Former JobKeeper scheme

Published 16 March 2021 | Updated 24 May 2021

Icon of a book with \JobKeeper scheme – historical workplace information

The JobKeeper scheme finished from 29 March 2021. Our JobKeeper information stopped applying from this date. Access some of our most popular historical JobKeeper pages below:

The JobKeeper scheme was introduced in April 2020 to help employers significantly affected by coronavirus keep paying their employees. It also gave certain employers increased flexibility to help manage their business by using provisions temporarily added into the Fair Work Act.

This page gives employers and employees important information about what happens when the JobKeeper scheme ends.

JobKeeper scheme end date

The JobKeeper scheme ends on Sunday, 28 March 2021. From Monday, 29 March 2021:

  • there are no more JobKeeper fortnights where businesses can claim JobKeeper payments from the Australian Taxation Office
  • employers (including legacy employers) can no longer use the Fair Work Act JobKeeper provisions to issue or make JobKeeper enabling directions or agreements
  • an employee's usual terms and conditions of employment (that applied before the JobKeeper scheme started) apply again.

Our information about the JobKeeper scheme

While businesses and employees adjust to the JobKeeper scheme ending, information about the rules that applied during the JobKeeper scheme will continue to be available. This means you can continue accessing this information for historical and other purposes.

We have added notices to our JobKeeper information:

Icon of a book with \The JobKeeper scheme finished from 29 March 2021. The information on this page stopped applying from this date. Find out more at Former JobKeeper scheme.

This is to help ensure you aware of when the scheme is due to end and when our information applies until.

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Reverting to usual pay and conditions

When the JobKeeper scheme ends, employees are entitled to return to the terms and conditions of employment that applied (or would have applied) before the JobKeeper scheme started. These are set out in the National Employment Standards, and in a relevant award, registered agreement or employment contract.

When JobKeeper payments end

From Monday, 29 March 2021, normal pay rules apply. All employees will need to be paid the correct pay rate for the hours they work, as set out in the national minimum wage or an applicable award, registered agreement or employment contract.

Employers can't ask their employees to 'earn back' their JobKeeper payments by working for free or on reduced pay rates.

For current minimum award pay rates, use our Pay and Conditions Tool.

When the Fair Work Act JobKeeper provisions end

JobKeeper provisions were temporarily added to the Fair Work Act to give certain employers increased flexibility to manage their workplaces during the impact of coronavirus. The provisions started on 9 April 2020, with some changes from 28 September 2020 when the JobKeeper scheme was extended.

When the JobKeeper scheme ends, employers (including legacy employers) can no longer issue or make JobKeeper enabling directions or agreements. Those that were issued or made will no longer apply.

The last day that a JobKeeper enabling direction or agreement can apply is Sunday, 28 March 2021.

The Fair Work Act JobKeeper provisions that will end from 29 March 2021 are:

Employees are entitled to return to their previous employment conditions once any directions or agreements end. Penalties may apply if employers issue JobKeeper enabling directions when they aren't eligible to.

Some employers and employees may wish to continue with aspects of their JobKeeper-related working arrangements when the scheme ends (for example, working some of their hours from home). This needs to be considered in line with an employee's applicable award or agreement and employment contract. Any ongoing coronavirus-related restrictions and requirements should also be factored in.

To support these discussions and explore the available options, use our Returning to work – interactive employer tool.

Example: Employee no longer on JobKeeper directions

Harry normally works full-time for a small event management business. Harry’s employer has been receiving JobKeeper payments for him.

Harry has been working reduced hours under a JobKeeper enabling stand down direction. His employer had also issued a direction to change his duties. With the JobKeeper scheme ending, both JobKeeper directions will end after Sunday, 28 March 2021.

From Monday, 29 March 2021, Harry needs to return to his usual full-time hours and his duties before the directions were issued.

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When an employer can’t return an employee to previous employment conditions

When the JobKeeper scheme finishes, some employers may not be able to return employees to their previous employment conditions. Where this happens, it’s important that employers discuss all available options with their employees and explore what changes can be made.

Options may include:

Free legal advice may be available to employers and employees experiencing workplace issues after the JobKeeper scheme finishes. Our Workplace Legal Advice Program provides eligible employers and employees with independent legal advice to deal with workplace issues arising from the coronavirus outbreak. This includes how to navigate employment conditions following JobKeeper.

Information about the program and who can apply is available at Workplace Legal Advice Program – overview.

Reducing an employee's hours of work

Reducing a full-time or part-time employee’s ordinary hours of work usually needs to be agreed with an employee.

Before making any changes, employers should first review any applicable award, agreement or employment contract. Awards or agreements may include rules about reducing hours of work as well as rules about the consultation requirements that need to be followed.

Get guidance on discussing and changing an employee’s hours of work under an award or agreement at:

Changing an employee's duties

In other situations, it might be appropriate to change an employee’s duties after JobKeeper finishes. An employer may be able to change an employee’s duties at work under any:

  • award
  • enterprise agreement
  • employment contract.

It’s best to check what rules apply under an award or agreement to make sure the correct process is followed. Communicating regularly with employees and discussing any changes will also help make sure that the changes are implemented appropriately and supportively in the workplace.

Before directing an employee to change duties, an employer should make sure that any new duties are safe for the employee. They should also make sure the employee has any required licences or qualifications to perform the duties.

When an employee works at a higher classification, they usually need to be paid at a higher rate. Employees who do some tasks below their usual classification should receive their usual pay rate.

Learn how to implement workplace changes like this at Changes in working hours and duties.

