Pub­li­ca­tions

COVID-19 | Updat­ed Job­Keep­er Scheme

On 21 July 2020, the Fed­er­al Gov­ern­ment announced that it would be extend­ing the Job­Keep­er pay­ment scheme for eli­gi­ble employ­ers until 28 March 2021.

The Job­Keep­er scheme, which was orig­i­nal­ly due to come to an end on 27 Sep­tem­ber 2020, will now be tar­get­ed towards those busi­ness­es and not-for-prof­its which con­tin­ue to be sig­nif­i­cant­ly impact­ed by the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Notably, new eli­gi­bil­i­ty cri­te­ria and pay­ment rates apply. 

Eli­gi­bil­i­ty

To be eli­gi­ble for con­tin­ued sup­port under the Job­Keep­er scheme from 28 Sep­tem­ber 2020 to 3 Jan­u­ary 2021, busi­ness­es and not-for-prof­its will be required to show that they are suf­fer­ing an ongo­ing sig­nif­i­cant decline in turnover by ref­er­ence to actu­al GST turnover. To do this, they will need to demon­strate the rel­e­vant decline in turnover by ref­er­ence to their actu­al GST turnover in both the June 2020 and Sep­tem­ber 2020 quar­ters rel­a­tive to com­pa­ra­ble peri­ods (which will gen­er­al­ly be the 2019 cor­re­spond­ing quarters). 

To receive addi­tion­al Job­Keep­er pay­ments past 4 Jan­u­ary 2021 until the end of the scheme on 28 March 2021, busi­ness­es and not-for-prof­its will also need to demon­strate the rel­e­vant decline in GST turnover in each June 2020, Sep­tem­ber 2020 and Decem­ber 2020 quar­ters rel­a­tive to com­pa­ra­ble periods. 

As with the exist­ing rules, the size of the required decline in turnover depends upon the size of the busi­ness. That is:

  • 50 per cent decline in turnover for those busi­ness­es with an aggre­gat­ed turnover of more than $1 billion;
  • 30 per cent decline in turnover for those busi­ness­es with an aggre­gat­ed turnover of $1 bil­lion or less; or
  • 15 per cent decline in turnover for ACNC reg­is­tered charities. 

The eli­gi­bil­i­ty require­ments per­tain­ing to employ­ees have not been changed. 

Pay­ment Rate

As it cur­rent­ly stands, the Job­Keep­er pay­ment rate for eli­gi­ble employ­ers is $1,500 per fort­night per eli­gi­ble employee. 

From 28 Sep­tem­ber 2020, that rate will be reduced to $1,200 per fort­night. The rate will again be reduced on 4 Jan­u­ary 2021 to $1,000 per fort­night for the eli­gi­ble employ­ees of those employ­ers who are able to demon­strate their con­tin­u­ing eligibility. 

Notably, how­ev­er, from 28 Sep­tem­ber 2020 dif­fer­ent rates will start to apply to those employ­ees and busi­ness par­tic­i­pants who work few­er than 20 hours per week (on aver­age). Employ­ees and busi­ness par­tic­i­pants work­ing few­er than 20 hours per week will be enti­tled to $750 per fort­night between 28 Sep­tem­ber 2020 to 3 Jan­u­ary 2021. That amount will reduce to $650 per fort­night from 4 Jan­u­ary 2021 to 28 March 2021

Direc­tions and Requests

In April 2020, the Fed­er­al Gov­ern­ment intro­duced amend­ments to the Fair Work Act to allow employ­ers eli­gi­ble for the Job­Keep­er scheme to tem­porar­i­ly vary the work­ing arrange­ments of eli­gi­ble employ­ees through issu­ing Job­Keep­er Enabling Direc­tions and Requests. The pur­pose of these changes was to pro­vide employ­ers with greater flex­i­bil­i­ty with the aim of keep­ing more peo­ple employed. We wrote about the scope and effect of these changes here.

At the time of writ­ing, there has been no indi­ca­tion by the Gov­ern­ment that these tem­po­rary mea­sures will be con­tin­ued past their present date of expiry on 28 Sep­tem­ber 2020. As such, if this remains the case, any cur­rent­ly issued Job­Keep­er Enabling Direc­tions and/​or Requests will cease on that date. 

These mea­sures have been a fun­da­men­tal (although some­times over­looked) com­po­nent of the Job­Keep­er scheme. Employ­ers who might con­tin­ue to be eli­gi­ble for Job­Keep­er sup­port beyond the end of Sep­tem­ber should keep a close eye on any announce­ments in respect of the con­tin­u­a­tion of Job­Keep­er Enabling Direc­tions and/​or Requests.