The Federal Government’s JobKeeper Extension is set to begin, with the current program ending on the 28th September. Important note: this means the last JobKeeper fortnight ends on the 27th September. Any employees paid on or before this date fall in to the previous payment scheme, any payments on or after the 28th September will need to meet the new criteria.
Broadly, for businesses to be eligible for the extension, they need to have demonstrated a 30% drop in actual GST turnover in the September 2020 quarter in comparison to the September 2019 quarter. This applies for businesses who were both previously eligible for JobKeeper and businesses who may join in the scheme for the first time. You do not need to have qualified for the previous scheme to be eligible for the extension, however you need to have been in business on the 1st March
There are going to be alternative turnover tests where the September quarter is not a comparable period for a number of reasons, such as new businesses, businesses with irregular turnover, businesses who have acquired other businesses etc. Note: the rules around alternative tests are still to be released.
Once you have qualified as a business, you then need to work out what payment rate will apply:
- $1,200 per fortnight for employees and eligible business participants (sole traders, partners, directors etc.) who have worked an average of 20 or more hours in the four week reference period.
- $750 per fortnight for employees and eligible business participants who have worked less than 20 hours.
To work out how many hours the employee has worked, you need to analyse their reference period which could be either:
- The four weeks before the 1st March 2020
- The four weeks before the 1st July 2020
- An ‘alternative’ period for employees who would have worked those hours but were on unpaid leave etc.
It is up to the employer to ensure that the reference period used gives the highest result. For example, the employee may have only worked 60 hours in the four weeks prior to 1st March, but 90 hours in the four weeks prior to the 1st July. In this instance, the latter is used and the employee is eligible for the highest rate.
Employees must be told within 7 days whether or not they will be on the higher or lower rate. They must also have been paid the minimum fortnightly payments in October by the 31st October to be eligible, giving employers more time to work out their eligibility.