The Australian Tax Office (ATO) has implemented changes to the JobKeeper employee eligibility rules with immediate effect.
The key change to the JobKeeper rules is that the previous 1 March 2020 employee eligibility date has been updated to 1 July 2020. This means that there is now a larger catchment of people eligible for JobKeeper.
As the rules around which employees are eligible have changed, The ATO are urging employers to review who should be receiving JobKeeper payments.
“JobKeeper enrolments are still open. We encourage all businesses to review the eligibility criteria and if eligible, enrol in the program to start receiving JobKeeper payments,” said Deputy Commissioner James O’Halloran.
The following is a list of examples of employees who will now be eligible for JobKeeper:
- New full-time or part-time staff who were employed by the business by 1 July 2020.
- Casuals who by 1 July 2020 met the ‘long-term casual employee’ requirement (for example they had commenced with the business in May 2019, so previously they hadn’t met the 12-month requirement, but with the new date of 1 July 2020, they now satisfy that aspect).
- Employees who turned 18 during the period 1 March and 1 July 2020.
- Employees who became an Australian resident during the period 1 March 2020 to 1 July 2020.
Employers are expected to start paying new eligible employees a minimum of $1,500 per fortnight from the JobKeeper fortnight 10, which commenced on 3 August.
For the fortnights commencing on 3 August 2020 and 17 August 2020, the ATO is allowing employers until 31 August 2020 to meet the wage condition for all new eligible employees included in the JobKeeper scheme.
Employers can commence claiming for the JobKeeper reimbursement for the new eligible employees from 1 September when they can lodge their August monthly declaration claim.
JobKeeper has so far provided more than $37 billion of payments to around 989,000 businesses and not-for-profits. This means around 3.6 million individuals are now covered by the payment scheme. Mr O’Halloran has described the payment scheme is “vital to the Australian community”.