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Image of a hand with the caption 'JobKeeper and JobSeeker - Updates to payments from 28 September 2020'

JobKeeper and JobSeeker: new phase details

Changes to JobKeeper and JobSeeker payments will be made from 28 September 2020. Please check back for updates as further announcements are made.

Last updated: 29 September 2020

In July 2020, the Australian Government announced an extension of and changes to the JobKeeper and JobSeeker payments designed to support businesses and individuals through the COVID-19 crisis.

New eligibility rules for JobKeeper were introduced on 3 August and the next phase of payments will start in October 2020. Here is what we know so far.

What is happening with JobKeeper Payment?

The JobKeeper payment, originally designed to end in September 2020, will continue until 28 March 2021. There are two separate extension periods:

  • Extension 1: 28 September 2020 to 3 January 2021
  • Extension 2: 4 January 2021 to 28 March 2021

JobKeeper extension 1

During the extension 1, the JobKeeper payment rate will depend on the number of hours an eligible employee works or an eligible business participant is actively engaged in the business.

The tier 1 payment rate of $1,200 per fortnight applies to:

  • employees who worked for 80 hours or more in the four weeks of pay periods before either 1 March 2020 or 1 July 2020
  • business participants who were actively engaged in the business for 80 hours or more in February and provide a declaration.

The tier 2 payment rate of $750 per fortnight applies to any other eligible employee of business participant.

Visit the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) website to find out more about the eligibility requirements for the JobKeeper extension 1.

JobKeeper extension 2

For extension 2 the JobKeeper payment rates will reduce again, to:

  • $1,000 per fortnight for tier 1 employees and business participants
  • $650 per fortnight for tier 2 employees and business participants.

Visit the ATO website to find out more about the eligibility requirements for the JobKeeper extension 2 period.

Business and employee eligibility 

As of 3 August 2020, the key date for assessing employee eligibility for JobKeeper payments is 1 July 2020 (previously 1 March 2020). 

Employees who meet eligibility requirements can now be nominated by a new employer if their original employment with a JobKeeper employer ended before 1 July 2020. For the fortnights starting 3 and 17 August 2020, employers have until 31 August to meet the wage condition for new eligible employees who ceased their previous employment before 1 July. 

New eligibility tests will be required for businesses to retain JobKeeper payments. Businesses will need to demonstrate a 30 per cent reduction in GST turnover in both the September and December quarters, relative to a comparable period (generally the corresponding quarter of 2019) to remain eligible for payments through to March.

For each JobKeeper extension period, you will need to supply the ATO with the following information:

  • an additional decline in turnover test (using your current GST turnover)
  • the rate you are claiming for each eligible employee and/or business participant.

Visit the Australian Taxation Office website to download their fact sheet on changes to employee eligibility. 

JobSeeker changes

The higher JobSeeker COVID supplement of $550 per fortnight will be reduced to $250 from October until the end of the year. This will make the JobSeeker rate approximately $800 per fortnight. People on this payment will be able to earn $300 a fortnight without reducing their payment.

Mutual obligation requirements for JobSeeker payments will restart from 4 August. This means that people will need to undertake four job searches a month to avoid penalties. Mutual obligation requirement will increase and an asset test for JobSeeker payments will also be introduced after September.

The eased eligibility requirements for sole traders to access JobSeeker payments will remain in place after the end of this year.

WA industrial relations JobKeeper provisions

The State Government has extended the COVID-19 JobKeeper provisions until 28 March 2021, unless extended. These provisions apply to businesses that operate under the state industrial relations system (which applies to sole traders, unincorporated partnerships and some trusts).

As part of the provisions you can:

  • issue a ‘JobKeeper enabling direction’ to temporarily change or reduce an employee’s working hours (which may be reduced to nil), change an employee’s duties and change their location of work
  • request an employee change their days/times of work.

Visit the Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety website for more information on the state system COVID-19 JobKeeper provisions.

More information

Visit the ATO website to read the JobKeeper extension announcement, key dates and actions for employers and employee eligibility, including long-term casual employees.

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