On Friday afternoon, the Government released amendments to the JobKeeper rules. These amendments clarify and confirm some aspects of the announcements made on Friday 7 August.
Change in employment date
The amendments confirm that employers who are currently eligible for the JobKeeper scheme, need to consider the eligible of employees who were employed as at 1 July 2020. There are a number of reasons employees may now be eligible including:
- Casuals who didn’t satisfy the definition of “long term casual” as at 1 March 2020
- Having reached the appropriate age by 1 July 2020
- May now hold the appropriate visa as at 1 July 2020
New permanent employees, employed after 1 March 2020 may also now be eligible.
Change in nomination requirements
Under the original rules, an employee could not nominate for the JobKeeper scheme with more than one employer. With a new employment date introduced, this would have meant that where someone had left an employer where they were enrolled for JobKeeper, they could not nominate with a new employer – even if the old employer was no longer receiving JobKeeper for them.
The rules have been amended to allow an employee that meets the 1 July employment date to nominate for JobKeeper with their current employer, even if they had previously nominated for JobKeeper with another employer, providing that employer is no longer receiving JobKeeper for them.
The policy which underpins this is that only one employer can receive JobKeeper for an employee in a fortnight. The rules have been amended to ensure this is still the case but now provides some support to workforce flexibility.
The existing notification requirements still exist. Employers who qualify for JobKeeper need to provide a nomination form to all employees who were employed at 1 July 2020, except those who have already completed one or if the employer reasonably believes that the employee will not be eligible.
The employee nomination form on the ATO website has since been updated to include the reference to 1 July 2020 employment date.
One-in all-in principle
It’s important to remember that the JobKeeper scheme has a “one-in all-in” principle. This means, as an employer, if you are currently in the JobKeeper program you must consider all your employees as at 1 July 2020 using the eligibility requirements. You cannot choose to exclude any eligible employees where you qualify for JobKeeper.
For an employee to be eligible for a JobKeeper fortnight, they must also satisfy the “wage condition”. The wage condition requires that they have been paid a minimum of $1,500 for the fortnight. The ATO has confirmed that employers will have until 31 August to ensure the wage condition is met for JobKeeper fortnight 10 and fortnight 11.
These changes show flexibility from the Government at a time when it is greatly needed. Whilst the announcements and changes may feel somewhat piecemeal and disjointed, we can appreciate the difficulty in managing a scheme of this size while protecting the integrity of the program and managing the ever increasing cost of it.
If you have any questions in relation to the above, please contact your Holman Hodge adviser.