Last week, Treasurer Josh Frydenberg announced a key adjustment to the date of employment for assessing which employees are covered by JobKeeper, with employees employed at 1 July 2020 now eligible, an extension from the previous 1 March 2020 date.
The date change will apply for both the existing JobKeeper program and the extension — dubbed JobKeeper 2.0 — after 27 September.
While the change has been detailed on the Treasury’s fact sheets for both JobKeeper 1.0 and 2.0, the Treasurer has yet to issue a legislative instrument to reflect the change, nor has the ATO issued guidance on the matter.
The Institute of Public Accountants’ general manager of technical policy, Tony Greco, believes there will be a number of scenarios where there will be new eligible employees covered under the wage subsidy program.
“This includes those who were on your payroll that couldn’t meet the 1 March date, then you’ve got the stood down who they have to re-engage, you’ve got casuals who have now clocked over 12 months, and you have people who have now turned 18 years old as of 1 July,” Mr Greco said.
“So, you’ve got a lot of movement there and that also includes new enrolments into JobKeeper — these are businesses who now through stage 4 restrictions [in Melbourne] will have to enrol for the first time under JobKeeper.”
With the change applying from 3 August — the start of JobKeeper fortnight 10 — RSM associate director Tracey Dunn believes employers will have to begin identifying these new eligible employees or risk breaching the “one in, all in” principle.
“Where employees who satisfy the eligibility criteria at 1 July 2020 are identified, employers should provide these employees with JobKeeper nomination forms as soon as possible,” Ms Dunn told Accountants Daily.
“As the changes announced by the Treasury take effect from 3 August 2020, employers who don’t take steps to identify employees who satisfy the eligibility criteria at 1 July 2020 and make ‘top-up’ payments where necessary, may find themselves in breach of the one in, all in principle and the JobKeeper minimum wage condition under the Fair Work Act.
“Given it is already 12 August, this is proving somewhat problematic. Hopefully, there will be updated ATO guidance very soon and an extension allowing top-up payments to be made by the end of August.”
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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.