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RS COVID-19 Update - New JobKeeper test date and additional flexibility
On Friday 14 August 2020, the Treasurer updated the JobKeeper Rules dealing with eligible employees which apply from 3 August 2020 onwards. Specific rules dealing with JobKeeper 2.0 have not yet been released.
New test date for employees
Under the original JobKeeper rules, an employee generally needed to have been employed by the entity at 1 March 2020 and to have met certain conditions as at that date to qualify as an eligible employee. However, the Government has updated the rules to ensure that 1 July 2020 will be relevant test date rather than 1 March 2020 from 3 August 2020 onwards, which means that some additional employees might become eligible for JobKeeper from the 10th JobKeeper fortnight onwards. Employees who met the conditions at 1 March 2020 will continue to be eligible assuming they are still employed by the entity etc.
In practical terms this means:
• If someone commenced employment with an entity after 1 March 2020 but by 1 July 2020 and they were an employee of the entity on that date then they can potentially be eligible for JobKeeper from 3 August 2020 onwards, assuming all other basic conditions are met.
• Casuals who hadn't been employed for at least 12 months leading up to 1 March 2020 can potentially be eligible for JobKeeper if they have been employed on a regular and systematic basis for at least 12 months leading up to 1 July 2020 (assuming all other basic conditions are met).
• Individuals who failed the age-related conditions or residency conditions at 1 March 2020 can potentially be eligible employees if they met those conditions on 1 July 2020.
Employers need to ensure that they identify all additional employees who could be eligible for JobKeeper to ensure that they comply with the "one in, all in" principle and that they meet the nomination requirements.
Extended deadline for top-up payments
Crucially, the ATO has announced that the deadline for making payments for new eligible employees for JobKeeper fortnights starting on 3 August 2020 and 17 August 2020 has been extended to 31 August 2020 (ie, to meet the condition for employers to pay at least $1,500 to eligible employees in each JobKeeper fortnight).
Employees who have moved to a new employer
The other key change to the rules is that someone who was previously nominated for JobKeeper with an entity as an eligible employee or eligible business participant can potentially be nominated for JobKeeper with a different entity if certain conditions are met. The individual must have ceased to be employed or actively engaged in the business (as a business participant) of the original entity after 1 March 2020 but before 1 July 2020. They must also meet the conditions to be treated as an eligible employee of the new employer at 1 July 2020