Federal and State Government Support for Business and Individuals

The Prime Minister recently announced changes to the COVID-19 Disaster Payment for workers in Victoria and NSW that have been impacted by the current lockdowns to be jointly funded by the Federal and State governments.

The State governments have also announced assistance measures for affected businesses.

Eligibility for Federal Government Assistance

Workers will be eligible to a payment if they have lost 8 or more hours of work during the period of the lockdown and satisfy a list of eligibility criteria found here.

The Prime Minister confirmed that eligibility for the Payment will not be dependent on a liquid assets test.

Payments will be funded by the Commonwealth for those who live or work in areas declared as a Commonwealth Hotspot by the Commonwealth Chief Medical Officer and by the relevant State Government for other eligible workers.

Details on eligibility for workers impacted by the fifth Victorian lock down will be available here at this link once the Services Australia website is updated. Declared Victorian hotspots include Greater Melbourne, Moorabool Shire, City of Greater Geelong, Borough of Queenscliff and Surf Coast Shire.

Further details on designated NSW hotspots and eligibility criteria for affected workers is available on the Services Australia website here at this link.

Entitlement

The amount of the COVID-19 Disaster Payment:-

  • $600 per week for people who have lost 20 hours or more of paid employment per week.
  • $375 per week for people who have lost between 8 and 20 hours per week of paid employment, or a full day of your usual work hours.

Payments will be made in arrears on application to Services Australia 7 days after the commencement of the lockdown (that is from Friday 23 July 2021 in Victoria). The COVID-19 Disaster Payment is taxable income, so be sure to set some aside.

Claims are made directly through Centrelink via your MyGov account, not through the Australian Taxation Office (ATO).

Business support packages

In addition to the above, each of Victoria and NSW are providing some support to business impacted by the current restrictions. Further information on each scheme is below.

We note that there are currently no direct payments from the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) like JobKeeper or CashFlow Boost available. Both of these original programs ended and we await any future Federal Government announcement.

VICTORIA

On 21 July, the Victorian Government announced that eligible businesses experiencing lockdown currently in July 2021 will be welcome to apply for July lockdown support payments.

Further information will be available soon and applications will be open.

We will provide further information as it comes to hand.

The premiers press release can be found by clicking here.

NSW

According to the Service NSW website, the following support measures are available to eligible business impacted by the current Greater Sydney COVID-19 restrictions.

COVID-19 business grant

Businesses, sole traders and not-for-profit organisations may be eligible for a grant the amount of which is to be based on the decline in turnover experienced during the restrictions as follows:- Decline in turnover Maximum grant 30% or more $7,500 50% or more $10,500 70% or more $15,000
Eligibility criteria include that the entity has an active ABN, had an aggregated turnover between $75,000 and $50 million for the year ended 30 June 2020, total annual Australian wages of no more than $10 million and demonstrate that the business is physically located and primarily operating in NSW. In addition, business must maintain their employee headcount as of 13 July 2021.

Micro business grant

Small businesses and sole trader with annual turnover of between $30,000 and $75,000, may be eligible for a payment of $1,500 per fortnight of restrictions if they suffer a decline in turnover of at least 30%.

What the “restriction period” is and how the “decline in turnover” is to be measured for the purposes of these grants are yet to be announced.


If you have any queries regarding the above, your eligibility or require us to apply for the State Government on your behalf please do not hesitate to contact our office on 1300 978 320 or email info@spire-business.com.au.


Victorian Government Business Support Fund – Expansion

Due to the latest Stage 3 and Stage 4 Restrictions in Victoria, one-off grants will be made available to eligible businesses under the Business Support Fund – Expansion program.

What support is available?

  • $5,000 for employing businesses in regional areas except Mitchell Shire
  • $10,000 for employing businesses in metropolitan Melbourne and Mitchell Shire.

What eligibility criteria does a business need to me to apply?

