JobKeeper Updates: September 2020
Last month, the Australian Government announced changes to payments under both the JobKeeper and JobSeeker schemes. Here’s everything you need to know.
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Both the JobKeeper and JobSeeker payments will be reduced.
From 28 September, JobKeeper payments for eligible businesses (including self-employed) and Not-for-Profits will be:
- $1,200 per fortnight for eligible employees who worked 20 hours or more a week on average in the four weeks of pay periods before either 1 March 2020 or 1 July 2020.
- This also includes eligible business participants who were actively engaged for 20 hours or more per week on average.
- A $750 per fortnight payment for other eligible employees and business participants.
From 4 January, JobKeeper payments will be reduced to $1,000 per fortnight for eligible employees and business participants (as per the above conditions). A $650 per fortnight payment for other eligible employees and business participants.
Employers will continue to be required to make payments to employees equal to, or greater than, the amount of the JobKeeper payment (before tax), based on the payment rate that applies to each employee (i.e. the wage condition).
Meanwhile, changes to the JobSeeker program include:
- The coronavirus supplement will decrease from $550 per fortnight to $250 per fortnight.
- As a result, people on JobSeeker will receive a decrease from $1,100 to $800 per fortnight from 28 September (base rate of $550 plus the coronavirus supplement).
- Recipients will be allowed to earn $300 per fortnight before facing a reduction in their Government payment.
- There will also be an easing of restrictions for sole traders.
While payment amounts will be reduced, both the JobKeeper and JobSeeker payments have been extended.
JobKeeper payments will be available until 28 March 2021. However, the payment will be tapered in the December 2020 and March 2021 quarters to encourage businesses to adjust to the new environment – supporting a gradual transition to economic recovery.
The two-tiered payment aims to better align the payment with the incomes of employees before the onset of the coronavirus global pandemic.
Further changes were announced on 7 August to adjust the employee reference date for eligibility and make it easier for organisations to access JobKeeper payments in lift of further restrictions in Victoria. The thresholds for the decline in turnover test will remain the same, but now the test must be applied at several points:
- To be eligible for the JobKeeper payments from 28 September to 3 January, businesses and Not-for-Profits must satisfy the relevant decline in turnover test for the September quarter (July, August, September 2020) based on actual GST turnover.
- To be eligible for the JobKeeper payments from 4 January to 28 March 2021, businesses and Not-for-Profits must satisfy the relevant decline in turnover test for the December quarter (October, November, December 2020) based on actual GST turnover.
The JobKeeper payment will remain open to new recipients provided they meet the existing eligibility requirements and the additional turnover tests during the extension period.
Meanwhile, the JobSeeker coronavirus supplement has been extended to 31 December 2020.
Further information on the JobKeeper changes can be found in the Treasury Fact Sheet: Extension of JobKeeper Payment.
In conjunction with the announced changes, the Treasury has also released the report The JobKeeper Payment: Three-month review. The Government considered the findings in the report when formulating the recent changes to the JobKeeper payment.