The Coronavirus Economic Response Package (Jobkeeper Payments) Amendment Bill 2020 was passed by the Senate on Tuesday after minor technical changes were approved.
The bill extends the historic JobKeeper scheme by a further six months to 28 March 2021, replacing the $1,500 a fortnight payment with a new two-tier payment rate from 28 September 2020.
A legislative instrument setting out the detailed rules for the new rate and the new eligibility criteria based on the decline in turnover for the previous quarter is expected to be issued shortly by Treasurer Josh Frydenberg.
The new bill will also allow legacy employers — those that previously qualified for JobKeeper but are unable to qualify for JobKeeper 2.0 — to continue to access temporary Fair Work Act provisions for a further six months if they are experiencing a 10 per cent decline in turnover.
These temporary Fair Work Act provisions include giving JobKeeper enabling directions or requests for employees to change their days or times of work.
The minor amendments agreed to now ensure that an eligible financial service provider who is able to issue a 10 per cent decline in turnover certificate is defined as a registered tax agent or BAS agent, or a qualified accountant.
This removes registered company auditors and tax (financial) advisers that were previously included in the definition.
The 10 per cent decline in turnover certificate must confirm, based on the information provided, that the specified employer satisfied the 10 per cent decline in turnover test for the designated quarter applicable to a specified time.
Accountants providing these certificates must be independent and external to the employer, and cannot be a director, employee or associated entity.
There will be a carve-out for small businesses with fewer than 15 employees to allow such employers to provide a statutory declaration to attest to the 10 per cent decline.
More to come.