By Ross Higgins, Partner
On 21 July JobKeeper was announced to extend beyond the first phase which ends on 27 September 2020. However, since then, the stage 4 lockdown has commenced in Victoria which is expected to result in many businesses suffering a substantial decline in turnover in the September quarter and possibly 250,000 additional Victorians losing their jobs or being stood down.
Treasurer Josh Frydenberg has today said “We’ll have four million Australian workers on JobKeeper through the September quarter, in Victoria that number will be 1.5 million – that’s nearly half the private sector workforce in Victoria and we will continue to provide very significant support for those who need it”.
The Treasurer announced today that the eligibility rules will be modified to make it easier to qualify for the second phase of JobKeeper than previously indicated:
- Decline in turnover: It was announced on 21 July that for the second phase of the scheme employers had to show a decline in turnover in the two quarters ended 30 June and 30 September 2020 to qualify for the JobKeeper period 28 September to 3 January 2021. Now it will only be necessary to show the requisite decline in turnover for the September 2020 quarter (which will include the Victorian lockdown period) compared to the same period in 2019. Similarly, employers that want to qualify for JobKeeper period 4 January to 28 March 2021, will now only have to show their turnover is also down in the December 2020 quarter compared to the same period in 2019, rather than for each of the June, September and December quarters.
- Eligible employees: Previously, an eligible employee must have been employed by the employer on March 1 2020. Effective from 3 August 2020 the relevant date of employment will move to 1 July 2020, increasing employee eligibility for the existing first phase and the second phase extension. This change allows employers to include new employees as eligible employees. This also means that employees that had left a previous JobKeeper employer could now nominate a new JobKeeper employer they have been employed with since 1 July, which was not possible previously.
There are otherwise no changes to the required decline in turnover test percentages or to the proposed tapering of the JobKeeper payments over the second phase periods.
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