Important Changes to JobKeeper

Apr 29, 2020

The JobKeeper rules have been constantly updated and amended to fix unintended loopholes and provide greater flexibility. These include an extension of time to make payment and the exclusion of 16 and 17 year old students who are not financially independent.

Some of the important changes include:

Extension of time to pay the first two fortnights

Many employers have struggled to obtain the funds required to pay their employees in advance. The JobKeeper scheme requires that all eligible employees are paid at least $1,500 per fortnight. Reimbursement of this by the Government doesn't come until the start of the month after payments are made. To provide more time for employers to arrange finance and register for the scheme, the payment due date for the first two JobKeeper fortnights (30 March to 12 April & 13 April to 26 April) has been extended to the 8th of May. All following fortnights need to be paid before the end of the relevant fortnight. The first of these is the fortnight ending the 10th of May with payment due by the 10th of May. If you are utilising the payment extension you will need to arrange funding for at least the first three fortnights to be available before there is any chance of a reimbursement from the Government.

Extension of time to lodge your application

The time employers need to apply for JobKeeper has also been extended. The new due date is the 31st of May BUT to be eligible all eligible employees must have been paid for the first two fortnights by the 8th of May and the next two fortnights must have also been paid on time. This extension could be useful for employers who need more certainty about what their turnover will be for the month of April or the June quarter is before applying.

Removal of Eligibility for some students

Full time students aged 16 or 17 at the 1st of March 2020 who are not financially independent are no longer eligible employees. This is an important change as these employees were previously eligible and may have already been enrolled and paid extra wages. The change is prospective so any wage payments already made still qualify for JobKeeper but no further JobKeeper payments will be made for these employees.

Alternative methods for calculating a drop in turnover

New methods have been allowed by the Commissioner to account for certain situations. If you satisfy the basic test you do not need to consider the alternative tests. There are alternative tests can apply where an entity:

  • was not commenced 12 months ago
  • acquired or disposed part of their business or undertook a restructure in the last 12 months
  • has had turnover substantially increase by 50% in the 12 months prior to the test month, 25% in 6 months prior to the test month or 12.5% in 3 months prior to the test month
  • was affected by drought or natural disaster
  • has a large irregular variance in their turnover that is not seasonal
  • is a sole trader or small partnership where sickness, injury or leave have impacted on an individual's ability to work

A new test has also been made for service entities that supply labour to a related entity