NOTE: This article has been updated to reflect changes announced on the 7th of August 2020 the changes were:
Eligibility for the December quarter will now be based only on turnover for the September quarter rather than needing to demonstrate the required drop in turnover for both the June and September quarters
Eligibility for the March quarter will now be based only on turnover for the December quarter rather than needing to demonstrate the required drop in turnover for all of the June, September and December quarters
The reference date for eligible employees has been moved from 1 March 2020 to 1 July 2020
The Government has announced an extension of the JobKeeper scheme to the 28th of March 2021. The catch is that there will be a new test for eligibility and payment rates will reduce.
The basic rules of the JobKeeper scheme are unchanged (except for moving the reference date for eligible employees to July) and there is no impact on eligibility prior to September 27 2020. If you were already receiving JobKeeper, your eligibility wont be retested until the 28th of September.
Am I eligible for a JobKeeper extension?
To be eligible for JobKeeper after the 27th of September, there will be a fresh test of whether your turnover has dropped. The amount of drop required is unchanged to what you used previously and in most cases is a 30% drop. To be eligible for JobKeeper in the December 2020 quarter you need to be able to show that your actual turnover for the September 2020 quarter has decreased by the required percentage in comparison to the test period. The basic test period is to compare September 2020 with September 2019. There will be some alternative tests of eligibility for businesses who don't have a representative test period like there was for the first stage of JobKeeper. These will be determined by the ATO and have not been announced as yet.
The same rules will apply to eligibility for the March 2021 quarter except that you will need to show that your turnover has dropped by the required amount for the December 2020 quarter.
These eligibility requirements are harder to meet than the original JobKeeper rules as you need to show a drop for a quarter rather than a month and you cant use projected turnover. This will mean that many businesses currently receiving JobKeeper will not be eligible for payments after the 27th of September.
What are the payment rates?
The current payment rate for JobKeeper is $1,500 per fortnight for all eligible employees. From the 28th of September there will be two payment tiers. Eligible employees who worked more than 20 hours per week on average in either the four weeks prior to 1 March or the four weeks prior to 1 July will receive the full payment while those who worked less than 20 hours per week in both of those periods will receive a lower payment.
The eligibility conditions for employees have changed from the fortnight starting 3rd August 2020 to be that the employee needs to have been employed and over 18 at the 1st of July 2020 if a full time or part time employee or employed for at least 12 months as at the 1st of July 2020 if they are a casual worker.