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Retesting JobKeeper: Employees doing nothing is not an option

The change to the JobKeeper reference date from 1 March to 1 July 2020, effective from 3 August, will require all enrolled employers for JobKeeper to retest employee eligibility, the Institute of Public Accountants (IPA) has warned.

Staff employed by 1 July 2020 are now eligible for the JobKeeper wage subsidy, after the scheme was extended and the relevant date of employment pushed back from 1 March to 1 July, increasing eligibility.

“Some employees did not meet the previous criteria but may now be eligible,” said IPA chief executive Andrew Conway.

The JobKeeper ‘one-in, all-in’ rule now means that employers must include any new employees, engaged after 1 March but before 1 July 2020, that meet the other eligibility conditions as part of the JobKeeper scheme.

“The IPA is urging employers to very quickly assess potential new eligible employees; send nomination forms; and importantly, top-up employees’ wages where necessary to meet the established wage condition of $1,500 per fortnight,” said Mr Conway.

“This means employers must have the cash to pay. Failure to do so will leave those employers exposed to significant penalties under the Fair Work Act because of the ‘one-in, all-in’ rule.”

Potential candidate employees who may now be eligible include:

  • Non-casuals (i.e. full-time or part-time employees) who are on the books before 1 July 2020;
  • Casuals who did not meet the definition of a long-term casual employee by 1 March but have since become long-term casual employees by 1 July; and
  • Employees who did not qualify on 1 March due to their age or visa status but have since become 16 to 18 years of age and meet the independence criteria and study or have obtained the necessary visa.

“Employees that became eligible from 1 July 2020 require an employer on the JobKeeper scheme to provide notice to those new employees (per the existing notice requirements within seven days of the commencement of the legislative instrument, which commenced on 15 August 2020); this effectively means giving employers until this coming Friday, with no time to waste,” said Mr Conway.

The good news, Mr Conway explained, is that for the fortnights commencing on 3 and 17 August 2020, employers have until 31 August 2020 to meet the wage condition for new eligible employees under the 1 July eligibility test.

“The clock is already ticking, so impacted employers must act now; doing nothing is definitely not an option,” said Mr Conway.

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