On 21 July 2020, the Government announced changes to the JobKeeper program to reflect the current economic climate with respect to COVID-19. These changes are scheduled to be legislated on the 24 August 2020. The proposed changes are summarised below.

JobKeeper is being extended to 28 March 2021 and will be divided into 2 phases – 28 September 2020 to 3 January 2021 (7 fortnights) & 4 January 2021 to 28 March 2021 (6 fortnights). Businesses will need to re-apply at the beginning of each new phase.

Basic eligibility requirements for a business will remain the same i.e. need to show a 30% decline in turnover and have carried on a business on 1 March 2020. There will be additional eligibility tests for each new phase as follows:

  • Under the first phase (28 September 2020 to 3 January 2021) a business will need to show a 30% decline in ‘Actual GST Turnover’ for both the June 2020 quarter AND September 2020 quarter versus the same quarters last year.
  • Under the second phase (4 January 2021 to 28 March 2021) a business will need to show a 30% decline in ‘Actual GST Turnover’ for the June 2020 quarter, September 2020 quarter AND December 2020 quarter versus the same quarters last year.

NOTE – each quarter is assessed separately as opposed to comparing the total turnover over the combined periods. Further, alternative tests will be made available if it is not appropriate for a business to compare the same quarter 12 months earlier.

Basic eligibility requirements for an employee will remain the same i.e. must be employed on 1 March 2020 and if a casual employee must have been a casual for at least 12 months on 1 March 2020. Where a business qualifies for JobKeeper 2.0 the amounts to be paid will be reduced in the first phase and reduced again in the second phase as follows:

  • Under the first phase (28 September 2020 to 3 January 2021) a business will receive $1,200 per fortnight per eligible employee for those employees who work more than 20 hours per week and $750 per fortnight per eligible employee for those employees who work less than 20 hours per week.
  • Under the second phase (4 January 2021 to 28 March 2021) a business will receive $1,000 per fortnight per eligible employee for those employees who work more than 20 hours per week and $650 per fortnight per eligible employee for those employees who work less than 20 hours per week.

NOTE – the 20 hour per week test is an average over a 4 week period for the month of February 2020.

The proposed changes will not affect those businesses currently receiving JobKeeper and those businesses will continue to be paid up until 27 September 2020 in accordance with the original JobKeeper program.

Other important announcements from 21 July 2020:

  • A new program called JobTrainer will be established to provide new skills to school leavers and job seekers to place them into sectors with job opportunities.
  • The SME Guarantee Scheme will be extended to 30 June 2021 and will also see modifications to the lending requirements.
  • The JobSeeker program will be extended to 31 December 2020 however the coronavirus supplement will reduce from $550 to $250 per fortnight per eligible individual.
  • The Early Access Superannuation Scheme will be extended to 31 December 2020 however there will be no changes to the amounts that can be withdrawn i.e. maximum amount is $10,000 for the 2021 FY.

The material and contents provided in this publication are informative in nature only.  It is not intended to be advice and you should not act specifically on the basis of this information alone.  If expert assistance is required, professional advice should be obtained.

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