Changes to the JobKeeper scheme

By Veronica Siow, Astrid Reidy
COVID-19 Employment & Safety

In brief 2 min read

The JobKeeper scheme will be modified, and extended from 28 September 2020 until 30 March 2021.

Which employees are eligible?

JobKeeper is a subsidy scheme administered by the Federal Government for the purposes of helping employers keep eligible COVID-19 affected employees connected to their employment. Eligible employees are those who are employed:

  • on a full-time or part-time basis; or
  • on a regular and systematic casual basis, with at least 12 months' service; and
  • were employed as of 1 July 2020 (previously, the relevant date was 1 March 2020).

Employer eligibility

To be eligible for the extended JobKeeper scheme, employers will need to satisfy another GST turnover test. The test will now be conducted quarterly and will be based on a business's actual turnover. The relevant decline in turnover measurement remains the same:

  • 50% for employers with an annual turnover of more than $1 billion;
  • 30% for employers with an annual turnover of $1 billion or less; and
  • 15% for charities and not-for-profit organisations.

Employers will need to show that they have met the relevant decline in turnover test in the September 2020 quarter to be eligible to participate in the JobKeeper scheme. Employers will again need to show they have met the relevant decline in turnover test in December 2020 to be eligible for the JobKeeper Payment from 4 January 2021 to 28 March 2021.

Changes to the payments

The full flat rate of the fortnightly JobKeeper payment will be reduced. In addition, the full flat rate will no longer be payable to employees who worked 20 hours or less before the start of the pandemic, and these employees will instead receive a reduced amount. These changes are summarised below:

Date Full flat rate (per fortnight) Fortnightly rate for employees who ordinarily worked less than 20 hours per week
Current $1,500 $1,500
From 28 September 2020 $1,200 $750
From 4 January 2021 $1,000 $650
From 29 March 2021 Nil Nil

Employees may nominate only one employer (if they are employed by more than one employer) to receive the JobKeeper subsidy.

JobKeeper enabling directions

The temporary amendments that were introduced to the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) in relation to JobKeeper enabling directions are currently only in place until 28 September 2020. A similar extension may also be legislated in relation to these provisions.