As you may have heard this week, the Federal Government has announced another round of stimulus/support measures past the end of September, extending support for eligible businesses through to March 2021.
While of course there is no legislation yet, here is what we know so far.
Staying The Same
- There are no changes to the original JobKeeper Scheme. If you have been eligible and enrolled in JobKeeper 1.0, you will continue to be eligible for payments for the period up to 27 September 2020.
- Employee eligibility criteria for JobKeeper 2.0 will remain the same as it is now.
- The percentage downturn required for small businesses is still 30%.
- JobKeeper 2.0 will continue to be open to new applicants, as long as they meet the eligibility criteria.
The Changes (From 28 September 2020 to 28 March 2021)
- Businesses will only be eligible if they show they have experienced an ongoing downturn in business in the June AND September quarters. This eligibility has to be assessed at end of September, and then re-assessed again at end of December (with ongoing downturn for June, September AND December quarters).
- Similar to the current JobKeeper scheme, the comparison period (pending any “alternative tests” set out by the ATO) will be against the comparable period in 2019 (for example: the June 2019 and September 2019 quarters). If your business fails the turnover test in one of those quarters, the business is not eligible for any further payments. The test is not a cumulative total across the quarters.
- Payment rates are also reducing, and will be tiered based on whether employees were working an average of 20+ hours per week, in the 4 weeks before 1 March 2020.
- The above 20-hour requirement applies to testing eligible business participants (sole traders, partners, directors, shareholders, beneficiaries) as well. That is, an eligible business participant must be actively engaged in the business for 20 hours or more per week on average in the four weeks prior to 1 March 2020.
- 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. For example, this will include where the employee was on leave, volunteering during the bushfires, or not employed for all or part of February 2020.
Note that if you are already enrolled in JobKeeper 1.0, we will be contacting you in due course to discuss your eligibility for the second round. If you have any queries or concerns in the meantime, please email firstname.lastname@example.org and we will contact you within 48 hours. Otherwise, we will be in touch again once legislation / ATO guidance / further details are available.