For those severely impacted by COVID-19, JobKeeper may still be available.
The impact of COVID-19 has been felt very differently from region to region. Fortunes vary wildly between business operators subject to ongoing lockdowns and trading impediments to those benefiting from the “new normal”.
The third and final phase of JobKeeper started on 4 January and runs through until 28 March 2021. To receive JobKeeper, employers need to have experienced a sufficient downturn (a 30% threshold applies to most entities) in their actual GST turnover in the December 2020 quarter compared to the same period in 2019 – although alternative tests exist.
The payment rate for employers is $1,000 per fortnight per employee or business participant who worked 80 hours or more over a specific 28-day period, or $650 per fortnight per employee or business participant for those who worked less than 80 hours in the relevant period – a reduction from previous JobKeeper payment periods.
Assessing eligibility, managing the decline in turnover test, calculating GST turnover for the decline in turnover test, and managing the 80 working hours requirement for the differential payment rates can all be complex. We’ve outlined a few of the key issues for employers in need of relief:
My business did not previously qualify for JobKeeper. Can I access it now?
Your business can potentially access JobKeeper for the period between 4 January 2021 and 28 March 2021 even if it didn’t qualify for JobKeeper for the period between 28 September 2020 and 3 January 2021 – or for the original JobKeeper scheme period that ended on 27 September 2020.
That is, if you did not pass the decline in turnover test for the September 2020 quarter, this does not automatically prevent you from being able to access JobKeeper for the period between 4 January 2021 and 28 March 2021 – as long as your business can pass the decline in turnover test for the December 2020 quarter.
We have been in JobKeeper previously. Do my employees need to complete a new nomination form for JobKeeper from 4 January 2021?
Employees should not need to provide you with a new enrolment form if they have previously provided a valid nomination to you. You should ensure that you have a copy of the original form on file and a copy of the notification that you sent to the employee confirming that their details were provided to the ATO and advising them of the payment rate that applies to them.
What’s included in GST Turnover for the decline in turnover test?
To access JobKeeper, employers need to satisfy a decline in turnover test. The decline in turnover test for JobKeeper from 4 January 2021 compares actual GST turnover in the December 2020 quarter (October 2020, November 2020 and December 2020) to the same period in 2019 (alternative tests are available in some instances where this comparison is not appropriate).
When I stood down my employees, they started working for someone else to get by. Can they still receive JobKeeper?
To access JobKeeper, employees need to have been either full-time, part-time or long terms casuals of your business on either 1 March 2020 or 1 July 2020. If the employment relationship remains intact (their employment has not been terminated and they haven’t accessed JobKeeper from another business), then the fact that the employee is performing some work for another entity doesn’t necessarily prevent ongoing access to JobKeeper with you, their original employer.
Of course, the employee can only receive JobKeeper from one employer and there are a number of eligibility conditions that need to be satisfied.