JobKeeper Payments Update

Background

The JobKeeper Payment is a scheme to support businesses and not-for-profit organisations significantly affected by COVID-19, to help keep more Australians in jobs. The JobKeeper Payment is administered by the Australian Taxation Office (ATO).

The JobKeeper Payment will be available to eligible businesses (including the self-employed) and not-for-profits until 28 March 2021.

Status (at 16 October 2020)

The ATO advises that:

  • The JobKeeper Payment scheme has been extended until 28 March 2021. See Jobkeeper extension (on ATO website).
  • From 28 September 2020:  
    • employers need to demonstrate that their actual GST turnover has fallen against a comparable period
    • tier 1 and tier 2 JobKeeper rates apply and are generally based on average hours worked by employees.
  • For the JobKeeper fortnights starting 28 September 2020 and 12 October 2020 only, we are allowing employers until 31 October 2020 to meet the wage condition for all employees included in the JobKeeper scheme.
  • Employers do not need to re-enrol to claim payments in the first extension if they are already enrolled in JobKeeper. They just need to check their continuing eligibility and submit this information to us online from 1 October 2020.
  • Employers also need to tell us the payment tier they are claiming for each eligible employee or business participant in their November monthly business declaration.

The ATO regularly update its website.  Please see:

https://www.ato.gov.au/general/jobkeeper-payment/

for current information.

Payment rates

As stated above the JobKeeper Payment scheme has been extended from 28 September 2020 until 28 March 2021.

During this period there are two separate extension periods. For each extension period, an additional actual decline in turnover test applies and the rate of the JobKeeper payment is different.

The rate of the JobKeeper Payment depends on the number of hours an eligible employee works or an eligible business participant is actively engaged in the business. It will be split into two rates:

  • Tier 1: This rate applies to:
    • all eligible employees who worked for 80 hours or more in the four weeks of pay periods before either 1 March 2020 or 1 July 2020, and
    • eligible business participants who were actively engaged in the business for 80 hours or more in February and provide a declaration to that effect
  • Tier 2: This rate applies to:
    • any other eligible employees and eligible business participants

From 28 September 2020 to 3 January 2021 the JobKeeper Payment rates for this extension period are:

  • Tier 1: $1,200 per fortnight (before tax)
  • Tier 2: $750 per fortnight (before tax)

From 4 January 2021 to 28 March 2021 the JobKeeper Payment rates for this extension period are:

  • Tier 1: $1,000 per fortnight (before tax)
  • Tier 2: $650 per fortnight (before tax)

Further information can be found at the ATO website listed above or:

https://www.business.gov.au/risk-management/emergency-management/coronavirus-information-and-support-for-business/jobkeeper-payment

Eligibility

In order to qualify for the JobKeeper Payments the employer is required to meet the eligibility criteria.  To assess your eligibility please go to the ATO website.

NOTE:

If your organisation is currently receiving JobKeeper payments it is good practice to ensure that you communicate with your employees in relation to any changes, particularly those which will affect them.

As is generally the case, proactive and relevant communication to your employees helps build/maintain a good working relationship – a good working relationship generally results in focussed, engaged and productive employees.

2020 has been a very unsettling year, therefore it is important to do what you can to minimise your employees work-related concerns (where possible) and/or provide them with timely, appropriate advice.

Should you need guidance and support in this arena please do not hesitate to contact WR Law.