Employers who make significant changes to an employee’s duties should be mindful about whether those changes result in the employee’s original position no longer existing. In these situations, the position may have been made redundant by the employer. See Ending employment and redundancy.

Ending employment and redundancy

In some situations, employers may need to consider whether an employee’s position needs to be made redundant. This includes where an employer can’t afford to keep some positions because of the ongoing impact of coronavirus.

Where this happens, employees may be entitled to:

  • notice
  • redundancy pay
  • payment of accrued entitlements including pay, annual and long service leave
  • other entitlements.

When dismissing an employee, employers should check the applicable award, enterprise agreement, employment contract and workplace policies that apply. They should also check the National Employment Standards. These instruments outline the rules and obligations that need to be followed when ending an employee’s employment.

The Fair Work Act also includes protections against being dismissed because of:

  • discrimination
  • a reason, or in a way, that is harsh, unjust or unreasonable
  • another protected right.

These protections at work continue to apply to employees impacted by coronavirus and for those who participated in the JobKeeper scheme.

Employees may be able to lodge an application with the Fair Work Commission if they believe they have lost their job unfairly. The Fair Work Commission (the Commission) external-icon.png decides on cases of unfair dismissal.

Example: Ending employment following JobKeeper

Carlos works full-time for a medium-sized catering business. During the JobKeeper scheme, Carlos’s employer was receiving JobKeeper payments for him.

Carlos was on a JobKeeper enabling stand down direction throughout the pandemic. The stand down direction ended from Monday 29 March 2021.

Now that the JobKeeper scheme has ended, Carlos’s employer tells him that because of the ongoing impact coronavirus has had on the business, his position will be made redundant. His employer explains the steps they’ve taken to avoid making his role redundant and discusses with Carlos what this means for his employment.

Carlos’s employer explains that Carlos will be paid out his notice instead of working it and that he will be paid the relevant amount of redundancy pay, as well as all his accrued entitlements.

Important reminders for employers

Employers (including legacy employers) who issued JobKeeper enabling directions during the JobKeeper scheme should make sure that an employee's service was counted for all purposes for the period of the direction.

Employers (including legacy employers) who issued JobKeeper stand down enabling directions or made JobKeeper agreements to take annual leave (before 28 September 2020) also need to make sure that:

  • employees accrued leave entitlements as normal during the direction or agreement period
  • any leave, redundancy and notice of termination is calculated as if the direction or agreement hadn’t been made.

For more information, visit:

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Paid pandemic leave and temporary changes to awards

Some other temporary entitlements are ending on 29 March 2021.

Paid pandemic leave

Paid pandemic leave has been available to eligible residential aged care employees covered by the Aged Care Award, Nurses Award and Health Services Award. This entitlement ends on 29 March 2021.

For more information on how these provisions worked, when they expire and what applies now, see Paid pandemic leave in some awards.

The Pandemic Leave Disaster Payment and other state-based hardship payments may still be available after 28 March 2021. For more information, visit Other government information and assistance.

Other temporary changes to awards and agreements

The Fair Work Commission varied a number of provisions in certain awards to give employers and employees extra flexibility to agree on alternative working arrangements.

Most of these award provisions have now ended. For more information about which awards were affected and which provisions may still apply, see Changes to workplace laws during coronavirus.

Some enterprise agreements were also varied to enable extra flexibility to help address the impact of coronavirus. For more information, visit the Fair Work Commission's COVID-19 and enterprise agreements page external-icon.png.

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Ending employment and redundancy

Some businesses still impacted by coronavirus may need to reduce the number of staff they employ once the JobKeeper scheme ends.

If this happens, employers need to follow the usual rules about providing notice and other entitlements. To calculate employee entitlements when ending employment, user our Notice and Redundancy Calculator.

For more information, visit:

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Government support for employers and employees

Businesses and employees no longer receiving JobKeeper payments may be able to access other support. For more information about support available, visit Other government information and assistance.

Employers

Once the JobKeeper scheme ends, some businesses may find it difficult to keep staff employed. Businesses can assess their options, and find information about financial assistance and government support, at business.gov.au's Coronavirus information and support for businesses external-icon.png.

Government programs that offer targeted wage subsidies are available to support businesses. These include:

JobMaker Hiring Credit scheme

The JobMaker Hiring Credit scheme is an incentive for businesses to employ job seekers between the ages of 16 and 35 years. It enables eligible employers to receive payments for each eligible employee they hire between 7 October 2020 and 6 October 2021. The JobMaker Hiring Credit Scheme ends on 6 October 2022.

Learn more about the JobMaker scheme and how it interacts with workplace entitlements and obligations at JobMaker Hiring Credit scheme.

The JobMaker Hiring Credit scheme is administered by the Australian Taxation Office (ATO). Employers can register for the scheme on the ATO website at Register for JobMaker Hiring Credit external-icon.png.

Boosting Apprenticeship Commencements wage subsidy

The Australian Government has launched the Boosting Apprenticeship Commencements wage subsidy to support employers and Group Training Organisations to employ new apprentices and trainees. The wage subsidy is administered by the Department of Education, Skills and Employment.

Employers can find out more about the scheme at Boosting Apprenticeship Commencements wage subsidy.

Employees

There are a number of resources to support employees seeking retraining or employment. This includes financial support.

For a full list of services available, visit Other government information and assistance.

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Need help with a workplace problem?

To check what to do if you are experiencing a workplace problem related to the end of JobKeeper, see how to solve it at Workplace problems.

Our Workplace Legal Advice Program also provides eligible employers and employees with independent legal help to deal with workplace issues arising from the coronavirus outbreak. Information about the Program and who can apply is available at Workplace Legal Advice Program – overview.

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