JobKeeper Payment Extension – What do You Need to do Now?
From 28 September, the JobKeeper payment scheme enters the next phase seeing the payment extended until 28 March 2021.
There are two separate extension periods, each of which is tested separately for eligibility based on business turnover.
Extension 1 – 28 September 2020 to 3 January 2021
Extension 2 – 4 January 2021 to 28 March 2021
What has Changed?
From now on, there are two tiers of payment based on the total hours an employee or business participant worked during their reference period.
To be eligible for the first JobKeeper extension payment to 3 January 2021, the business must demonstrate a decline in GST turnover based on actual figures for the September quarter compared to a previous period.
Businesses that have not satisfied the reduction in turnover tests in previous months can still enter the system any time upon meeting the eligibility requirements.
Tests for Decline in Turnover
Most businesses will use the basic turnover test comparing this September quarter’s actual figures to the 2019 quarter, using the same calculation basis (cash or accrual) as the BAS is reported on.
Some businesses will need to use an alternative test, for example, if it was not operating during the September 2019 quarter, or if there were other circumstances that affected the turnover during that period.
Some employers who do not meet the 30% decline in turnover percentage can still access the Fair Work Act JobKeeper Provisions, which have been extended in alignment with the JobKeeper extension to 28 March 2021. The provisions allow for JobKeeper enabling stand down directions and changes to duties and/or hours worked.
Legacy employers are those who have been receiving JobKeeper payments up to 27 September, but who do not meet the 30% decline to continue receiving JobKeeper. If the business has at least 10% decline in turnover, then it can continue to use the JobKeeper provisions in the Fair Work Act.
You will need a statutory declaration (for businesses with 15 or fewer employees) or a certificate to declare the decline in turnover. Talk to us if you need the legacy employer certificate, we are approved by the ATO to issue this for you.
Employee and Business Participant Eligibility
The reference period for employee eligibility has been amended to allow more employees to become eligible for the JobKeeper payment.
The number of hours worked per week during the reference period governs the payment tier the worker will qualify for. Businesses can reference the four weeks prior to either 1 March 2020 OR 1 July 2020. The period with the greater hours should be used as the reference period.
New Rates for 28 September 2020 to 3 January 2021
$1,200 per fortnight – this rate applies to eligible employees and business participants who worked 20 hours or more per week in the reference period.
$750 per fortnight – this rate applies to employees and business participants who worked less than 20 hours per week in the reference period.
Alternative reference periods are available if unusual circumstances affect the calculation of ordinary work hours.
Employees must be notified of any changes to their payments and working arrangements.
Need Help Reviewing Your Eligibility for JobKeeper Extension?
There is a lot to consider in implementing the JobKeeper extension rules to your business. We can assist you with verifying GST turnover, assessing employee eligibility and applying alternative GST turnover tests.
You need to make the declaration by 14 October to continue receiving JobKeeper payments for this first extension period.
You may also need to assess staff who have been stood down or had hours and duties changed, and whether to further adjust hours and duties or even if you need to make some employees redundant.
Finally, you will need to adjust payroll from this week to reduce the amount of JobKeeper top-up paid, and to adjust the rate of payment in accordance with the relevant payment tier for each employee.
Full details can be found at the ATO JobKeeper Extension webpages.