We are pleased to announce that JobKeeper 2.0 was launched this week and now includes Casual workers. Businesses are required to accurately calculate the hours their casual staff are working. They will need to clearly define the typical 28-day cycle for any staff member wishing to access the higher-tier payment.

Please note, that casual employees who worked for more than 20 hours a week in a benchmark period, their rate will drop from $1500 a fortnight to $1200. As of January 4, 2021, it will drop again to $1000 a fortnight, providing that the business remains eligible.

On the other hand, if your casual staff works for less than 20 hours there will be a further decrease of $750 per fortnight and as of January 4, 2021, and the fortnight amount, given will be $650.

To qualify for the higher rate of $1200 for the seven fortnights of the first JobKeeper extension, your casual staff is required to have worked for 80 hours or more in the 28-day period ending at the last pay cycle period to March 1 or July. However, if your staff has worked less than 80 hours, their payment will revert to $750.

Please be careful as it becomes tricky. While permanent employees operate a period that is typically 28 days, with casual employees there may not be such a thing as a typical 28-hour period, so it is important that the employer ensure they calculate their hours correctly.

Please note that in the case of an incorrect payment of the lower amount, if the employee appeals against this amount and wins, the employer will be required to pay the higher amount, but they will not be able to be reimbursed the 28-hour JobKeeper scheme. On the other hand, if the higher amount is paid and the Tax Office deems that the lower amount should have been paid, you will be subject to penalties due to “false and misleading statements”. Please discuss this with your accountant and ensure you are operating within the correct guidelines.