The Australian Tax Office has announced changes to the JobKeeper eligibility rules. The changes introduce a new assessment date for employees, which has now changed to 1 July 2020. Furthermore, employees can now be nominated by a new employer if their previous employment ended before this date.
We have also received further information from the ACCI regarding JobKeeper changes. This advice is repeated below:
Members are advised that a JobKeeper employer who does not identify newly eligible employees, provide them with a nomination notice by 21 August 2020 and make any necessary ‘top-up’ payments by 31 August 2020 will be in breach of the JobKeeper rules and may face penalties.
Following ACCI’s circular on 11 August 2020 regarding the announced changes to employee eligibility under JobKeeper including the extension of the employment reference date to 1 July 2020, the legislative instrument with respect to such changes has now been registered (see Coronavirus Economic Response Package (Payments and Benefits) Amendment Rules (No. 7) 2020).
The changes to the reference date have retrospective application and take effect from the JobKeeper fortnights commencing 3 August 2020. The extension of the employment reference date means that an existing JobKeeper employer will need to review their employee records to identify any ‘newly eligible’ employees. Newly eligible employees are in essence, employees who did not satisfy the basic employee eligibility criteria on 1 March 2020 but do satisfy the criteria as amended under the changed rules (including re-qualifying and re-nominating employees).
The explanatory statement to the legislative instrument is clear – the one-in all-in principle applies and employers currently enrolled in JobKeeper do not have a choice as to whether they extend the JobKeeper Payment to newly eligible employees or not. A JobKeeper employer who does not identify newly eligible employees, provide them with a nomination notice by 21 August 2020 and make any necessary ‘top-up’ payments by 31 August 2020 will be in breach of the JobKeeper rules and may face penalties.
The changes, whilst simple in theory, are complex to apply from an administrative perspective and will require careful consideration and application by employers and their advisers.
Below we have provided the updated version of the ACCI Employer Guide to JobKeeper, Edition 9 which has been updated to include these changes in both track (in red), as well as a clean copy.
Also included is the ACCI Information Sheet which provides a high-level summary of the changes with suggested actions to be taken by businesses to make sure they meet a number of upcoming deadlines and do not fall foul of the JobKeeper rules and face penalties.