New test date for employees
The Government has announced further changes to the JobKeeper scheme. The good news is that employees that missed out on JobKeeper because they were not employed on 1 March 2020 might now be eligible. The proposed changes would enable employees employed on 1 July 2020 to receive JobKeeper payments from 3 August if they meet the other eligibility criteria. If you have employees impacted by this change, you will still need to work through the eligibility requirements including providing JobKeeper Payment Employee Nomination.
In practical terms this means:
If someone commenced employment with your entity after 1 March 2020, but before 1 July 2020 – and they were an employee of your entity on that date – then they can potentially be eligible for JobKeeper from 3 August 2020 onwards, assuming all other basic conditions are met.
- Casuals who hadn’t been employed for at least 12 months leading up to 1 March 2020 can potentially be eligible for JobKeeper if they have been employed on a regular and systematic basis for at least 12 months leading up to 1 July 2020 (assuming all other basic conditions are met).
- Individuals who failed the age-related conditions or residency conditions at 1 March 2020 can potentially be eligible employees if they met those conditions on 1 July 2020.
NB: Employers need to ensure that they identify all additional employees who could be eligible for JobKeeper to ensure that they comply with the “one in, all in” principle and that they meet the nomination requirements.
Extended deadline for top-up payments
Crucially, the ATO has announced that the deadline for making payments for new eligible employees for JobKeeper fortnights starting on 3 August 2020 and 17 August 2020 has been extended to 31 August 2020 (ie, to meet the condition for employers to pay at least $1,500 to eligible employees in each JobKeeper fortnight).
Employees who have moved to a new employer
The other key change to the rules is that someone who was previously nominated for JobKeeper with an entity as an eligible employee or eligible business participant can potentially be nominated for JobKeeper with a different entity if certain conditions are met. The individual must have ceased to be employed or actively engaged in the business (as a business participant) of the original entity after 1 March 2020 but before 1 July 2020. They must also meet the conditions to be treated as an eligible employee of the new employer at 1 July 2020.
JobKeeper will also be extended beyond 27 September 2020. To receive JobKeeper from 28 September 2020, employers will need to reassess their eligibility with reference to actual GST turnover for the September 2020 quarter (for JobKeeper payments between 28 September to 3 January 2021), and again for the December 2020 quarter (for payments between 4 January 2021 to 28 March 2021).
Most businesses will generally use their Business Activity Statement (BAS) reporting to assess eligibility. However, as the BAS is generally not due until the month after the end of the quarter, eligibility for JobKeeper will need to be assessed in advance of the BAS reporting deadlines to meet the wage condition for eligible employees.
However, the ATO will have discretion to extend the time an entity has to pay employees in order to meet the wage condition.
From 28 September 2020 the payment rates for JobKeeper will reduce and split into a higher and lower rate. Whether an eligible employee can access the higher or lower rate will depend on the number of hours they worked during a 4-week test period. The higher rate will apply to employees who worked at least 20 hours a week on average in the four weeks of pay periods prior to either 1 March 2020 or 1 July 2020. Between 28 September 2020 and 3 January 2021, the higher rate is $1,200 per fortnight, and $750 for the lower rate. Between 4 January and 28 March 2021, the higher rate is $1,000 per fortnight and $650 for the lower rate.
|JobKeeper payment rate||30 Mar to 27 Sept 2020||28 Sept to 3 Jan 2021||4 Jan 2021 to 28 Mar 2021|
|< 20 hours||$1,500||$1,200||$1,000|
|> 20 hours||$1,500||$750||$650|
Cashflow boost payments
If your business received the first cashflow boost tranche, you will receive a further cashflow boost for the June to September quarters of the same amount. If you report quarterly, the cashflow boost will be paid in two equal payments for June and September. If you report monthly, the cashflow boost is provided in four equal payments.
The cashflow boost is applied to reduce any liabilities in the same reporting period with any excess amount being paid as a cash refund from the ATO.
Support for business employing apprentices and trainees
JobTrainer provides a 50% reimbursement to eligible employers for the cost of apprentice or trainee wages up to $7,000 per quarter. Originally only for small businesses employing less than 20 employees, the subsidy recently expanded to include businesses with under 200 employees.
