Date posted: 19/08/2020

JobKeeper changes to employment reference date implemented

The legislative instrument has been registered to implement change in the employment reference date for the JobKeeper scheme.

In brief

  • The change in employment reference date to include 1 July 2020 is now in force with the registration of a legislative instrument
  • Employers need to check the eligibility of employees who are not already on JobKeeper as at 1 July 2020

The legislative instrument, Coronavirus Economic Response Package (Payments and Benefits) Amendment Rules (No. 7) 2020 (the Legislative Instrument), has been registered to provide a new employment reference date of 1 July 2020 for employees to be eligible for JobKeeper scheme. 

For JobKeeper fortnights beginning on or after 3 August 2020, the amendments allow qualifying employers to receive JobKeeper payments in respect of individuals who are newly employed by the entity if these individuals meet the eligibility requirements on 1 July 2020.   

The amendments also allow individuals who have nominated as an eligible employee or eligible business participant with one entity to re-nominate as an eligible employee of another entity in limited circumstances. To re-nominate, the individual must have ceased their employment or business participation with the first entity before 1 July 2020, and commenced their employment with the new entity by 1 July 2020. 

For any employees that become eligible employees from 1 July 2020, an employer on the JobKeeper scheme must provide notice to the new eligible employees (per the existing notice requirements, i.e. an employee nomination notice) within 7 days of commencement of the Legislative Instrument (commenced 15 August 2020).

More detail can be found in the explanatory statement for the Legislative Instrument including examples and commentary on the ‘one-in, all-in' principle. 

The ATO has also released a new JobKeeper Employee Nomination Notice (1 July employees only). This form is not to be used for eligible employees for whom JobKeeper payments are to be received for any fortnights that ended on or before 2 August 2020. 

For the fortnights commencing on 3 August and 17 August 2020, the ATO is allowing employers until 31 August to meet the wage condition for all new eligible employees included in the JobKeeper scheme under the 1 July 2020 eligibility test. The ATO has updated the guidance on eligible employees for the Legislative Instrument amendments.

For employees who are already covered by the JobKeeper scheme under the original 1 March 2020 reference date, their eligibility is preserved. This means that employees who were eligible for the JobKeeper scheme before these amendments commenced do not need to retest their eligibility with reference to the 1 July 2020 date for the JobKeeper fortnights beginning on or after 3 August 2020. This includes employees that ceased employment and are later re-employed by their employers (including after 1 July 2020), provided they have not nominated as an eligible individual in relation to another entity.

Employers should check their payroll for any employees that were not eligible under the original JobKeeper scheme to see if they may now be eligible under the 1 July 2020 employment reference date. Examples include:

  • Employees who have turned 18 years old after 1 March 2020
  • Employee who are aged 16 or 17 years and have since started living independently or no longer undertaking full-time study
  • Casual employees that have since become long term (i.e. has been employed on a regular and systemic basis for 12 months) after 1 March 2020
  • New employees who have joined from after 1 March until 1 July 2020
  • Employees who have become residents or holders of a Subclass 44 (Special Category) visa on 1 July 2020.

Legislative Instrument

- Coronavirus Economic Response Package (Payments and Benefits) Amendment Rules (No. 7) 2020

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