As You Navigate Your Business Through the Challenges of COVID-19, Here Are Changes to JobKeeper It’s Important to Know
The JobKeeper package, signed into law on 9 April 2020, created a wage subsidy of $1,500 per eligible employee for six months.
As we enter July and officially hit the halfway mark of the duration of JobKeeper, it’s important for you as a business owner to be aware of important changes made to the package since it was initially rolled out.
JobKeeper Applications Must be Made Monthly
The subsidy is available from 30 March 2020 to 27 September 2020, with payments made monthly in arrears.
From June 2020, employers must make a monthly business declaration that their business is still eligible for the subsidy – essentially that they still meet the reduction in turnover test.
A declaration made by 14 July will allow you to receive reimbursements for wage payments made in June.
Cessation of JobKeeper for Childcare Workers
On 8 June, the government announced JobKeeper would cease for childcare businesses from 20 July.
This includes employees of registered childcare centres eligible for childcare subsidy and for sole traders who operate a childcare service.
Review of JobKeeper in July
The JobKeeper package is due to be reviewed on 23 July.
At this stage, the government has signalled JobKeeper will not be extended beyond 27 September but has indicated it might consider more targeted packages. This means that some businesses or sectors may join the childcare industry in an early cut-off, while others may be extended.
From this it might be anticipated that businesses no longer under COVID-19 restrictions may become ineligible for JobKeeper earlier than expected, while those still affected may get an extension, meaning all businesses should prepare for possible changes announced at the end of July.
ATO Focus on JobKeeper Fraud
The ATO is focusing on potential fraud by employers who have taken advantage of the JobKeeper stimulus package.
Examples of this include:
- Payments to non-eligible employees or non-employees;
- Falsified records to meet the “fall in turnover” test;
- Applications from non-businesses or businesses without income; and
- Employers who are not passing on the full $1500 payment to employees.
Fraud can also include situations where employers have expected a larger fall in turnover than has occurred.
To avoid any issues, we strongly encourage business owners to review their applications and supporting documents for errors that may have been made during the initial application. If you accidentally included the wrong numbers or have projected a fall in turnover that hasn’t eventuated, contact the ATO as soon as possible because they have the power to exercise discretion about overpayments, and by being upfront, you may avoid significant penalties.