Updates on JobKeeper Payment: Its Extension & Changes
The Australian government has recently implemented the JobKeeper Payment scheme, particularly administered by the Australian Taxation Office (ATO). This program provides support to businesses and non-profit organizations (NGOs) that were significantly impacted by the COVID-19 crisis. With this program, the ultimate goal is to help keep the jobs of Australian citizens by helping businesses and NGOs pay their employees.
Quite recently, the government has extended the said scheme and changed the eligibility criteria. Initially, the Prime Minister and the Treasurer announced this last March 30th that the scheme was supposed to run until September 27th, this year. On July 21st, however, the government announced that it would be extended up until March 28th of 2021.
In this article, we’ll cover what you need to know about the recent updates on the JobKeeper Payment scheme, including its extension and changes.
New updates on the JobKeeper Payment
First, let’s take a look at the specific updates on the JobKeeper Payment scheme that you ought to know:
August 3rd, 2020: The employee eligibility test date moves from March 1st to July 1st, this year applying for the last four fortnights of the legislated scheme and the duration of the proposed extension. Employees hired after March 1st may now be eligible for the program.
September 28th, 2020: A two-tier payment rate is applied based on the average weekly working hours. The $1,500 per fortnight payment rate will be reduced on September 28th and minimized further on January 4th, 2021. The decline in turnover is re-tested quarterly based on actual GST turnover.
From September 28th, 2020 to January 3rd, 2021: The rates will be $1,200 per fortnight for all eligible employees and business participants working for 20 hours or more a week in the four weeks of pay periods and $750 per fortnight for other eligible employees and business participants.
From January 4th, 2021 to March 28th, 2021: The rates will be $1,000 per fortnight for all eligible employees and business participants working for 20 hours or more in the four weeks of pay periods and $650 per fortnight for other eligible employees and business participants.
Employee eligibility for the extension period
To be eligible for the extension period of the Jobkeeper Payment Scheme, employees must meet the following criteria:
You are currently employed by an qualified employer.
You are working full-time, part-time, or fixed-term employee as of July 1st, 2020.
You are a long-term casual employee as of July 1st, 2020 and not a permanent employee of any other employer.
You are 18 years old or above as of July 1st, 2020.
You are an Australian resident.
It’s important to know that the Commissioner of Taxation has the authority to set out alternative tests. Likewise, the ATO continues to guide how the employees need to be paid, including circumstances where the general rules do not cover. It is also the said office that makes the payments to the employers in arrears. In turn, it is the employers who are required to pay their employees based on the established payment rate, as discussed above.
We hope this article has shed some light on what you need to know about the recent updates on the JobKeeper Payment scheme.
We’re a professional accounting firm in Gold Coast that helps businesses manage their finances by increasing profits and reducing taxes. If you’re looking for professional business accountants to assist you with the JobKeeper Payment, get in touch with us today to see how we can help!