With so much information and news out there, it can be hard to know where to start or where to turn to get the right support.
To make this simpler, here’s an overview of the support and resources available for businesses and employers in Australia and where you can find relevant information.
Support to help you pay wages: JobKeeper
The JobKeeper Payment scheme is a subsidy to support businesses impacted by COVID-19 and to help keep people in jobs. It has been extended until March 2021, with some changes. You can find out more information, including the rates, eligibility criteria and changes, through business.gov.au. JobKeeper is administered by the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) and businesses need to enrol for the payment through the ATO website.
If you have apprentices or trainees: JobTrainer
If you employ an apprentice or trainee, you can find out more about the Supporting Apprentices and Trainees wage subsidy. It’s been extended until March 2021 as part of the JobTrainer skills package – which will also include free or low-cost training to equip school leavers and job seekers. You can find information on both of these measures at this supporting apprentices and trainees page.
If you need other financial assistance
Aside from JobKeeper and JobTrainer, there are other kinds of government assistance for businesses, and business.gov.au outlines these. When it comes to rents, there are relief measures for commercial tenants – these are implemented by state or territory governments.
From a tax point of view, changes to the instant asset write-off threshold are another form of relief designed to help small businesses by allowing them to claim immediate deductions on the cost of assets. You can learn more about how this works and eligibility at the ATO website.
There’s also state and territory information, grants and assistance to consider; for example in Victoria, a new support package includes grants for businesses that are in areas of renewed restrictions.
If you’re a sole trader
The government has announced measures to support sole traders during the COVID-19 pandemic – this includes the JobKeeper Payment. You can find out more at the government’s support for sole traders page.
If you need information on operating and managing your team
There have been major shifts to the way many of us work and operate, and some of these can be tricky to navigate. But there’s information to help you when it comes to running your business and managing your team.
Business.gov.au has resources including a guide to continuing your business, outlining proactive steps you can take to help keep your business operating. There’s also information on keeping you and your employees safe during COVID-19 and on pausing or closing your business due to COVID-19. This restrictions on services page links to information for each state and territory, including guidance on non-essential business closures in some areas.
Fair Work has comprehensive information to help you understand your responsibilities as an employer during COVID-19. It outlines the rules and provides guidance on topics including pay and leave, alternative working arrangements including flexible working and changed hours, plus information on redundancy and more.
Support for when you’re finding things tough
The stress, uncertainty and change of difficult periods like this can take a toll on our emotional health, and it’s important to look after your own mental wellbeing, too. It’s important to know there’s help available – the government’s Coronavirus and mental health page lists resources and ways to access support for you and your team. Head to Health has a COVID-19 support page that outlines key facts, strategies, and information on how to access support, and Beyond Blue also has dedicated COVID-19 support and information.
For more resources to support your business through COVID-19, explore SEEK Hiring Advice. You’ll find practical tools and guidance on a range of topics, including supporting your team’s mental health, managing changing staff needs and helping your team work well remotely.
Information provided in this article is general only and it does not constitute legal advice and should not be relied upon as such. SEEK provides no warranty as to its accuracy, reliability or completeness. Before taking any course of action related to this article you should make your own inquiries and seek independent advice (including the appropriate legal advice) on whether it is suitable for your circumstances.