Deborah Peppard - HR Director
With the end of the original JobKeeper program coming to an end on 27th September 2020, the legislation to extend JobKeeper until 28 March 2021 has now passed Parliament.
There are some important points to note regarding ongoing JobKeeper wage subsidy eligibility as well as changes to the Job Keeper Enabling Directions that many businesses have relied upon to get through the last months in a manageable way.
Firstly, to be eligible for the new reduced rate of the JobKeeper wage subsidy for the period 28 September to 31 December 2020, a business must have a decline in turnover of the July-September 2020 quarter of at least 30% when compared with the same quarter in 2019. The wage subsidy for this quarter will be $1200 per fortnight for employees working 20 hours or more per week, and $750 per week for employees working less than 20 hours per week (prior to 1 March 2020).
Businesses receiving the JobKeeper wage subsidy that have started to re-build through this period and no longer meet the 30% decline eligibility criteria for JobKeeper 2.0 wage subsidy past 27 September 2020, but still have a turnover that is at least 10% down for the July-September quarter as compared to the same period last year, will be considered ‘Legacy businesses’ (10-29% downturn). Legacy businesses will be able to avail themselves of some ongoing Job Keeper Enabling Directions.
For businesses who continue to be eligible for the JobKeeper wage subsidy, all of the same JobKeeper Enabling Directions remain available, except for the ability to request people to use their annual leave. This ability has now been repealed and businesses must revert to the provisions under their relevant Awards to be able to direct employees to take a period of annual leave. For these employers, JobKeeper enabling directions or agreements stop applying when they are cancelled, withdrawn or replaced, or on 29 March 2021 (whichever comes first).
Legacy Businesses and Directions
Any JobKeeper enabling directions or agreements that legacy employers already have in place will end on 27 September 2020. You will need to reissue or make new directions and agreements and you must follow the enhanced notice and consultation requirements, which is now 7 days instead of 3 days.
Legacy employers can continue to give a direction to change a previously eligible employee's duties or work location.
Legacy employers can continue to make agreements to change a previously eligible employee’s days or hours of work. The agreement can’t result in the employee working less than 2 hours per day or reduce a full-time or part-time employee to less than 60% of their ordinary ours as at 1 March 2020.
Legacy employees will need a certificate from an eligible financial service provider or for small business, a statutory declaration, to be considered a legacy business and avail themselves of the temporary JobKeeper restricted Enabling Directions. Legacy employers should also advise their employees that they are a legacy business when providing new directions and should advise employees when they no longer meet the requirements to continue as a Legacy Business.
Please note that the eligibility criteria to receive the required Certificate and be able to use the employment legislation pertaining to legacy businesses, has strict dates and timelines so please check with your accountant to ensure you meet all testing timeframes to avoid having an issue where you used the temporary legislation outside of your allowed period.
We hope that this provides some clear information for you as you navigate the ongoing changes with regards to employee management.
If you need assistance with providing information or directions to your employees, or any other support at all, please don’t hesitate to reach out to the HR Staff n' Stuff team.
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