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By Optometry Australia

The Federal Government has revised the second phase of the JobKeeper program and adjusted employee eligibility from 28 September through to March 2021 inclusive. It is important that you are aware of these changes.

Under Phase Two, you do not have to register existing employees on JobKeeper although payment criteria will change from 28 September as explained below. The current JobKeeper program will remain until completion of Phase One on 27 September 2020.

It is important to note the key date of 22 August 2020 for employers to notify the Australian Tax Office Commissioner of any new employee/s employed from 1 July who are now eligible for JobKeeper. Please see further details below.

Business eligibility for extended period

To access Phase Two of JobKeeper, businesses will need to re demonstrate a 30% decline in turnover during the following periods:

EXTENDED PERIOD TURNOVER TEST COMPARED TO
28 September 2020 to 4 January 2021 Actual GST turnover in the September 2020 quarter Actual GST turnover in the September quarter 2019
4 January 2021 to 28 March 2021 Actual GST turnover in the December 2020 quarter Actual GST turnover in the December quarter 2019

Businesses that no longer meet the turnover test for the newly extended period will NOT be affected with payments prior to September 28.

  • Businesses newly affected and meeting the turnover decline measurement can apply.
  • Alternative turnover tests may also apply.
  • More information on eligibility rules can be found here.

Employee eligibility

From the fortnight commencing 3 August 2020 onwards, the eligible employee test will be modified. This test will now require that the employee was employed on 1 July 2020 rather than March 2020. This will expand the scheme to include employees who have been employed during the period 1 March 2020 to 1 July 2020. Note: to avoid double dipping an employee is not eligible if they have previously nominated with another employer.

Employees will continue to receive the JobKeeper payment through their employer during the period of the extension if they, and their employer, are eligible and their employer is claiming the JobKeeper payment. However, the amount of the JobKeeper payment will change at the rates set out below. Further information for employees can be found here.

Locums and self-employed will be eligible to receive the JobKeeper payment where they meet the relevant turnover test, and who are not a permanent employee of another employer.

Key date for newly eligible employee registration

For any employee/s that become eligible employee/s from 1 July 2020, an employer on the JobKeeper scheme must provide notification of the new eligible employee/s to the Australian Tax Office Commissioner by 22 August 2020.

For the fortnights commencing on 3 August 2020 and 17 August 2020, the Australian Tax Office will allow employers until 31 August 2020 to meet the wage condition for all new eligible employees included in the JobKeeper scheme under the 1 July eligibility test.

JobKeeper revised rates

Employers and employees should note that whilst JobKeeper remains in place the payment rates will reduce.

For the period 28 September 2020 to 3 January 2021

From the 28 September 2020 to 3 January 2021 reference period, the payment rate will be $1,200 per fortnight for all eligible employees who, in the four weekly pay periods before the reference period, were working in the business for 20 hours or more a week on average. Business participants who were actively engaged in the business for more than 20 hours per week are also eligible for the same $1,200 allowance.

Employees working in the business for less than 20 hours a week on average are eligible to receive $750 per fortnight and business participants, who were actively engaged in the business less than 20 hours per week in the reference period, are also eligible for the same $750 allowance.

For the period 4 January to 28 March 2021

From the 4 January 2021 to 28 March 2021 reference period, the payment rate will reduce to $1,000 per fortnight for all eligible employees who, in the four weekly pay periods before the reference period, were working for 20 hours or more a week on average. Business participants who were actively engaged in the business for more than 20 hours per week, are also eligible for the same $1,000 allowance.

Employees working in the business for less than 20 hours a week on average are eligible to receive $650 per fortnight and business participants who were actively engaged in the business for less than 20 hours per week in the reference period, are eligible for the same $650 allowance.

Businesses will be required to nominate the payment rate they are claiming for each eligible business employee (or business participants).

More information on JobKeeper changes can be found here.

Businesses can also continue to telephone Optometry Finance Australia on 1300 678 346 for further advice.

Filed in category: Coronavirus, General news, Guidelines & practice notes, Member resources, Workforce, Workplace
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