On 21 July 2020, the Government announced that the JobKeeper Payment would be extended until 28 March 2021. The original JobKeeper was set to end on 27 September 2020.
As a result, payments will now be made over two separate extension periods, being:
Furthermore, on 7 August 2020, the Government announced adjustments to JobKeeper 2.0 to expand the eligibility criteria, primarily in the wake of the tougher COVID-19 restrictions recently imposed in Victoria.
These adjustments will apply nationwide, and the crucial amendments include adjustments to the proposed new ‘Decline in Turnover’ tests. To qualify for the two new extension periods, businesses will now only have to demonstrate that their actual GST turnovers have decreased (in accordance with the applicable rates) in the previous quarter of the previous year.
For these purposes, the applicable rate of decline in turnover required to qualify is determined in accordance with the existing rules (e.g., 30% for entities with an aggregated turnover of $1 billion or less).
Extension Period 1 (i.e., from 28 September 2020 to 3 January 2021), businesses only need to demonstrate an applicable decline in turnover in the September 2020 quarter.
This differs from the previously announced JobKeeper 2.0, where they would have been required to show that they had suffered an applicable decline in turnover in both the June and September 2020 quarters.
Extension Period 2 (i.e., from 4 January 2021 to 28 March 2021) businesses only need to demonstrate an applicable decline in turnover in the December 2020 quarter.
Whereas under the previously announced JobKeeper 2.0, they would have been required to show that they had suffered an applicable decline in turnover in each of the June, September and December 2020 quarters.
Importantly, the dual payment rate system originally proposed in JobKeeper 2.0 will remain, with the full rate of payment decreasing from $1,500 to $1,200 per fortnight from 28 September 2020 and then to $1,000 per fortnight from 4 January 2021.
The proposed reduced rates (being $750 from 28 September 2020 and $650 from 4 January 2021) will also remain for employees and business participants who worked fewer than 20 hours per week in the relevant period.