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Legislation for JobKeeper 2.0, which starts on September 28, has been passed by the Australian Parliament, after the government was forced to make last minute technical changes.

The legislation extends the historic JobKeeper scheme by a further six months to 28 March 2021, replacing the $1,500 a fortnight payment with a new two-tier payment rate from 28 September 2020.

There will be $750 subsidies for those who worked fewer than 20 hours a week before the crisis struck and $1200 for all others.

Last minute technical changes were introduced after accountants complained of the extra compliance and risk burden caused by extending industrial relations exemptions to so-called legacy employers.

These are employers who qualified for the first round of JobKeeper but will not qualify for the second because their turnovers have recovered so that they no longer meet the eligibility criteria of a 30 per cent revenue downturn.

If their revenue is still down by at least 10 per cent in the September quarter compared with the same quarter last year, they will be eligible for exemptions from the Fair Work Act that will give them flexibility in managing their workforce for another six months.

These includes flexibility to giving JobKeeper enabling directions or requests for employees to change their days or times of work, or reducing a worker’s hours but by no less than 60 per cent of the hours they worked before the pandemic struck.