Changes to JobKeeper Payment Scheme. Two young women at home looking at laptop screen.

Changes to JobKeeper Payment Scheme

As of August 7th 2020, Treasurer Josh Frydenberg announced that the recently revisited eligibility requirements for the second phase of the JobKeeper payment scheme, were to be amended once again.

Find out more about the extensions and eligibility easing of the JobKeeper payment scheme as well as what this means for hard-hit industries like Tourism, Leisure and Hospitality.


Eligibility for extension eased

Not long before Mr Frydenberg’s latest announcement, the Federal Government had announced a six-month extension of the JobKeeper payment scheme.

The Jobkeeper payment scheme was due to expire on 27 September 2020 but has now been extended and the new expiry date is 28 March 2021.

In light of the vicious outbreak in Victoria, the Federal Government made additional changes to the payment scheme in order to make it easier for employers to qualify for the JobKeeper payment and adjust eligibility criteria for employees.

Find out more about the easing of eligibility for the JobKeeper payment scheme extension in the Treasury’s fact sheet.


Changes to turnover comparisons

In order to demonstrate that a business has incurred ongoing significant decline, they must reapply and satisfy the turnover tests from 28th September 2020 and also again on 4th January 2021.

This should be measured using the actual GST turnover rather than projected GST turnovers. To be eligible for the second phase of the JobKeeper payment scheme starting 28th September, employers will have to reevaluate their actual GST turnover in the September quarter 2020, compared to that of the previous year.

Employers are no longer required to show a relevant decline in the June 2020 quarter.

For the payment scheme between 4th January 2021 and 28th March 2021, employers will be required to reference the actual GST turnover in the December quarter 2020, compared to that of the same quarter in the previous year.


Changes to the date of employment 

The treasurer also recently announced that the date of employment has also expanded. This means that there is an increase in employee eligibility for the payment scheme and the extension. 

The latest announcement revealed the eligibility of date of employment has shifted from 1st March 2020 to 1st July 2020. According to the ATO, employees are now eligible in the extension period if they:

  • Are currently employed by an eligible employer (including if stood down or re-hired)
  • Worked for the eligible employer (or another entity in their wholly-owned group) as either:
    • A full-time, part-time or fixed-term employee as at 1st July 2020; or
    • A long-term casual employee as at 1st July 2020 and not a permanent employee of any other employer
  • Were aged 18 years old at 1st July 2020 (or younger if classified independent or not undertaking full-time study)
  • Were an Australian resident
  • Did not receive any of these payments during JobKeeper fortnight:
    • Government parental leave or Dad and partner pay under the Paid Parental Leave Act 2010; or
    • Payment in accordance with Australian worker compensation law for an individual’s total incapacity for work.

You can read more about employee eligibility in the latest ATO fact sheet.


Concern for Tourism, Leisure and Hospitality businesses

A lot of these changes and easing will be good news for a number of industries. However, there is still a concern for workers and businesses operating within the Tourism, Leisure and Hospitality industries who have had to constantly juggle and adapt to new restrictions.

Much needed relief will be provided to heavily effected businesses due to eligibility criteria requiring a 30% decline in two consecutive quarters, however, will limit its reach to the wider hospitality sector.

Businesses that do not satisfy the 30% decline, yet are still experiencing hardship may result in the non-survival of many hospitality businesses. 

If you are a business owner within the Tourism, Leisure or Hospitality industries, find more information about what your affected business can do.

Source:  BDO, 2020.

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