Thinking | 18 August 2020

JobKeeper Rules update – employee eligibility extended

By Anthony Bradica, David Catanese and Adam Dimac

The Government has now registered Rules to implement previously announced changes to employee eligibility under the JobKeeper Rules.

The changes apply in relation to JobKeeper Fortnights beginning on or after 3 August 2020, and will therefore impact employee eligibility under the remainder of the original JobKeeper Scheme (until 27 September 2020). It is unlikely that there will be a wind-back of the changes now that they have been legislated, in which case the changes would also be expected to apply to the six month extension under JobKeeper 2.1 (until 28 March 2021).

The changes are summarised in the table below:

ChangeComments
The relevant date for assessing an employee’s eligibility is now 1 July 2020, rather than 1 March 2020.

Importantly, there is no need for employers to re-test eligibility for employees that qualified prior to the change (ie previously met the 1 March 2020 eligibility test).
This will increase the number of employees that are eligible under the existing JobKeeper Scheme (covering four existing JobKeeper Fortnights). It will also increase the amount of employees that are eligible under JobKeeper 2.1. The change could mean that the following employees will now be eligible:

• employees who weren’t eligible on 1 March, but became eligible by 1 July;
• newly employed full-time or part-time employees who were employed by 1 July; and
• some employees who were re-hired by 1 July.

However, employers should be mindful that the change only applies for JobKeeper Fortnights beginning on or after 3 August 2020.
Employees can now be nominated by a new employer if their employment has changed since the JobKeeper Scheme began. However, they can still only be nominated by one employer for a JobKeeper Fortnight.This change has a limited application and applies in circumstances where there is a group restructure or a business is sold to a purchaser. Employers and employees should review the JobKeeper Rules or seek professional advice before relying on the change.
Employers must issue a nomination notice, by 21 August 2020, to any employee who becomes eligible because of the changes (ie because of the 1 July 2020 eligibility test).Employers only have a few days to determine whether any employees have become newly eligible, and to issue those employees with nomination notice.

Employers are not required to give a new nomination notice to existing eligible employees (ie who satisfied the 1 March eligibility test).
The ATO has extended the deadline for the wage condition for the first two JobKeeper Fortnights impacted by the change. Employers have until 31 August 2020 to meet the wage condition for new eligible employees under the 1 July eligibility test for:

• Fortnight 10 – commencing on 3 August, and
• Fortnight 11 – commencing 17 August 2020.
This will give employers time to determine whether any employees are newly eligible, before being required to meet the wage condition.

Our full coverage of the JobKeeper extension can be found here.

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