Everything you need to know about the second JobKeeper extension period in 2021
Here’s a quick recap of the JobKeeper scheme: first announced in March 2020, JobKeeper is a fortnightly payment rolled out by the Australian government to help eligible businesses affected by Covid-19 cover employees’ wages. Since its initial rollout, the government has introduced extensions to JobKeeper for businesses that continue to have reduced turnover as a result of the pandemic. These extensions have been divided into two periods, ending on 3 January 2021 and 28 March 2021.
If your business is eligible for JobKeeper payments from the Australian Taxation Office (ATO), here’s everything you should know about the second extension period.
Key JobKeeper extension dates for 2021
The dates you should be mindful of are:
- 4 January 2021: The second JobKeeper extension period commences
- 28 January 2021: Deadline for businesses to submit the monthly declaration for December payments (this has been extended because of the festive season)
- 31 January 2021: Deadline for businesses to pay employees for fortnights commencing 4 January 2021 and 18 January 2021 (this has been extended because of the festive season)
- 1 February 2021: From this date, eligible employers will need to submit the new decline in turnover form before completing their business monthly declarations
- 28 March 2021: The second JobKeeper extension period finishes
- In the first fortnight of each month: You must complete a business monthly declaration to keep claiming JobKeeper payments
- In the first fortnight of each month: You must pay staff for the previous month if JobKeeper has been claimed on their behalf.
Rules and payment amounts for Tiers 1 and 2
Tier 1 applies to both:
- eligible employees who worked for 80 hours or more in the four weeks of pay periods
- eligible business participants who were actively engaged in the business for 80 hours or more in February 2020.
Tier 2 applies to any eligible employee or business participant who worked for less than 80 hours in a four-week pay period.
Unpaid leave, government funded parental leave, workers’ compensation and stand down are not counted towards an eligible employee’s 80 hours.
In the first JobKeeper extension period (28 September 2020 to 3 January 2021), Tier 1 payments were $1,200 per fortnight and Tier 2 payments were $750 per fortnight per eligible employee or business participant.
In the current extension period (4 January to 28 March 2021), Tier 1 payments are reduced to $1,000 per fortnight and Tier 2 payments are reduced to $650 per fortnight per eligible employee or business participant.
Business eligibility and decline in turnover tests
To receive payments from the second extension period, your business must be able to demonstrate to the ATO a significant decline in actual GST turnover in the June 2020 and September 2020 quarters.
For the second JobKeeper extension, the test is considered satisfied if your current GST turnover for the quarter ending 31 December 2020 has declined by 15%, 30% or 50% in comparison to your GST turnover for 31 December 2019. Be sure to submit this form, available from the ATO’s Business Portal, from 1 February 2021.
Enrolling or unenrolling in JobKeeper
The ATO will keep the JobKeeper scheme open to new participants as long as the eligibility requirements for the relevant period are met.
If your business is already enrolled in JobKeeper, you do not need to re-enrol for the extension.
If your business is enrolling in JobKeeper for the first time this year, make sure to follow the enrolment steps outlined by the ATO once you have determined the eligibilities of your business and employees.
If your business no longer needs JobKeeper payments, you do not need to formally unenroll, but you will need to change the status of your employees or business participants receiving the payments in your STP-enabled payroll software or JobKeeper report by using the JobKeeper codes to show their changed eligibility.