As you may recall, earlier this year the ASU along with other Australian unions campaigned relentlessly for a wage subsidy for workers to ensure members jobs are protected through the global pandemic. In early April 2020 the Federal Government passed legislation and created the JobKeeper wage stimulus package which was scheduled to end in late September 2020.
This package has now been changed with the Australian Government extending JobKeeper payments by a further six months until 28 March 2021. But JobKeeper 2.0 once again leaves many Australians left behind.
JobKeeper 2.0 is not perfect, there are still many workers who are not eligible to receive the payment and the Australian union movement will continue to campaign until all workers receive the financial assistance they require.
WHAT HAS CHANGED?
New payment rules for workers
After 27 September 2020 the JobKeeper payment will move to a two-tiered system. This two-tiered system depends on the number of hours worked by an eligible employee in the pre-COVID-19 environment. The payment rates also differ between the extension periods, as outlined below:
JobKeeper payment rate – 28 September 2020 to 3 January 2021
- $1,200 per fortnight for employees who, in the four weeks of pay periods before 1 March 2020, were working for 20 hours or more a week (on average); and
- $750 per fortnight for other employees
JobKeeper payment rate – 4 January 2021 and 28 March 2021
- $1,000 per fortnight for employees who, in the four weeks of pay periods before 1 March 2020, were working for 20 hours or more a week (on average); and
- $650 per fortnight for other employees
Businesses and not-for-profits will be required to nominate which payment rate they are claiming for each of their eligible employees. The eligibility rules for employees remain unchanged.
The JobKeeper Payment will continue to be made by the ATO to employers in arrears. Employers will still be required to pay eligible employees equal to, or greater than, the relevant amount of the JobKeeper payment (before tax).
For more information on eligibility requirements and changes your employer can legally make when accessing JobKeeper please refer to our previous JobKeeper bulletin.
Can I get both JobKeeper and JobSeeker?
Services Australia will allow recipients of the JobKeeper Payment to apply for income support ahead of the changes to their JobKeeper Payment to ensure individuals can quickly access income support should there new payment fall below the current unemployment benefit available.
Visit the Services Australia website to determine if you are eligible.
New eligibility rules for businesses and sole traders
Previously, businesses and sole traders with a turnover of less than $1 billion were required to prove a reduction in turnover of at least 30 per cent, and a reduction of 50 per cent for businesses larger than that.
Under JobKeeper 2.0, businesses will need to re-qualify under the same tests. Treasury’s Fact Sheet outlines the new requirements which are as follows:
From 28 September 2020, businesses and not-for-profits seeking to claim the JobKeeper Payment will be required to demonstrate that they have suffered an ongoing significant decline in turnover using actual GST turnover (rather than projected GST turnover).
From 28 September 2020, businesses and not-for-profits will be required to reassess their eligibility with reference to their actual GST turnover in the June and September quarters 2020. They will need to demonstrate that they have met the relevant decline in turnover test in both of those quarters to be eligible for the JobKeeper Payment from 28 September 2020 to 3 January 2021.
From 4 January 2021, businesses and not-for-profits will need to further reassess their turnover to be eligible for the JobKeeper Payment. They will need to demonstrate that they have met the relevant decline in turnover test with reference to their actual GST turnover in each of the June, September and December quarters 2020 to remain eligible for the JobKeeper Payment from 4 January 2021 to 28 March 2021.
The JobKeeper Payment will continue to remain open to new recipients, provided they meet the existing eligibility requirements and the additional turnover tests during the extension period.
Other eligibility rules for businesses and not-for-profits and their employees remain unchanged.
Disclaimer: This is general guidance only and was correct at the time of writing at 22 July 2020.
The ASU will continue to be by your side through this challenging time.
If you have any questions or concerns please contact your ASU organiser, or the ASU office at email@example.com or on 03 9342 3300.