As we previously advised, on Friday 24 April 2020, the Federal Treasurer Josh Frydenberg provided clarifying comments around the ‘one in, all in’ principle of the JobKeeper initiative and amended the eligibility for employees aged 17-years-or-under who are studying full-time.
The Federal Treasury has now released the formal amendments to the Rules of the Federal Government’s JobKeeper program. The Rules provide an additional written notice obligation for employers when nominating employees, and clearer eligibility guidelines to help employers identify which employees aged 17-years and younger are eligible to participate in the scheme.
To see ER Strategies’ previous summary of the ‘one in, all in’ requirement of the JobKeeper Initiative, and the initial commentary about changes to the eligibility criteria for full-time or dependent employees aged 17—years or younger, please click here.
One in, all in – additional notification requirement:
The amended rules now include the requirement for eligible employers to give employees notice of their election to participate in the scheme within 7 days of the employer enrolling with the ATO. Failure to provide such notice in writing will be an offence under the Taxation Administration Act 1953.
The notice must advise eligible employees they are required to provide a nomination notice to their employer if they agree to be nominated as an eligible employee in the JobKeeper scheme, and steps the eligible employee can take to give their employer their nomination notice (e.g. via email, in person, etc).
Once employers have confirmed an employee meets the eligibility criteria and has provided the employer with a copy of their nomination notice form, the employer must then ensure the wage condition is satisfied, by paying the employee the $1500 JobKeeper payment for each JobKeeper fortnight.
Eligible employers can visit the ATO website for further information about when and how to make the JobKeeper payments in order to be eligible for the scheme.
Change to eligible employees aged 17-years and younger:
When the JobKeeper initiative was first announced, the eligibility criteria for junior employees was that they would be considered eligible if they were aged 16-years or older on 1 March 2020. The Treasurer’s announcement has changed the minimum default age required for eligible employees to be 18-years-old as at 1 March 2020, and also introduced stricter eligibility criteria for employees aged 17-years and younger in order for these employees to also be eligible to participate in the scheme.
Commencing from the JobKeeper fortnight starting 11 March 2020, 16 and 17-year-old employees will only be eligible to participate in the scheme to receive JobKeeper payments if they are considered:
- Independent, or,
- Not undertaking full-time study
as defined by the Social Security Act 1991.
Eligible employees aged 16 years or 17 years as at 1 March 2020 are required to provide a statement confirming the employee was either –
- independent under the meaning of section 1067A of the Social Security Act 1991 on 1 March 2020, or
- a statement confirming the individual was not undertaking full-time study within the meaning of section of the Social Security Act 1991 (Sections 541B and 596C), along with their nomination notice form.
It should be noted that eligible 16 and 17 year old employees are not required to satisfy both conditions of independence and not studying full-time, and are only required to provide a statement relating to their relevant condition in order to render them eligible to participate in the scheme.
The ATO’s nomination notice provides a general list of examples for employees which may be used to satisfy the condition that they are considered ‘independent’ under the Social Services Act 1991. These conditions include:
- have supported yourself through work with long term full or part-time employment broadly for a two-year period;
- are, or have been, married or are in a registered relationship;
- live in a de facto relationship as a member of a couple for at least 12 months;
- have, or have had, a dependent child;
- are a job seeker assessed as unable to work over 30 hours a week;
- are unable to live at home due to extreme circumstances;
- have parents that are unable to support you;
- are a refugee and your parents do not live in Australia;
- are an orphan and have not been legally adopted;
- are in state care, including foster care.
Payments Made Prior to 11 May
The ATO has clarified that 16 and 17-year-old employees who do not meet the additional criteria may still qualify for the first two JobKeeper fortnights occurring prior to 11 May 2020. These employees are required to fill out a nomination notice and return it to their employers, even if they are unable to continuing claiming for the period after that date.
Accessing Full Rules
For access to a full copy of the amendment rules, including additional information relating to the decline in turnover test for certain group structures and information for paid religious practitioners, please click here.
The JobKeeper Initiative is complex. ER Strategies recommends that all eligible employers seek expert advice before proceeding.
For access to ER Strategies’ COVID-19 toolkit, including updated information for employers directly and indirectly impacted by COVID-19, free downloads and links to helpful government resources, please click here.
ER Strategies will continue to assist our clients to navigate these changes to their employment arrangements over the coming weeks and months. Clients of ER Strategies can contact the team during business hours on 1300 55 66 37 for assistance. Non-clients can call us, or contact us here, to discuss how we can best help your business.