As anticipated, the Government has announced an extension to its two major stimulus programs; JobKeeper and JobSeeker, to ensure support is provided after 30 September when the programs were originally due to expire.
The current extensions to the programs are as follows:
- JobKeeper has now been extended till 28 March 2021 – with retesting to occur for the December 2020 quarter and March 2021 quarter.
- To be eligible for JobKeeper payments under the extension, businesses will still need to show a decline in turnover of:
- 30 per cent for those with an aggregated turnover of $1 billion or less.
- 50 per cent for those with an aggregated turnover of more than $1 billion.
- 15 per cent for Australian Charities and Not for profits Commission-registered charities.
- Current JobKeeper arrangements will continue until 28 September – if you are currently on JobKeeper this will not change until after 28 September 2020.
- To be eligible for JobKeeper from 28 September you will be required to confirm eligibility for the following periods:
- December 2020 Quarter– you will need to apply the decline in turnover test for both the June 2020 & September 2020 quarters.
- March 2021 Quarter – you will need to apply the decline in turnover test for the June 2020, September 2020 & December 2020 Quarters.
- The definition of an eligible employee is still the same as before, that is:
- Are currently employed by the eligible employer (including those stood down or re-hired).
- Were employed by the employer at 1 March 2020.
- Are full-time, part-time, or long-term casuals (a casual employed on a regular basis for longer than 12 months as at 1 March 2020).
- Were aged 18 years or older at 1 March 2020 (if you were 16 or 17 you can also qualify for fortnights before 11 May 2020, and continue to qualify after that if you are independent or not undertaking full time study).
- Are an Australian citizen, the holder of a permanent visa, a Protected Special Category Visa Holder, a non-protected Special Category Visa Holder who has been residing continually in Australia for 10 years or more, or a Special Category (Subclass 444) Visa Holder.
- Are not in receipt of a JobKeeper Payment from another employer.
- Are not in receipt of paid Parental Leave or Workers Compensation payments.
- JobKeeper payment rates will differ for each quarter for eligible employees:
- December 2020 Quarter – $1,200 per fortnight for all eligible employees/business participants who in the month of February 2020 worked more than 20 hours per week on average. All other eligible employees will receive $750 per fortnight.
- March 2020 Quarter – $1,000 per fortnight for all eligible employees/business participants who in the month of February 2020 worked more than 20 hours per week on average. Other eligible employees will receive $650 per fortnight.
- The ATO will have discretion to apply alternative tests for the following:
- If the prior year comparison is not appropriate when applying the turnover test for eligibility.
- Where an employee’s or business participant’s hours were not usual during the February 2020 reference period for applying the correct payment rate.
- The Coronavirus Supplement will continue to be $550 per fortnight for JobSeeker payments up to and including the reporting period ending 24 September 2020.
- From 25 September 2020 to 31 December 2020, the Supplement amount will be $250 per fortnight.
- From 25 September 2020 to 31 December 2020, the income taper test for JobSeeker will increase to $300 per fortnight. This means that recipients of these payments can earn income of up to $300 per fortnight and still receive the maximum payment.
- Asset means testing will be re-introduced from 25 September.
We will continue to monitor announcements and provide further updates, such as when the alternative test for eligibility becomes available.
In the meantime, if you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact our office on 1300 707 766.