October 7, 2020

JobKeeper 2.0 is here, so what now?

JobKeeper has ended and JobKeeper 2.0 has arrived. So do you qualify? How do you qualify? And, if not, what should businesses be doing now?

Why did the original scheme end?

When the government announced the original JobKeeper program earlier in the year it had no idea how long the pandemic would last. The hardest part? Just how economically devasting the pandemic has been. JobKeeper’s main goal was to support businesses and employees through the immediate effects of the pandemic, ensuring they could operate and unemployment numbers to be kept low.

In July 2020, Treasurer Josh Frydenberg made the announcement that JobKeeper was to be extended. The catch? A reduction in payments.

What are the new payments under JobKeeper 2.0?

Like the original JobKeeper, the new scheme provides a set payment for eligible workers. However, this has been reduced from the original payment of $1,500 a fortnight. There are also now different levels of payment depending on whether an employee in full-time or part-time, which we’ve outlined below:

  • Between 28 September 2020 and 3 January 2021, eligible employers will receive a subsidy of $1,200 for eligible full-timers. However, they will receive only $750 for eligible part-time employees.
  • Between 4 January 2021 and 28 March 2021 these amounts will be reduced to $1,000 for full-timers and $650 for other employees.

The government introduced this distinction after being criticised for effectively giving many part-time workers a ‘pay-rise’. At the time, they offered a flat rate for all eligible workers regardless of the number of hours they worked.

Are you eligible for JobKeeper 2.0?

You’ll need to be able to prove that your actual GST turnover has fallen compared to a comparable period. This is usually September 2019. The basic test requires most businesses to show that GST has fallen 30 per cent. However, for some charities, that figure is only 15 per cent. For larger employers (ie those with a turnover greater than $1 billion) it’s 50 per cent.

There are also some alternative tests for some businesses – those that have had a substantial increase in turnover or irregular turnover, or those that have undergone a significant restructure. You can read about more about these on the ATO website.

Okay, you don’t qualify for JobKeeper 2.0. What’s next?

The reality is that many businesses who qualified for JobKeeper won’t qualify for JobKeeper 2.0. If that’s you, and business has suffered, you may have to face some tough decisions. This could include having to restructure, cutting costs or looking for new revenue streams. You may also find yourself in the position of having to carry out redundancies.

If you do have to take action such as this, it’s vital you do it the right way.  You don’t want to face the cost of legal action or penalties. It’s also important to keep in mind that many of the COVID-19-related changes to the Fair Work Act 2009 have now ended. This includes an end to the standing down provisions whereby you could request employees to work fewer days or hours. It also means many of the changes to awards to encourage greater flexibility have also finished – you may need to change the way you continue to engage workers.There are some legacy provisions for those businesses who originally qualified for JobKeeper 1.0 – if this is you, then get in touch for more information.

Still have questions?

At Catalina Consultants, we understand the trial and tribulations that this COVID-19 pandemic is causing. If you’re still struggling to understand the JobKeeper scheme, are unsure if you qualify or need some HR assistance building a post-pandemic road map then reach out to us today. We’d be more than happy to assist you.

say hi to our author

Merilyn founded Catalina Consultants in 2012 on the belief that all organisations, regardless of size, should have access to top quality bespoke HR services. She enjoys working closely with her clients and believes that the best results are built on relationships of rapport, trust and authenticity. Growing up, Merilyn had her sight set on stardom and dreamed of becoming an actor. She also sang and played the piano, but ended up studying accounting and HR. Whilst she hasn’t won her Grammy just yet, she still loves a good karaoke night. Merilyn loves to travel with her family, with South Africa being one of her most memorable destinations.

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