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JobKeeper – Changes to employment reference date

The federal Treasurer, Josh Frydenburg, has issued a legislative instrument to extend the scope of the wage subsidy provided under the JobKeeper scheme so that it also benefits employers of more recently engaged employees where the employer can otherwise qualify for JobKeeper payments in respect of an employee.

These changes were made based on recognition of the ongoing impact of COVID-19 on employers, with the latest lockdown in Victoria also playing its part.

Under the changes the legislative instrument makes:

  • For fortnights beginning on or after 3 August 2020, the reference date for determining certain employee eligibility has been changed from 1 March 2020 to 1 July 2020.

    This effectively 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 prior to 1 July 2020 and commenced their employment with the new entity by 1 July 2020.

  • Further, eligibility of existing employees are preserved if already covered by the JobKeeper scheme under the original 1 March 2020 reference date. There is no need to retest these employees eligibility in reference to the new date.

To enable the qualification of employee eligibility as at 1 July 2020, notification requirements must be ment via the completion of a JobKeeper employee nomination notice.

The original notice as listed on the ATO website was suitable only for employees who were eligible for JobKeeper as at 1 March 2020. With the introduction of the new legislative instrument on the 14th August, a new JobKeeper employee nomination notice has been created to incorporate employees now eligible as at 1 July 2020.

A copy of the new 1 July 2020 employee nomination notice form can be found via this link.

Employees who have previously given an employee nomination notice before 3 August 2020 do not need to provide a new employee nomination notice.

The other changes announced for the JobKeeper scheme on 21 July 2020 – including the extension to 21 March 2021 and two-tiered payments – will be included in separate amendments and looked at when parliament resumes in the final week of August 2020.

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