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JobKeeper Cuts to Take Effect From 4 January 2021

JobKeeper Cuts to Take Effect From 4 January 2021

Find out what you need to know about the recent changes to the JobKeeper payment program in 2021 and what it means for your business.

4th January 2021
Reading Time: 2 minutes

2020 was a tough year for many business owners as they suffered from the economic downturn created by the COVID-19 pandemic. A critical program to assist businesses was the Federal government’s JobKeeper program. However, heading into 2021 there are some changes being made to the program which you should be aware of. These new changes will have a large impact on businesses and employees. This article will explain the changes to JobKeeper and how it may impact your business.

JobKeeper Eligibility Changes 

In order to qualify for JobKeeper going forward businesses will need to show that their actual GST turnover has declined in the December quarter in comparison to the corresponding quarter of 2019. You can satisfy the actual decline in turnover in two ways, the basic test and the alternative test. It is important to note that this is different from the original decline in turnover test. To be eligible for JobKeeper payments under the extension, businesses and not-for-profits will need to demonstrate that they have experienced the following decline in turnover:

  • 30 per cent for those with an aggregated turnover of $1billion or less; or 
  • 15 per cent for Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission-registered charities 

Additionally, you must complete a business monthly declaration for December 2020 prior to 28 January 2021. This is a two week extension on the usual due date for monthly declarations. If you were not eligible for JobKeeper in the previous period, you may still be eligible for the remaining extension period. Similarly, the JobKeeper scheme will be open to new participants assuming you can meet the eligibility criteria. Finding out whether you are eligible for the new extension period is a must for all businesses not receiving payments.

JobKeeper Payment Changes 

If you are currently relying on the JobKeeper payment program, the dollar amount has dropped as of the 4th of January for both tiers. Previously, there were two rates depending upon how much an employee worked at the start of 2020. A Tier 1 rate would be paid for employees who worked for 80 hours or more in the four weeks before either 1 March 2020 or 1 July 2020. All other eligible employees fall into the Tier 2 rate. 

The JobKeeper payment will continue until 28 March 2021. The rates of the JobKeeper payment in this period are: $1,000 per fortnight for Tier 1 and $650 per fortnight for Tier 2. This represents a cut from the previous period where the payments were $1,200 and $750 respectively. This will pose a new challenge to businesses, and it is critical to evaluate how it might impact yours.


Navigating the ins and outs of the JobKeeper program can be difficult. On top of this, the potential for further restrictions on businesses remains ever present. Therefore, Ensuring your business is able to claim assistance when eligible is critical for business owners. Lawpath can help you find a lawyer who can make sure that your business is taking advantage of all available resources provided by the government. 

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Romaan Dulloo

Romaan is a Legal Technology Intern at Lawpath. He is currently studying a Juris Doctor at the University of New South Wales. He is interested in Cyber Law, Public Law and how the law will begin to adapt to the new challenges posed by the development of new technology.