Insight

JobKeeper 1.0 expanded and 2.0 relaxed

Nicole Bradley Nicole Bradley

It didn’t take long for the numbers from the Treasurer’s economic update to be blown out with the spike in COVID cases in Melbourne resulting in the current stage 4 restrictions.

Today the Treasurer Josh Frydenberg confirmed relaxation of JobKeeper eligibility criteria to enable more businesses and their employees to access essential support. It’s expected that the blow from stage 4 restrictions in Melbourne on the economy will be in the range of $10b - $12b in the September quarter, with up to 400k Melbourne jobs at risk.

And to reflect the sudden impact of the current restrictions, from the fortnight commencing 3 August 2020, employees employed as at 1 July 2020 will now be eligible for both the existing and extended JobKeeper schemes.

There are two main changes:

  • Relaxed turnover test. To qualify for JobKeeper in the December quarter businesses will only need to demonstrate a decline in the September quarter and not the June and September quarter as previously announced. This means that businesses that had experienced a rebound before the stage 4 restrictions won’t be penalised.
  • More employees eligible. Workers employed as at 1 July 2020 will now be eligible for JobKeeper. The reference period for employees to determine their tier of payment will be the two fortnightly pay periods prior to either 1 March 2020 or 1 July 2020. The period with the higher number of hours is to be used for employees who were employed on both 1 March 2020 and 1 July 2020.

 

The ATO will have the discretion to apply alternative tests if the working hours during February or June 2020 were not normal due to, for example, the taking of leave, volunteering to fight bushfires or where an employee was not employed at all during these periods.

There is no change to the previously announced two tier wage subsidy amounts.

The expected cost of today’s changes is expected to cost an additional $15b and brings the total investment into the program to over $100b.

To learn more about your eligibility for JobKeeper and support with your application, please reach out to your Grant Thornton contact.

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