The Treasurer has announced eased JobKeeper eligibility, whereby businesses will only need to show that their GST turnover had fallen in the quarter ending in September to qualify for the scheme’s extension.
On 21 July, the government had initially said that to be eligible for JobKeeper post-27 September, businesses would need to show their GST turnover had fallen in the two quarters to the end of September, compared to the same period last year. However, due to Victoria’s tough restrictions, the government has backtracked, choosing to shift to an easier test and allow more businesses to stay on the support.
Under the new rules, the details of which were announced on Friday, businesses will have easier access to the extension, but the payment rate will drop as planned from $1,500 to $1,200. The $750 flat rate for those working less than 20 hours per week will also proceed as previously announced.
In addition, from 3 August 2020, the relevant date of employment will move from 1 March to 1 July 2020, increasing employee eligibility for the existing scheme and the extension.
“We believe that about 530,000 extra Victorian employees will now join the JobKeeper program over the September quarter; that means 1.5 million Victorian employees will be using JobKeeper,” Josh Frydenberg said.
“That’s nearly half of the private sector workforce across the whole state.”
Moving into 2021, businesses will be required to demonstrate that they have met the relevant decline in turnover test with reference to their actual GST turnover in the December quarter 2020, to qualify for the reduced payment of $1,000 per fortnight.
While the changes will apply across the country, the Treasurer has said he expected $13 billion of the money to go to Victoria.
“The Morrison government is pulling out all stops, doing whatever we can to support Australians through this crisis to maintain that formal connection between employers and employees to help businesses and workers get to the other side,” Mr Frydenberg said.
The new spending will take the total cost of JobKeeper to $101.3 billion.
If a business or not-for-profit does not meet the turnover test for the extension period, this does not affect their eligibility prior to 28 September 2020.
The Treasury’s fact sheet has been updated to reflect the changes.