  • operate a business located within Victoria; and
  • be a participant in the Commonwealth Government’s JobKeeper Payment scheme; and
  • employ people; and
  • be registered with WorkSafe on 30 June 2020; and
  • have an annual payroll of less than $3 million in 2019-20 on an ungrouped basis; and
  • be registered for Goods and Services Tax (GST) as at 30 June 2020; and
  • hold an Australian Business Number (ABN) and have held that ABN at 30 June 2020; and
  • be registered with the responsible Federal or State regulator.

How can the funding be used?

  • meeting business costs, including utilities, salaries or rent
  • seeking financial, legal or other advice to support business continuity planning
  • developing the business through marketing and communications activities
  • any other supporting activities related to the operation of the business.

Some important points:

  • Businesses that have received funding from other components of the Victorian Government’s Economic Survival Package are eligible to apply for this program.
  • Business owners that do not employ people (non-employing businesses) are not eligible for funding through this program.
  • Employing businesses must provide their WorkCover Employer Number in the application form for verification.
  • If you have already applied for the Extension package before the further $5,000 was announced due to Stage 4 restrictions, there is no need to apply again. This extra $5,000 will be credited to you.

As usual, if you have any further questions or require us to apply for this support fund on your behalf please feel free to contact us.

Click here for Application Page – Applications close 14 September 2020

Business Support Fund Expansion Guidelines

JobKeeper Extension

Many would agree that JobKeeper has been a lifeline for many businesses through the COVID19 Pandemic.

The current JobKeeper program is due to come to an end on 27 September 2020 and with the crisis continuing and further lockdowns in Victoria, the Federal Government announced an extension to JobKeeper out to 28 March 2021.

Please note that none of the changes below have passed through parliament at the time of this article being written. Further updates will be provided, if any, once these changes have passed through parliament.

What has changed with Business Eligibility?

From 28 September 2020, all businesses and not-for-profits will need to re-assess their eligibility to be eligible from 28 September to 3 January 2021 and then re-assess again to be eligible from 4 January 2021 to 28 March 2021

Eligibility will be assessed as follows:

 JobKeeper Extension period 28 September 2020 to 3 January 2021:

  • Eligibility re-assessment based on Actual Turnover during the September 2020 quarter (1 July 2020 to 30 September 2020)

JobKeeper Extension period 4 January 2021 to 28 March 2021:

  • Further Eligibility re-assessment based on Actual Turnover during the December 2020 quarter (1 October 2020 to 31 December 2020)

Alternative tests are yet to be released for businesses and not-for-profits who don’t have a suitable comparison period to assess decline in turnover

What has changed with Employee Eligibility and payment rates?

  • The reference date for assessing which employees are eligible for the JobKeeper Payment is now 1 July 2020 with effect from 3 August 2020.
  • From 28 September 2020 to 3 January 2021, the payment rates will be the following:
    • $1,200 per fortnight for all eligible employees who, in the four weekly pay periods before the reference period, were working in the business or not-for-profit for 20 hours or more a week on average and for business participants who were actively engaged in the business for more than 20 hours per week
    • $750 per fortnight for employees who were working in the business or not-for-profit for less than 20 hours a week on average and business participants who were actively engaged in the business less than 20 hours per week in the reference period.
  • From 4 January 2021 to 28 March 2021, the payment rates will be the following:
    • $1,000 per fortnight for all eligible employees who, in the four weekly pay periods before the reference period, were working in the business or not-for-profit for 20 hours or more a week on average and for business participants who were actively engaged in the business for more than 20 hours per week
    • $650 per fortnight for employees who were working in the business or not-for-profit for less than 20 hours a week on average and business participants who were actively engaged in the business less than 20 hours per week in the reference period.
  • The reference period for employees regarding their hours worked to determine their tier of payment will be the two fortnightly pay periods prior to 1 March 2020 or 1 July 2020. The period with the higher number of hours is to be used for employees who were eligible at 1 March 2020.

Please note that the current JobKeeper program continues to run until 27 September 2020 and if you have not enrolled in the program, however feel that your income is declining due to the Stage 4 lockdowns in Victoria or if you have any further questions in relation to the JobKeeper Extension please feel free to contact us for assistance.

Fact Sheet – JobKeeper Payment Extension