The ATO has now announced 2 key extensions for the JobKeeper scheme.

Employers will now have until 31 May 2020 to enrol for the initial JobKeeper fortnights. If Employers enrol by 31 May 2020, they will still be able to claim for the fortnights in April and May 2020, provided you meet all of the eligibility requirements for each of those fortnights. This includes having paid your eligible employees by the appropriate date for each fortnight. The dates for the fortnights can be accessed here.

Employers will now also have more time for the payments to be paid to employees for the first 2 JobKeeper fortnights (30 March to 12 April 2020 and 13 April to 26 April 2020) to Friday, 8 May 2020. If you do not pay your eligible employees by this date, you will not be able to claim JobKeeper Payments for those first 2 fortnights.

These extensions will assist those Employers still assessing their eligibility or in the process of contacting eligible employees, as well as those needing to secure financial support in order to fund the additional payroll costs to comply with the scheme.

Remember there are now updated rules clarifying the operation for employees employed through a special purpose entity rather than an operating entity, the 'one in all in' principles, and the exclusion of full-time students aged 16 and 17 years old who are not financially independent.

Remember also that once you qualify for JobKeeper, you may be able to access the temporary flexibility provisions in the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) if the ongoing impacts of COVID-19 mean you have less work for your employees and you need to make urgent workplace changes to respond.

Employers should also be considering the likely ongoing impacts of COVID-19 on their business and what changes they may need to make to their employee arrangements going forward, including restructures, variations to employment contracts to ensure their revival at the back end of this crisis, as well as implementation of COVID-19 safe work arrangements as your business re-opens.

If you need urgent advice or assistance in managing the impact of Coronavirus in your workplace or implementation of the JobKeeper scheme or revival strategies and options, please contact IR Legal Solutions to discuss.

This content is not a substitute for legal advice and is for information only. Employers should obtain advice that is specific to their circumstances and business operations, and not rely on this publication as legal advice.