JobKeeper & FairWork Act Updates

 

Need help with understanding JobKeeper for your business? You can book in a free 15 minute consultation with one of our Positive HR Consultants 


The Federal Government has now passed legislation and accompanying rules that govern how the $1,500 / fortnight JobKeeper payments will work. The payments are to help keep more Australians in jobs and support businesses affected by the significant economic impact caused by the Coronavirus. Changes have also been made to the Fair Work Act to help employers deal with these uncertain and unprecedented times.

JobKeeper Updates as at 15 April 2020 

Employers can choose to participate in the scheme and then nominate the employees they are entitled to claim for. An employer can choose not to participate in the JobKeeper payment.​

Employers are not under any obligation to re-hire. If you re-hire you could receive the JobKeeper payment provided the business and employee are both eligible. You will not be able to recover the redundancy payment. 

Employees who have been stood down from work under the Fair Work Act 2009 without pay may still be eligible employees as long as they were in your employment and met the eligibility criteria on 1 March 2020.

You will need to have paid them at least the minimum amount of $1,500 for each fortnight you claim for, to receive the JobKeeper payment.

Your Employees will be eligible for the JobKeeper payment if the employees:

  • are currently employed by the eligible employer (including those stood down or re-hired)
  • are either
    • permanent full-time or part-time employees who were employees as at 1 March 2020
    • casually employed on a regular and systematic basis for at least 12 months as at 1 March 2020 and not a permanent employee of any other employer
  • were at least 16 years of age as at 1 March 2020
  • were an Australian resident as at 1 March 2020 within the meaning of the Social Security Act 1991, which requires that they reside in Australia, and are one of an Australian citizen, the holder of a permanent visa, a Protected Special Category Visa Holder
  • the employee can also be an Australian tax resident who is a Special Category (Subclass 444) Visa Holder
  • were not in receipt of any of these payments during the JobKeeper fortnight
    • government parental leave or Dad and partner pay
    • a payment in accordance with Australian worker compensation law for an individual’s total incapacity for work
  • have not agreed with any other employer to be nominated as an eligible employee for the JobKeeper payment
  • complete the JobKeeper employee nomination notice

FairWork Act Updates as at 15 April 2020 

Given the impact of Covid-19, changes have been made to the Fair Work Act to help employers deal with these uncertain and unprecedented times. For those businesses and not for profits that access the JobKeeper payments for their employees, they also now have greater rights to make directions to employees about hours or work, changing duties and even the location of the employee’s work.

These changes are set out in Part 6-4C of the Fair Work Act and give employers powers to provide a ‘JobKeeper enabling direction’. These directions are temporary in that they only temporarily alter an employee’s terms and conditions of employment. The directions do not change other terms and conditions of employment so you must ensure that you continue to comply with any applicable industrial instrument such as a modern award. All other laws, such as unfair dismissal and anti-discrimination laws still apply, as do work health and safety laws.

You must put a JobKeeper enabling direction in writing and you cannot reduce an employee’s base rate of pay. Employers must also comply with consultation obligations before the direction is implemented. 

There are also new and temporary rules around the take of 
annual leave. An employer that qualifies for the JobKeeper payment can ask an employee to agree to take paid annual leave. The employer can make the request if it will not result in the employee having a balance of less than 2 weeks annual leave. To request this of the employee, the employer must be entitled to receive JobKeeper payments for the employee for the period of the agreement. The employee must consider the request and not unreasonably refuse it.

The employer and employee can agree in writing to the employee taking twice as much paid annual leave at half their rate of pay. The leave must start before 30 June 2020 but can finish after that date.

Changes have also been made to 99 modern awards so employers should check the Fair Work Commission website and review the awards relevant to their business here: https://www.fwc.gov.au/about-us/coronavirus-covid-19-updates-advice

ATO Updates as at 15 April 2020 

The JobKeeper payment is open to eligible employers to enable them to pay their eligible employee’s salary or wages of at least $1,500 (before tax) per fortnight. Eligible employers will be reimbursed a fixed amount of $1,500 per fortnight for each eligible employee.

Employers will need to pay eligible employees a minimum of $1,500 (before tax) per fortnight to claim the JobKeeper payment. This will be paid to the employer in arrears each month by us. The first payments to eligible employers will commence in the first week of May 2020. JobKeeper payments can be made for the period beginning 30 March 2020.

If employers do not continue to pay their employees for each pay period, they will cease to qualify for the JobKeeper payment.

Your will be eligible for the JobKeeper payment if:

  • on 1 March 2020, you carried on a business in Australia or were a not-for-profit organisation that operated in Australia
  • you employed at least one eligible employee on 1 March 2020 (there are also some special rules for self-employed that the ATO will be providing further information on soon) 
  • your eligible employees are currently employed by your business for the fortnights you start to claim for, and continue to claim for (including those who are stood down or re-hired)
  • your business has faced a
    • 30% fall in turnover (if their aggregated turnover is $1 billion or less)
    • 50% fall in turnover (if their aggregated turnover is more than $1 billion), or
    • 15% fall in turnover including donations and gifts (if they are an ACNC-registered charity and not a university or school)
  • you pay your eligible employees at least $1,500 before tax for the fortnights you start to claim for, and continue to claim for
  • you (or you on their behalf) successfully enrol for the JobKeeper scheme and apply for JobKeeper payments.

Next Steps 

  • Step 1 – Your Tax Agent can Enrol for JobKeeper on your behalf from 20 April 2020 using the ATO Online services for agents and authenticate with myGovID.
  • Step 2 – In the online form, your Tax Agent will provide your bank details and confirm if you are entitled to a business participation payment.
  • Step 3 – Your Tax Agent will specify the number of your employees who will be eligible for one period and the number eligible for two periods.
  • Step 4 – Get confirmation from you that the employees you plan to nominate are eligible and that you as the employer has notified them and has their agreement.
  • Step 5 – Tax Agent will Enrol on your behalf through ATO Online services for agents.

Need help with understanding JobKeeper for your business? You can book in a free 15 minute consultation with one of our Positive HR Consultants. 

enquiries@positivehr.com.au or +61 404 922 125

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