The first tranche of JobKeeper ended on 27 September 2020 (commenced 30 March 2020). The second tranche runs from 28 September to 3 January 2021 and the third tranche runs from 4 January 2021 to 28 March 2021.
To access JobKeeper payments fom 28 September 2020, a business must:
- Meet the extended decline in turnover test;
- Identify eligible employees;
- Meet the wage condition for eligible employees; and
- Determine the JobKeeper rate applicable to each employee (and business participant if applicable).
These are addressed in turn below.
This information focuses on the extension to JobKeeper for clients who are already enrolled. Clients that are enrolling for the first time, need to meet the basic eligibility test and the decline in turnover test/s for the relevant period.
- The decline in turnover test
For clients already enrolled in JobKeeper, to receive payments from 28 September 2020, they need to meet an extended decline in turnover test based on actual GST turnover.
Tranche 2: (28 September to 3 January 2021): Actual GST turnover in the September 2020 quarter (July, August & September) fell by at least 30% (15% for ACNC-registered charities, 50% for large businesses) compared to the same period in 2019.
Tranche 3: (4 January 2021 to 28 March 2021): Actual GST turnover in the December 2020 quarter (October, November & December) fell by at least 30% (15% for ACNC-registered charities, 50% for large businesses) compared to the same period in 2019.
Calculating GST turnover for tranches 2 and 3 of JobKeeper is different to the original JobKeeper requirements, as businesses:
- Will only be using current GST turnover figures (not projected GST turnover);
- Businesses that are registered for GST must use the same method that is used for GST reporting purposes. That is, if the business is registered for GST on a cash basis then a cash basis needs to be used to calculate current GST turnover for the purpose of these new tests; and
- Businesses that are not registered for GST can choose whether to calculate GST turnover using a cash or accruals basis, but must use a consistent method.
For more information on the Basic & Alternative decline in turnover tests see https://www.ato.gov.au/General/JobKeeper-Payment/In-detail/Actual-decline-in-turnover-test/
- Eligible employees
Originally, an employee had to be employed by the business on 1 March 2020 to be eligible for JobKeeper payments. Someone employed as a casual on that date also must have been employed on a regular and systematic basis for the 12 month period leading up to 1 March 2020.
From 3 August 2020, employees who were previously ineligible for JobKeeper may be able to receive JobKeeper payments if they were employed by the business on 1 July 2020 and can fulfil all of the other eligibility requirements. If an employee already passed all the relevant conditions at 1 March 2020 then they don’t need to be retested using the 1 July 2020 test date.
- Wage condition
To be eligible to receive JobKeeper payments, the employer must have paid the eligible employee at least the applicable JobKeeper payment for the relevant fortnight. The ATO reimburses the employer for the JobKeeper payment monthly in arrears.
For the JobKeeper fortnights starting 28 September 2020 and 12 October 2020 the ATO is allowing employers until 31 October 2020 to meet the wage condition for all employees included in the JobKeeper scheme.
- JobKeeper payments rates
4.1 Payment rates
From 28 September 2020, the payment rate for JobKeeper will taper from the original (tranche 1) flat rate of $1,500 and split into higher and lower rate tiers.
The higher rate will be paid if an employee works more than 80 hours in the reference period.
|JobKeeper payment||30 March to 27 September 2020
|28 September to 3 January 2021
|4 January 2021 to 28 March 2021
|Tier 1: Worked 80 hours or more in the reference period||$1,500 per fortnight per employee||$1,200 per fortnight per employee or business participant||$1,000 per fortnight per employee or business participant|
|Tier 2: Worked less than 80 hours in the reference period||$750 per fortnight per employee or business participant||$650 per fortnight per employee or business participant|
If the pay cycle is longer than 28 days, a pro-rata calculation needs to be completed to determine the average hours worked across an equivalent 28 day period.
For more information on the payment rates see https://www.ato.gov.au/General/JobKeeper-Payment/Payment-rates/
4.2 Reference period & applicable hours
The reference period and applicable hours are summarised in the table below.
|Eligible employees||The 28 days finishing on the last day of the last pay period that ended before either:
· 1 March 2020, or
· 1 July 2020.
|Actual hours worked including any hours for which they received paid leave (e.g., annual, long service, sick, carers and other forms of paid leave) or paid absence for public holidays. An employee’s ‘actual’ hours might be different to their contracted, ordinary hours or hours they are paid for.|
|Eligible business participants||February 2020 (29 days)||Active engagement in the business.|
For eligible employees who have been employed since 1 March 2020, employers need to choose the reference period that provides the best outcome for the employees. For many employers, this will be the pre COVID-19, 1 March 2020 reference date. For eligible employees employed since 1 July 2020, use the pay periods prior to 1 July 2020.
4.3 Alternative reference period
There may be circumstances where the pre-March or the pre-July reference periods are not suitable for some eligible employees.
If an employee does not satisfy the 80-hour threshold in the standard pre-March or pre-July reference periods, a business should consider whether they satisfy it using an alternative reference period.
This may be the case where the:
- reference period is not typical of the employee’s hours or you use a rostering system and there is no typical pattern in a 28 day period;
- employee started work during the reference period;
- sale of business or changes within a group; or
- salary is not linked to hours.
For more information on the reference period see https://www.ato.gov.au/General/JobKeeper-Payment/Payment-rates/80-hour-threshold-for-employees/
4.4 Business owners and sole traders
The reference period for business participants is the month of February 2020 (the whole 29 days).
The test to determine eligibility is based on the hours of active engagement in the business carried on by the business. This requires an assessment of the hours that the business participant was actively operating the business or undertaking specific tasks in business development and planning, regulatory compliance or similar activities in an applicable reference period.
Where February 2020 was not typical of the participant’s hours, an alternative test can be used:
- Not typical – use the next typical 29 day period
- Commenced work during February 2020 – use March 2020
Please contact Brealey Quill Kenny Canning Vale, should you have any questions with the above on 9256 2777.