On 7 August, the Federal Government announced an extension to its JobKeeper program, but with a reduction in the amount of money recipients will receive. The JobKeeper payment that was scheduled to run until 27 September 2020 will now continue through to 28 March 2021.
From 28 September, the JobKeeper rate has been reduced from $1,500 a fortnight to $1,200; and from 4 January 2021 the rate drops from $1,200 to $1,000 a fortnight.
To be eligible from 28 September, businesses will have to demonstrate a decline in turnover using actual GST turnover rather than projected GST turnover; eligibility will be determined by assessing actual GST turnover in the September quarter, 2020 only.
From 4 January 2021, eligibility will be determined by assessing actual GST turnover in the December quarter, 2020 only.
From 3 August, the relevant date of employment moves from 1 March to 1 July 2020, increasing employee eligibility for the existing scheme and the extension.
The eligibility thresholds for reduction in turnover remain as before at 50% for businesses with turnover of more than $1 billion and 30% for businesses with turnover of $1 billion or less.
JobKeeper has provided an important lifeline for Dealers all over the country and has enabled them to keep staff employed who otherwise would have had to be let go.
The JobTrainer program is an upskilling and re-training initiative, with contributions from both Federal and State governments.
It was announced in July by Minister for Small and Family Business, Skills and Vocational Education, Michaelia Cash, and will create 340,700 additional training places. The AADA were delighted with the announcement of the JobTrainer program and the provision of
$1.5 billion to expand and extend the Apprentices and Trainees Wage subsidy. We also welcome the changes to the eligibility criteria for the wages subsidy which now benefits businesses with up to 200 employees.
his will assist many franchised new car Dealers, all of whom have been suffering from a down-turned market lasting over two years and compounded by the COVID-19 pandemic.
We note that the target industries for the JobTrainer program will be worked out by the National Skills Commission (NSC) in consultation with the states and we are working with the NSC and States to ensure that the automotive industry is included in the program, given the industry skills shortages.
Modified Industry Award
The AADA has worked with the ACCI and VACC to introduce a modified industry award to assist member businesses not eligible for JobKeeper, to utilise a range of award flexibilities during the pandemic. The changes, made through the provision of Schedule 1 – Award Flexibility during the COVID-19 Pandemic, were added to the Vehicle Repair, Services and Retail Award 2020 (VRSR) and were approved by the Fair Work Commission (FWC), who recognised that sectors of the Automotive industry have been severely impacted by the pandemic.
This modified award has been negotiated between industry and the unions, ACTU and AMWU and has now been extended to 30 September, 2020.