When considering the latest JobKeeper changes, stay tethered to the facts

Neville Birthisel

There has been some confusion within the practitioner community regarding the changes announced last week to the JobKeeper scheme, as the changes appear to have implications for the existing JobKeeper arrangements, in addition to JobKeeper 2.0 starting from 28 September 2020.

The 7th August version of the Treasury fact sheet “JobKeeper Payment” states that “eligible employers will receive the payment for each eligible employee that was on their books on 1 July 2020 and continues to be engaged by that employer — including full-time, part-time, long-term casuals and stood down employees”.

It goes on to say: “Casual employees eligible for the JobKeeper Payment are those employees who have been with their employer on a regular and systematic basis for at least the previous 12 months as at 1 July 2020.”

Additionally it states “prior to 3 August 2020, the relevant date of employment for assessing which employees were eligible for the JobKeeper Payment was 1 March 2020.”

The things to note from these statements are as follows:

1.       This is only a Treasury announcement and factsheet. The current version of the JobKeeper rules still refer to 1 March 2020, so nothing is in stone yet.

2.       If we rely on the factsheet:

  1. From JobKeeper fortnight 10 (starting 3 August 2020) employees on the books as at 1 July 2020 will come into the current JobKeeper scheme;
  2. Employers will need Nomination Notices from those newly eligible employees;
  3. The 12 month test for long-term casuals is now the previous 12 months as at 1 July 2020;
  4. JobKeeper fortnight 10 is 3 Aug 2020 ~ 16 Aug 2020, so employers must meet the $1,500 wage condition for those newly eligible employees by 16 August 2020 (now the ATO have indicated to Tax & Super Australia that additional time to pay may be granted given the lack of a legislative instrument);
  5. Employers will add the new employees into the JobKeeper monthly reporting for August 2020 (due 14 September 2020).

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