may want to seek independent professional advice before making a decision.

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