JobKeeper Payment Extension Granted

The Taxation Commissioner has extended the enrolment period for the JobKeeper Payment scheme from 30 April 2020 until 31 May 2020.
Businesses that enrol by 31 May are still eligible to claim for the fortnights in April and May, provided that they meet the eligibility requirements for the period. 
Please be aware that all eligible employees must have been paid the equivalent of $1,500 per fortnight for the fortnights ended 12 April and 26 April 2020, and that these payments must be made to them by 8 May 2020, even if the business does not register until after this date.

New Alternative Tests for Businesses
On Thursday 23 April 2020, the Commissioner released an instrument detailing the alternative tests he will consider for a business to meet the turnover test.  The alternative tests apply in the following circumstances:

  • the entity commenced business after the relevant comparison period (the business did not exist in that period)
  • the entity acquired or disposed of part of the business after the relevant comparison period (the business is not the same business in that period as it is now)
  • the entity undertook a restructure after the relevant comparison period (the business is not the same business in that period as it is now)
  • the entity’s turnover substantially increased in the past 3, 6 or 12 months.
  • the entity was affected by drought or other declared natural disaster during the relevant comparison period
  • the entity has a large irregular variance in their turnover for the quarters ending in the 12 months before the applicable turnover test period, excluding entities that have cyclical or regular seasonal variance in their turnover, or
  • the entity is a sole trader or small partnership where sickness, injury or leave have impacted an individual’s ability to work which has affected turnover.

These alternative tests will assist many businesses who did not meet the criteria initially legislated by the Parliament to access the Jobkeeper payments for their employees.
Further Clarifications
On Friday 24 April 2020 the Federal Government released further clarification in relation to the JobKeeper payment as follows:

  • Employees employed through a special purpose entity, rather than an operating entity Business structures that employ staff through a service entity rather than through the main business structure may now qualify for the subsidy if the combined GST turnover of the business satisfies the 30% test.
  • Charities can exclude government revenue Charities that employ staff (other than schools and universities) can elect to exclude government revenue from the JobKeeper turnover test for the purposes of assessing eligibility for the payment. 
  • ‘One in, all in’ principle Participating businesses in the JobKeeper scheme must ensure that eligible employees who have agreed to participate in the scheme must do so. Employers cannot select which eligible employees will participate in the scheme.
  • Full time students aged 16 and 17 years oldFurther clarification has been provided that full time students who are 17 years old and younger, and who are not financially independent, are not eligible for the JobKeeper Payment. 
  • Recognising religious practitioners Religious institutions may apply for the JobKeeper Payment on behalf of their practitioners.

Banks to Prioritise Financial Assistance
The banks have assured the Federal Government they will setup hotlines to help businesses who need finance to bridge the gap until the first JobKeeper payments are made.