Jobkeeper Payment eligibility changed – Take action now

If your business is accessing the JobKeeper Payments system, the rules around which employees are eligible have changed with immediate effect. This means that you need to take action now.

The key change to the JobKeeper rules is that the previous 1 March 2020 employee eligibility date has been updated to 1 July 2020.  This means that more of your employees may now be eligible for JobKeeper.  Because the ‘one in, all in’ principle applies for JobKeeper, if you don’t act now to see if more of your employees are eligible, you could be putting at risk your business’ eligibility for the JobKeeper Payments.

To assist you in taking the necessary actions by the relevant times, we’ve prepared this handy checklist.

1. Immediately review your list of employees

Go through your employee list and identify those staff who are not currently accessing JobKeeper (you don’t need to do anything further for those staff already on JobKeeper, as these rule changes won’t impact them and they don’t need to complete any additional forms). From that list of those not currently accessing JobKeeper, consider which employees may now be eligible for JobKeeper in light of the employee eligibility date becoming 1 July 2020 rather than 1 March 2020. Examples of employees who may now be eligible include:

  • New full-time or part-time staff who were employed by the business by 1 July 2020 (for example they may’ve commenced with the business in June 2020, so weren’t previously eligible for JobKeeper).
  • Casuals who by 1 July 2020 met the ‘long-term casual employee’ requirement (for example they had commenced with the business in May 2019, so previously they hadn’t met the 12-month requirement, but with the new date of 1 July 2020, they now satisfy that aspect).
  • Employees who turned 18 by 1 July (for example their 18th birthday was in June 2020).
  • Employees who became an Australian resident during the period 1 March 2020 to 1 July 2020.

Employees also have the ability in certain circumstances to re-nominate for JobKeeper with another employer if their circumstances have changed (previously if the employee had nominated for JobKeeper with one business, they couldn’t nominate with another business).  While an individual can only be nominated for JobKeeper with one business at a time, this may be relevant if an employee previously worked for a business that was on JobKeeper, but subsequently closed down or terminated that staff member’s employment, and the employee has now found employment with another business that is on JobKeeper.

2. By 21 August 2020 send out notifications

If your work at step 1) identified any employees who may be eligible for JobKeeper as a result of the rule changes, send those employees notification that your business is accessing JobKeeper and ask them if they agree to be nominated.  The ATO Employee Nomination Notice can be accessed here. It has been updated for these rule changes and can be used for the notification by an employer and nomination by an employee.

3. By 31 August 2020 make top-up payments to all eligible employees

If an employee identified above agrees to be nominated (and promptly provides you with the completed nomination form), they are eligible for JobKeeper from JobKeeper fortnight 10, which commenced on 3 August 2020.  This means that you will need to ensure they have received the requisite $1,500/fortnight for both the 3 August – 16 August and 17 August – 30 August fortnights. This needs to take place by 31 August 2020 and must also be appropriately recorded in the business’ payroll software.

4. By early September 2020 prepare your August declaration

When preparing your August declaration, note that while three JobKeeper fortnights ended during the month of August, the newly eligible employees will only be eligible for JobKeeper for twoof those fortnights. Accordingly, be careful when completing your declaration to ensure that all relevant employees are included for the appropriate August fortnights.

5. Ongoing monitoring of September 2020 quarter turnover

While they remain only announcements only at this stage, the Federal Government has flagged that the JobKeeper scheme will be extended beyond its initial end date of 27 September 2020.  At this stage, ongoing eligibility will likely be in part dependent on whether the actual September 2020 quarterly turnover is down by the requisite percentage (30% for most businesses).  Accordingly, businesses should be monitoring their results to determine whether it is likely that they may be eligible for JobKeeper beyond 27 September.

For more information on the Federal Government’s JobKeeper scheme, please visit our JobKeeper FAQs here.

Jobkeeper Payment eligibility changed – Take action now

Greg Travers

Greg is the national leader of the Tax Services division. Recognised as one of Australia’s leading tax advisors, Greg has assisted countless businesses, individuals and families to deal with the often difficult situation of an ATO or State Revenue audit. Greg also specialises in international tax working with overseas businesses as they set up and operate in Australia, and assisting Australian businesses that are venturing overseas.

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