Recently, a client approached us with an issue they faced when the Northern Beaches of Sydney went into a hard lockdown in the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak. They told us that while they run their own business and work casually at a local store, the lockdown forced everything to stop.

Their question to us, “During the two week lockdown, I couldn’t see my clients and the store I work at casually was temporarily closed. Is the government offering any compensation for the time I was unable to work?”

These types of unique situations are being increasingly common throughout the pandemic. So, what can you do when COVID-19 locks you out of work?

Our recommendation is that you review eligibility for Jobkeeper.

Jobkeeper

If you are running your own business or work for a business that meets the eligibility requirements of Jobkeeper, you may be entitled to Jobkeeper payments. At the time of writing this, the last phase of Jobkeeper is currently open for registration; Jobkeeper 2 Extension 2.

For more information on eligible employees, click here

You have the ability to speak to your employer about your eligibility and application for Jobkeeper, or apply for Jobkeeper through your business (note: you cannot claim Jobkeeper twice, i.e. through multiple employers or businesses).

The following information from the ATO outlines how you determine your eligibility and the payment tiers to elect.

This extension period will run from 4 January 2021 to 28 March 2021.

You will need to show that your actual GST turnover has declined in the December 2020 quarter relative to a comparable period (generally the corresponding quarter in 2019). See the actual decline in turnover test.

You also need to have satisfied the original decline in turnover test. However, if you:

  • were entitled to receive JobKeeper for fortnights before 28 September, you have already satisfied the original decline in turnover test
  • are enrolling in JobKeeper for the first time from 28 September 2020, if you satisfy the actual decline in turnover test, you will also satisfy the original decline in turnover test (except for certain universities). You can enrol on that basis.

You can be eligible for JobKeeper extension 2 even if you were not eligible for JobKeeper extension 1.

The rates of the JobKeeper payment in this extension period are:

Tier 1: $1,000 per fortnight (before tax)

Tier 2: $650 per fortnight (before tax).

For more information on which tier you fall under, click here

If you are deemed eligible, you need to do the following, as outlined by the ATO:

From 28 September 2020, you must do all of the following:

  • work out if the tier 1 or tier 2 rate applies to each of your eligible employees and/or eligible business participants and/or eligible religious practitioners
  • notify us and your eligible employees and/or eligible business participants and/or eligible religious practitioners what payment rate applies to them
  • during JobKeeper extension 2 – ensure your eligible employees are paid at least 
    • $1,000 per fortnight for tier 1 employees
    • $650 per fortnight for tier 2 employees.

Wealth Definition can assist you in determining your eligibility and facilitating the enrolment into Jobkeeper.

For more information, visit the ATO website here (https://www.ato.gov.au/general/jobkeeper-payment/)

NEXT STEPS

If you believe that you are eligible for Jobkeeper 2 Extension 2, you have until the 31 January 2021 to enrol and make the required Jobkeeper top-up payments for each eligible employee. Note: there are different requirements for those operating as a sole trader or working as an associated business person.

Wealth Definition can assist you in this process!

Please contact us on 02 8968 5300 or email info@wealthdefinition.com.au

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