With JobKeeper 2.0 kicking off this week, salon owners are going to need to be crystal clear on the hours they calculate for their casual staff. That is, in defining the ‘typical’ 28-day cycle for any staffer looking to access the higher-tier payment.
For employees who worked more than 20 hours a week in the benchmark period, the rate falls form $1500 a fortnight to $1200. It will drop again to $1000 a fortnight from January 4, presuming the business remains eligible.
For workers on fewer than 20 hours the fall is more significant. They will receive $750 per fortnight, down from $1500, and $650 per fortnight from January 4.
To claim the higher rate of $1200 for the seven fortnights of the first JobKeeper extension, they must have worked 80 hours or more in the 28-day period ending at the last pay cycle prior to March 1 or July 1.
Working fewer than 80 hours means the employee will revert to the lower payment of $750.
And that’s where is gets tricky for casual employees. If the total hours in the period were not representative of a typical 28-day period for a permanent employee, an alternative period can be used: the most recent pay cycle representative of a typical 28-day period.
But for casual employees, there may be no such thing as a typical 28-day period and that leaves employers at risk of claiming the incorrect amount.
If an employee appeals against being paid the lower amount and wins, the employer will have no choice but to pay them the higher amount and may not be reimbursed by the JobKeeper scheme.
If the higher amount is paid and the tax office determines that it should have been lower, there are severe penalties if a salon owner is found to have made false or misleading statements.
The complexities of the revised scheme are now becoming apparent as the fine print is released.
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