Coronavirus Economic Response Package (Payments and Benefits) Rules 2020
In response to COVID-19, the Federal Government announced the Jobkeepers payment scheme (‘Scheme’) on the 30th of March 2020. This Scheme has been released as the third economic stimulus response by the Australian Government to directly provide financial support to various businesses and employers that have been adversely affected by COVID-19.
Under this Scheme, eligible employers and businesses that have been significantly impacted by COVID-19 can access a subsidy from the government to continue paying their employees. One of the legislations giving effect to this Scheme is the Coronavirus Economic Response Package (Payments and Benefits) Act 2020 (Cth) (‘Act’), under which, the Coronavirus Economic Response Package (Payments and Benefits) Rules 2020 (Cth) were implemented (‘Rules’).
As most recently altered by the Coronavirus Economic Response Package (Payments and Benefits) Amendment Rules (No. 8) 2020 (Cth) on the 4th of December 2020, the Rules modify the employer entity eligibility and the amount of the fortnightly payment under the Scheme. Note the following two key changes made to the payment rules:
An employer’s eligibility under the Scheme, that started on or after the 28th of September 2020, is subject to an additional condition. The condition is based on and assesses the entity’s actual decline in turnover in each quarter of the extension period. Here, the first quarter is from 28th of September 2020 to 3rd of January 2021 and the second quarter is from the 4th of January 2021 to the 28th of March 2021. To satisfy this new condition, the entity must have suffered an actual decline in its turnover for the applicable quarter when compared to the same relative quarter in 2019.
Further, in the extension period, the amount of Scheme payment is spilt between each of the quarters and is determined in reference to an eligible employee’s working situation. This includes the employee’s working hours, leaves and absences over a four-week period. In essence the manner of calculating the jobseeker payment rate has now been modified.
Other relevant details regarding the modifications are provided below:
The new rules commenced on the 4th of December 2020.
The Scheme has now been extended till the 28th of March 2021.
Eligibility for entitlement to payment has been modified.
The amount and timing of payment have been modified.
For further details, please refer the following link.