In what is a welcome move for many businesses, the Federal Government has announced an expansion of the employee eligibility criteria for the first phase of the JobKeeper Payment program (JobKeeper 1.0). The scheme’s expansion will give Australian employers more financial relief before it transitions to its second phase.
Previously, an employee needed to be employed by an employer on March 1, 2020 to be eligible for JobKeeper payments. The expansion will mean that from the fortnight beginning August 3, 2020, full-time and part-time employees who were hired after March 1, 2020 but on or before July 1, 2020 may be eligible.
Under the expansion, casual employees who have been employed for 12 months on July 1, 2020 may also now be eligible. The change will see many more employees across Australia become eligible for the program and will result in larger subsidy payments being made to their employers.
As matters of priority, any employers receiving the JobKeeper Payment subsidy should:
- Review their list of employees and determine if they have any additional employees now eligible under the expanded criteria. The updated eligibility criteria can be found here.
- Arrange for any newly eligible employees to complete and sign JobKeeper Employee Nomination Forms.
- Ensure that any newly eligible employees are paid the minimum of $1,500 before tax per fortnight from 3 August 2020. For the JobKeeper fortnights falling within the month of August, these amounts must be paid by 31 August 2020 for the employer to be eligible for reimbursement.
One In, All In
Employers must be aware that they cannot choose to exclude any eligible employees if the entity participates in the JobKeeper scheme. Accordingly, failure to identify and include a newly eligible employee in the program may jeopardise an organisation’s entitlement to the subsidy under the ‘one in, all in’ principle, which is a key requirement of the scheme. This would also potentially expose the employer to penalties under the Fair Work Act.
Should you require any assistance determining the eligibility of your employees, or with accessing the JobKeeper Payment program, please contact your Morrows Advisor.