Coronavirus Economic Response Package (JobKeeper Payments) Amendment Bill 2020 has today been introduced in the House of Representatives.
The bill introduces the extension of the JobKeeper scheme that was announced by the government in late July, pushing the end date of the wage subsidy to 28 March 2021.
Rules giving effect to the new eligibility criteria based on the decline in turnover for the previous quarter and the new two-tier payment rate have yet to be released.
Under the proposed rate changes, from 28 September, the current $1,500 per fortnight will drop to $1,200 for full-time workers, and $750 for those working less than 20 hours per 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 new bill also extends the ability for employers to give JobKeeper enabling directions under Part 6-4C of the Fair Work Act to 28 March 2021.
The proposed new law will create two broad categories of employers who can access particular flexibilities under Part 6-4C, namely employers who are eligible for JobKeeper payments after 28 September, and employers who did receive one or more JobKeeper payments in the period prior to 28 September but no longer qualify for a payment after 28 September.
Employers who no longer qualify for JobKeeper after 28 September will be classified as legacy employers, and will have to satisfy a 10 per cent decline in turnover to have access to modified JobKeeper enabling directions.
An employer will be required to obtain a 10 per cent decline in turnover test certificate from an eligible financial service provider, including a registered company auditor or a registered tax agent, BAS agent or tax (financial) adviser or a qualified accountant.
These modified directions include reducing an employee’s ordinary hours to a minimum of 60 per cent of the employee’s ordinary hours as they were at 1 March 2020, but cannot result in the employee working less than two consecutive hours in a day.
Employers will also be allowed to give enabling directions in relation to duties and location of work and can reach agreements with that employee around days and times of work.
More to come.
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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.