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JobKeeper eligibility tests amended

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In light of Victoria’s coronavirus lockdown, Treasurer Josh Frydenberg announced on 7 August 2020 that the Government had made adjustments to JobKeeper eligibility by amending the requirements of the business turnover test and employee eligibility.

JobKeeper extension periods

On 21 July 2020 the Government announced a 6 month extension to the JobKeeper payment scheme for businesses that continue to be significantly impacted by COVID-19.  The extension will commence on 28 September 2020 and will continue until 28 March 2021.  The modified two tier JobKeeper scheme will be available for eligible businesses (including self employed and not-for-profits). For more information on payments to employees, click here.

Business turnover test

First Extension Period: 28 September 2020 – 3 January 202

Previously, for employers to be eligible for the first extended JobKeeper period, they were required to show the reduction of GST turnover over for both the June quarter (1st April to 30 June 2020) and the September quarter (1st July to 30 September 2020).

The recent changes mean that businesses will need to show the reduction in GST turnover for only the September quarter (1st July to 30 September 2020) to be eligible for the first extension until 03 January 2021. The decline in turnover is in comparison to the September quarter in 2019.

Second Extension Period: 4 January 2021 – 28 March 2021

In order to be eligible or to maintain JobKeeper eligibility for the period 4 January to 28 March 2021, businesses must reassess their GST turnover and demonstrate a reduction in turnover in only the December quarter (1st October to 30 December 2020) relative to the December quarter in 2019. Previously, to be eligible for the second extension period it was required that businesses demonstrated the reduction is GST turnover in the June, September and December quarters.

Turnover Test

Businesses and not-for-profits must meet the existing decline in turnover test for the relevant quarter. The turnover test must be based on actual GST turnover rather than projected GST turnover.  In satisfying the test they must demonstrate they have experienced a decline of GST turnover of:

  • 50% for those businesses with a turnover of more than $1 billion
  • 30% for those businesses with a turnover of $1 billion or less, or
  • 15% for Australian Charities and Not for Profits Commission-registered charities (excluding schools and universities)

Where it is not appropriate for a business or not-for-profit to compare actual turnover in a quarter in 2020 with actual turnover in a quarter in 2019, the Commissioner of Taxation has discretion to apply alternative tests. For example, it may be inappropriate for a business that has undergone a significant restructure after the relevant comparison period to apply the basic test and thus, an alternative test may be applied.

Employee eligibility

The recent amendment provides that eligible employees are employees who were engaged from 1 July 2020 including full-time, part-time, long-term casuals and stood down employees.

Casuals are considered eligible for JobKeeper where they have been engaged on a regular and systematic basis for the previous 12 months from 1 July 2020 and not a permanent employee of another employer. The effect of this change is to potentially expand the scope of eligible casual employees. This means that casual employees hired after 1 March 2019 and on or before 1 July 2019 may now be eligible if they are engaged on a regular and systematic basis.  It is not clear how this assessment will be made for casual employee who were engaged on a regular and systematic basis for less than 12 months before 1 March 2019 and who have not been engaged since that time.

Eligibility

The JobKeeper payments remain open to new recipients provided the eligibility requirements and turnover tests are met. Existing recipients and new applicants who meet the eligibility requirements will need to apply for the extension once the initial JobKeeper scheme concludes on 28 September 2020.

Not sure of your obligations?

If you would like to know more about JobKeeper or need assistance in preparing your business for its eventual phasing out, please contact us and a Mapien Workplace Strategist will be in contact within 24 hours.

Written by
Rebecca Kirupairajah
With a naturally warm and approachable manner, Rebecca quickly builds rapport and gains the respect and trust of her colleagues and the clients she works with. Working across the broad range of Employment & Industrial Relations functions, Rebecca is focused on providing high quality work that is timely, tailored and innovative.