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Employers urged to immediately retest employee eligibility under new JobKeeper rules

Maja Garaca Djurdjevic
Maja Garaca Djurdjevic
19 August 2020 2 minute readShare

The “one in, all in” feature of the JobKeeper scheme means that businesses now have to retest employee eligibility under the new 1 July test date, and provide eligible employees with a nomination notice by the start of next week.

The change to the JobKeeper reference date from 1 March to 1 July 2020, effective from 3 August, means that employers already receiving the subsidy now need to review the new eligibility criteria against all of their employees and meet the “one in, all in” requirement.

However, the legislative instrument registered by the Treasury last week stipulates that an employer enrolled or intending to enrol for JobKeeper payments must notify the eligible employees within seven days of the commencement of the instrument.

This means that employers have until 22 August to meet this requirement.

The chief executive officer of the Institute of Public Accountants, Andrew Conway, has warned employers that the clock is already ticking, noting that doing nothing is not an option.

“Some employees did not meet the previous criteria but may now be eligible,” Mr Conway said.

“The ‘one-in, all-in’ rule compels employers to include any new employees, engaged after 1 March but before 1 July 2020, that meet the other eligibility conditions as part of the JobKeeper scheme.”

The IPA is urging employers to very quickly assess potential new eligible employees, send nomination forms and, importantly, top up employees’ wages where necessary to meet the established wage condition of $1,500 per fortnight. 

“This means employers must have the cash to pay. Failure to do so will leave those employers exposed to significant penalties under the Fair Work Act because of the one in, all in rule,” Mr Conway said.

Potential candidate employees who may now be eligible include:

  • Non-casuals (i.e. full-time or part-time employees) who are on the books before 1 July 2020
  • Casuals who did not meet the definition of a long-term casual employee by 1 March but have since become long-term casual employees by 1 July
  • Employees who did not qualify on 1 March due to their age or visa status but have since become 16 to 18 years of age and meet the independence criteria and study or have obtained the necessary visa

Mr Conway explained that while employers only have seven days to provide notice to those new employees, the good news is that they have until the end of the month to meet the wage conditions.

Namely, 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 under the 1 July eligibility test.

“The clock is already ticking, so impacted employers must act now; doing nothing is definitely not an option,” Mr Conway said.

The ATO, too, has issued an appeal to employers, noting that they should start paying new eligible employees a minimum of $1,500 per fortnight from the JobKeeper fortnight 10.

The Tax Office clarified that 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.

“The ATO is here to support those doing it tough and knows how vital the JobKeeper payment is to the community,” deputy commissioner James O’Halloran said.

“We have provided more than $37 billion in JobKeeper payments to around 989,000 businesses and not-for-profits. This means around 3.6 million individuals are now covered by JobKeeper.”

The ATO underlined that further announcements by the government regarding the extension to the JobKeeper payment program are subject to the passage of legislation.

Employers urged to immediately retest employee eligibility under new JobKeeper rules
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Maja Garaca Djurdjevic
Maja Garaca Djurdjevic

Maja Garaca Djurdjevic is the editor of My Business. 

Maja has a decade-long career in journalism across finance, business and politics. Now a well-versed reporter in the SME and accounting arena, prior to joining Momentum Media, Maja reported for several established news outlets in Southeast Europe, scrutinising key processes in post-conflict societies and enabling citizens to influence decision-making.

You can email Maja on [email protected] 

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