“It’s Not Set in Stone” – JobKeeper Revision Welcome, But Businesses Should Tread Carefully

Published August 07, 2020 Author: Employsure
employer thinking about jobkeeper 2.0

The newly announced changes to the JobKeeper wage subsidy are welcome, but still need to be ironed out before they can help business owners, according to Employsure, Australia’s largest workplace relations advisor.

Under the Federal Government’s revised turnover test it hopes to pass through Parliament, businesses will only need to have suffered the required downturn in the September quarter, as opposed to the previous prerequisite of recording downturns in both the June and September quarters.

For companies with a higher aggregated turnover more than $1 billion, they must prove they’ve lost more than 50 per cent. For smaller businesses, they must have seen a 30 per cent drop, while charities and non-profits must prove they’ve lost 15 percent.

The employee eligibility test will also be altered if the proposal is legislated, opening up to those who have been on the books since 1 July, instead of 1 March.

“Clearly what has happened between the announcement of JobKeeper 2.0 and now, is the Federal Government has had time to have a longer look at its proposal and make a significant change,” said Employsure Managing Director Ed Mallett.

“In this case, the change is in favour of employers, especially those who may have had a reasonable quarter to the end of July but may not have originally been able to record a two-quarter downturn to be eligible past September. These changes, if they become law, could see thousands of employers hire and maintain the workers they need to continue operating.

“By also changing the eligibility date for employees from March to July, it will allow hundreds of thousands who were employed during that window to become eligible, taking a heavy strain off small business owners that have already been pushed to breaking point.”

The Federal Government has said the changes to the JobKeeper scheme will allow more than 500,000 employers, mostly in Victoria, to be eligible past September. Mr Mallett has warned business owners that the changes have not yet been legislated, and thus they should not bury their heads in the JobKeeper sand.

“Employers should not behave as if this is set in stone. The Government has had to work out the kinks before it attempts to bring this into law, but by the looks of this announcement, MPs are not completely clear about it.

“The communication hasn’t been consistent or concise, and as a result it has created confusion amongst small business owners over eligibility, rather than instil confidence.

“Business owners now need to wait until this is law to start paying their staff or risk not getting reimbursed. At the moment all we have is a press release from the Treasurer. Will there be changes that will affect regular and systematic casuals? We won’t know until it’s passed.

“The government is going to have to look at this in a pragmatic way, remembering the purpose of it is to keep people employed.”

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