Between April to May 2020, JobKeeper was taken up by 920,000 organisations and around 3.5 million individuals.
In July, the Government announced it is extending the program until 28th March 2021 and is targeting support to those businesses and not-for-profits which continue to be significantly impacted by the Coronavirus.
There are two separate extension periods. For each extension period, an additional actual fall in turnover test applies and the rate of the JobKeeper payment is different.
The second phase of JobKeeper kicks off on 28th September and will run to 3rd January 2021.
To continue receiving JobKeeper payments, employers will need to reassess their eligibility with reference to actual fall in turnover of at least 30% for the September 2020 quarter, including calculations of GST turnover for the September 2019 comparison quarter.
While the ATO has yet to provide specific details on how this calculation should be undertaken, Business Activity Statements (BAS) will be integral.
The ATO says it will make some alternative tests available for special circumstances soon.
The same fortnightly payment schedule as the first phase of the program will apply, including existing wage payment deadlines.
Under JobKeeper 2.0 there will be two tiers of payments, depending on how many hours staff have worked for in the past.
While it was initially announced workers would receive the higher tier of payments if they worked 20 hours or more for their employer each week in February, the ATO has since moved to a monthly measurement.
Under new guidance, eligible employees who worked 80 hours or more in the four weekly pay periods before either 1st March or 1st July will receive the tier one rate, worth $1,200 per fortnight before tax.
All other eligible staff that do not meet this threshold will be paid under the second tier, worth $750 a fortnight.
Businesses are required to nominate the rate they are claiming for each eligible worker, but do not need to re-assess eligibility or gain additional permission for staff that are already being paid under the program.
As was the case under JobKeeper phase one, businesses are required to meet the minimum wage condition (i.e. paying their workers first) before being reimbursed through the subsidy scheme.
Sole traders looking to claim JobKeeper payments for themselves under the second phase will need to provide declarations about their involvement in their businesses during February.
Essentially, eligible business participants must have been actively engaged in their business for 80 hours or more in February to claim the higher tier of payments, worth $1,200 per fortnight.
Sole traders who do not make this declaration will be entitled to the lower tier, worth $750 a fortnight.
From 4th January, 2021 to 28th March, 2021, JobKeeper will move from phase two to a third stage.
JobKeeper 3.0 will allegedly be the same as the second phase, albeit with lower payments:
- The first (higher) tier will be worth $1,000 per fortnight; and
- The second (lower) tier will be worth $650 per fortnight.
This second extension will require businesses to demonstrate an actual fall in GST turnover of at least 30% in the December 2020 quarter against a comparable period in 2019.
If your business and your employees passed the original eligibility tests to access JobKeeper, and you have fulfilled your wage requirements, you can continue to claim JobKeeper up until the last JobKeeper fortnight that ends on 27th September 2020.
Further information regarding JobKeeper 2.0 can be found in the links below.