For small businesses (under 20 employees), the apprentice had to be employed on 1 March 2020 or on 1 July 2020 for claims after this date (claims are open now). For medium sized businesses (under 200 employees), the apprentice had to be employed on 1 July 2020 (claims open 1 October 2020). To access the subsidy, you will need to provide evidence of wages paid to the apprentice.
The subsidy is also accessible to larger employers employing apprentices let go by a small/medium business where that apprentice was eligible for the wage subsidy.
The subsidy is scheduled to end on 31 March 2021.
In addition to general waivers, reductions or rebates on some Government licensing and fees, each State and Territory has some form of support accessible to certain businesses impacted by COVID-19.
|Adaption grant||Funding of up to $10,000 for regional micro and small businesses to adapt and sustain operations.||When allocation exhausted|
|Payroll tax relief||Payroll tax deferrals for the 2020 calendar year.||31 Dec. 2020|
New South Wales
|Payroll tax deferral||Option of deferring 2019-20 payroll tax to October 2020. Instalment plans can be entered into after October 2020.
Payroll tax threshold has increased to $1m for 2020-21.
|Small business recovery grant||Grants of between $500 and $3,000 to help small business reopen safely.||16 Aug. 2020|
|Export assistance grants||Up to $10,000 for up to 1,000 eligible small or medium NSW export businesses that have experienced disruptions to freight channels or reductions in orders. Opening soon.|
|Business Support Fund||One-off grant of $10,000 for employers in metropolitan Melbourne and Mitchell Shire and $5,000 in regional local government areas.||14 Sept. 2020|
|Regional Tourism Accommodation Support||Up to $225 per night up to a maximum of $1,125 per bookable accommodation for cancelled bookings during stage 3 restrictions.||19 Aug. 2020|
|CBD Business Support Fund||$20m fund for CBD businesses. No details available as yet but register your interest.|
|Night-time economy support||$30m fund for hospitality businesses. No details available as yet but register your interest.|
|Payroll tax deferrals||Businesses with payrolls up to $10 million can defer their liabilities for the first half of the 2020-21 financial year.|
|Payroll tax refunds||Eligible businesses can claim an emergency tax relief refund of payroll tax already paid in the 2019-20 financial year.|
Australian Capital Territory
|Rate deferrals||Rate deferrals for commercial property owners affected by COVID-19.||1 April 2021|
|Payroll tax deferral||All ACT businesses with Australia-wide wages of up to $10 million can apply to defer their 2020-21 payroll tax, until 1 July 2022.|
|Business hardship package||A package of concessions including payroll tax waiver or deferral, council rates, utilities and rate concessions.||30 Sept. 2020|
|Support when employing apprentices||A range of grants and support when you hire an apprentice – up to $5,000 for hiring an apprentice, $1,500 on equipment reimbursement, and up to $5,200 off the Group Training Organisation charge out rate.||Generally 31 Aug. 2020|
|Small business sustainability||Grants of up to $5,000 for businesses with fewer than 20 employees to reopen and rebuild.||24 Aug. 2020|
|International competitiveness co-investment||Matched funding of between $50,000 and $100,000 for existing exporters (under 200 employees) of food, beverages and services into Asia.||12 Aug. 2020|
|Payroll tax relief||The tax-free threshold increased to $1m on 1 July 2020.
Automatic grants of $17,500 are being paid to employers with annual Australian taxable wages of more than $1m and up to $4m in 2018-19.
|Support when employing apprentices||A one-off payment of $6,000 for an apprentice and $3,000 for a trainee employed from 1 July 2020.||30 June 2021|
|Incentive to employee apprentices||Incentive of up to $8,500 for employing an apprentice or trainee from 1 July 2019.|
|Local Capability Fund||Fund to increase capability of SMEs for planning, improvements to internal infrastructure, plant and equipment and training. Current rounds include cost recovery for: PPE manufacturing (up to $500k) and feasibility (up to $20k), and general recovery and growth (up to $100k) for supply to certain industries.||30 June 2021|