JobKeeper Payment Extension
The JobKeeper Payment, which was originally due to run until 27 September 2020, will now continue to be available to eligible businesses (including the self-employed) and not-for-profits until 28 March 2021. The payment rate will be reduced and a lower payment rate will be introduced for those who work fewer hours. Other eligibility rules remain unchanged.
JobKeeper Payment rate
From 28 September 2020 to 3 January 2021, the JobKeeper payment rates will be:
• $1,200 per fortnight for all eligible employees who, in the four weeks of pay periods before 1 March 2020, were working in the business for 20 hours or more a week on average, and for eligible business participants who were actively engaged in the business for 20 hours or more per week on average in the month of February 2020; and
• $750 per fortnight for other eligible employees and business participants.
From 4 January 2021 to 28 March 2021, the JobKeeper payment rates will be:
• $1,000 per fortnight for all eligible employees who, in the four weeks of pay periods before 1 March 2020, were working in the business for 20 hours or more a week on average and for business participants who were actively engaged in the business for 20 hours or more per week on average in the month of February 2020; and
• $650 per fortnight for other eligible employees and business participants.
Businesses and not-for-profts will be required to nominate which payment rate they are claiming for each of their eligible employees (or business participants).
The Commissioner of Taxation will have discretion to set out alternative tests where an employee's or business participant's hours were not usual during the February 2020 reference period. Guidance will be provided by the ATO where the employee was paid in non-weekly or non-fortnightly pay periods and in other circumstances the general rules do not cover.
Additional turnover tests
In order to be eligible for the JobKeeper Payment after 27 September 2020, business and not-for-profits will have to meet a further decline in turnover test for each of the two periods of extension, as well as meeting the other existing eligibility requirements for the JobKeeper Payment.
To be eligible for the first JobKeeper Payment extension period of 28 September 2020 to 3 January 2021, businesses and not-for-profits will need to demonstrate that their actual GST turnover has significantly fallen in the both the June quarter 2020 (April, May, June) and the September quarter 2020 (July, August, September) relative to comparable periods (generally the corresponding quarters in 2019).
To be eligible for the second JobKeeper Payment extension period of 4 January 2021 to 28 March 2021, businesses and not-for-profits will again need to demonstrate that their actual GST turnover has significantly fallen in each of the June, September and December 2020 quarters relative to comparable periods (generally the corresponding quarters in 2019).
Businesses and not-for-profits will need to assess their eligibility for JobKeeper in advance of the BAS deadline in order to meet the wage condition where they are required to pay their eligible employees in advance of receiving the JobKeeper payment in arrears from the ATO. The Commissioner of Taxation will have discretion to extend the time an entity has to pay employees in order to meet the wage condition, so that entities have time to first confirm their eligibility for the JobKeeper Payment.
To be eligible for JobKeeper Payments under the extension, businesses and not-for-profits will need to demonstrate that they have experienced a decline in turnover of:
• 50 per cent for those with an aggregated turnover of more than $1 billion;
• 30 per cent for those with an aggregated turnover of $1 billion or less; or
• 15 per cent for Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission-registered charities (excluding schools and universities).
The eligibility rules for employees remain unchanged. This means you are eligible if you:
• are currently employed by an eligible employer (including if you were stood down or re-hired)
• were for the eligible employer (or another entity in their wholly-owned group) either:
– a full-time, part-time or fixed-term employee at 1 March 2020; or
– a long-term casual employee (employed on a regular and systematic basis for at least
12 months) as at 1 March 2020 and not a permanent employee of any other employer.
• were aged 18 years or older at 1 March 2020 (if you were 16 or 17 you can also qualify for fortnights
before 11 May 2020, and continue to qualify after that if you are independent or not undertaking
full time study).
• were either:
– an Australian resident (within the meaning of the Social Security Act 1991); or
– an Australian resident for the purpose of the Income Tax Assessment Act 1936 and the
holder of a Subclass 444 (Special Category) visa as at 1 March 2020.
• were not in receipt of any of these payments during the JobKeeper fortnight:
– government parental leave or Dad and partner pay under the Paid Parental Leave Act
– a payment in accordance with Australian worker compensation law for an individual's
total incapacity for work.
Only one employer can claim the JobKeeper Payment in respect of an employee.
The self-employed will be eligible to receive the JobKeeper Payment where they meet the relevant turnover test, and are not a permanent employee of another employer.
Small business grant to help with power bills
The Government has announced that from 6 July 2020, small businesses across Australia can apply for a share in $9 million of grants under the Government's Energy Efficient Communities Program. Up to $20,000 will be available to small businesses with an annual turnover of less than $10 million to upgrade equipment to reduce energy consumption, invest in monitoring systems to better manage energy use and conduct energy audits to investigate other opportunities for efficiency. Small business owners who wish to apply for a grant can access the guidelines and application forms at business.gov.au, or by telephone on 13 28 46.