Last updated 6 May 2020

Important updates and additional information have been released since the JobKeeper scheme was legislated and Pilot’s Medical Team have summarised the key changes below.

Extension of Deadlines

Previously, the deadline for entities to enrol for the initial JobKeeper payments was 30 April 2020. The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) has now extended this deadline and you now need to have your enrolment completed by 31 May 2020.

According to the JobKeeper rules, eligible employees must have been paid at least $1,500 per fortnight for those initial fortnights in April 2020. However the ATO will now accept that it has been paid (and will reimburse the payments) so long as the employees are “back paid” the amounts owed by 8 May 2020.

These extensions are welcome news for employers who are yet to register for the scheme, as businesses determine their eligibility for the payments.

Alternative Turnover Tests Released

The JobKeeper rules stipulate that the ATO has the power to consider alternative tests to the basic 30% decline in turnover test. Where a business does not meet the basic test, it may be able to access the JobKeeper payments by meeting one of the following tests:

  • Business commenced;
  • Business acquisition or disposal that has affected turnover;
  • Business restructure that changed the entity’s turnover;
  • Business has had substantial increase in turnover;
  • Business affected by drought or natural disaster;
  • Business has an irregular turnover; and
  • Sole trader or small partnership with sickness, injury or leave.

Each test operates differently, however, the comparison period is often moved to another month/quarter or uses combined averages of prior months/quarters. This now allows entities that previously were “left in the dark” about their eligibility to assess their turnover decline and register.

Further clarification of Rules

The Government are also updating the JobKeeper rules and bringing in some other changes:

  • Employees who are 16 or 17 years old will be made ineligible for the JobKeeper unless they are “financially independent”. Full time students who are under 18 and not financially independent will be made ineligible. However the changes will be applied prospectively and any payments already received for those employees will not need to be repaid; and
  • The “one in, all in” principle of the scheme will be further clarified. This will mean that all eligible employees must be nominated for the scheme, including those who have been stood down. It is not possible for employers to choose from their eligible employees.

Calculating Turnover – Cash vs Accruals Basis

The ATO has further clarified which methods of forecasting GST turnover is acceptable for Job Keeper purposes.

Generally, the ATO expects that the basis of calculating the turnover (either cash or accruals) normally used by the business is most appropriate. In some cases, it may be appropriate to use a different method than usual in the circumstances. Most importantly, whichever basis is used must be applied consistently in comparing the month/quarter in 2020 with the comparison period.

Eligible business participants and other employment

In addition to the JobKeeper payments for employees, the employing entity may also be able to register for payments in relation to an eligible business participant (such as a sole trader or a director of a company). One condition of these payments is that the business participant cannot be an employee (other than a casual employee) of another organisation. This may be a sticking point for a number of medicos who operate a private practice and are also contracted with hospitals.

Note, on 8 May, the ATO released alternative decline in turnover tests. To read more about these alternative tests click here.

Contact Pilot

If you require any further guidance or assistance in relation to JobKeeper payment or any of the other COVID-19 stimulus and administrative relief measures, please contact Angela Stavropoulos or Kristy Baxter on [email protected] or 07 3023 1300.