Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Treasurer Josh Frydenberg have announced that the current $1,500 per fortnight JobKeeper payment will be reduced to $1,200 per fortnight from 28 September, and $750 per fortnight for employees working less than 20 hours a week.
From 4 January 2021, the rate will again fall to $1,000 per fortnight, and $650 for people working less than 20 hours a week.
The program will run to 28 March 2021, at a further cost of $16 billion, taking the entire JobKeeper program to $86 billion.
The announcement comes after the Treasury released a snapshot of its JobKeeper review findings earlier, revealing that up to one in four of the 3.5 million workers currently covered under the program was earning $550 more than they would ordinarily.
New eligibility tests
The Treasury had also argued for a fresh eligibility test for businesses looking to remain on JobKeeper beyond September.
Businesses will still be required to demonstrate the required reduction in turnover — 30 per cent for businesses with turnovers of $1 billion or less, 50 per cent for those with turnover of more than $1 billion, and 15 per cent for ACNC-registered charities.
However, the government will now require businesses to demonstrate that they have suffered an ongoing significant decline in turnover using actual GST turnover, rather than projected GST turnover.
From 28 September, businesses will be required to show an actual decline in turnover for the June and September quarters to qualify for JobKeeper 2.0.
From 4 January 2021, businesses will need to reassess their turnover to demonstrate that they have met the decline in turnover test for each of the June, September and December 2020 quarters.
“Employers will need to demonstrate that they’ve met the relevant decline in turnover in both the June and September quarters to be eligible for the JobKeeper payment in the December quarter,” Mr Frydenberg said.
“Employers will need to demonstrate that they have met the relevant decline in each of the previous three quarters ending on 31 December 2020 to remain eligible for the payment in the March quarter 2021.”
While there are currently 3.5 million workers covered under JobKeeper, the Treasury expects the new eligibility rules to see the figure fall to just 1.4 million workers for the December 2020 quarter, before dropping to 1 million workers in the March 2021 quarter.
More to come.
Jotham Lian is the editor of Accountants Daily, the leading source of breaking news, analysis and insight for Australian accounting professionals.
Before joining the team in 2017, Jotham wrote for a range of national mastheads including the Sydney Morning Herald, and Channel NewsAsia.