• Navneel Lal

Additional COVID Relief Measures

Updated: Jul 19

The pace and evolution of the rules and announcements made, sometimes within a day of the previous stimulus, can make it hard for business owners and individuals to ascertain exactly what and how much they may be eligible to receive as support payments. We have attempted to collate all announced support payments surrounding COVID 19 below;


ASF TAKEAWAYS: We welcome any support that can be accessed by businesses in these difficult times. The expanded rules announced on 13th July have opened support to all struggling businesses, not just those with payroll, and that is good policy - all businesses, be it micro, small, medium or large are eligible for some form of support.



COVID-19 DISASTER PAYMENTS


  • If you were unable to work, or were placed on reduced hours, from week four of the lockdowns, you will be able to claim:

- $375 per week if you lost between 8-20 hours a week.

- $600 per week if you lost more than 20 hours.

  • You will remain eligible to receive the above payments until the area is no longer designated as a hotspot by the Commonwealth.

  • You can continue to work and still be eligible to receive this entitlement, as long as the loss of hours qualifies you. For instance, if you typically worked 40 hours a week, and have been rostered for 20 hours only, you can get the $600 in Govt. support on top of the wages earned for working the 20 rostered hours.

  • The NSW Government will fund the payments for people who are not caught in the Commonwealth-designated hotspot from 18 July 2021. This would apply to regional NSW etc.

UPDATED 19 JULY 2021


The previously announced leave entitlements requirement has been clarified. Annual leave, unpaid leave, sick leave and long service leave does not need to be paid to the employee for them to be able to access the Disaster Payments.


The Disaster payment is made directly to the employees as a result of losing more than 8 hours of work per week as a result of the lockdowns. Employees will need to register with Services Australia to make the claims: the link can be found here.



SME SUPPORT PAYMENTS - JOBSAVER


Only applies for businesses with turnover between $75k and $50m:


If business had employees

  • Can receive a minimum $1,500 and capped at $10,000 a week for 40% of NSW payroll payments. This will be based on the average 2020-2021 payroll, and businesses will need to retain their staffing levels (F/T, P/T & Casual) as of 13 July, 2021.

  • Businesses will need to demonstrate a 30% drop in turnover compared with a equivalent two week period in 2019. At the moment, this period required for comparison has not been clarified, and we are awaiting further ATO and Govt. commentary in this area.

If businesses were non-employing i.e. sole traders

  • Can receive $1,000 per week.

  • Will also need to demonstrate the 30% drop in turnover, as covered above.

You will need to register with Service NSW to make the claims: the link can be found here. Payments will cease upon the easing of the lock down provisions.



BUSINESS GRANTS PROGRAM


The rules pertaining to the eligibility criteria to access the grants have not yet been legislated, but from the various announcements, we understand that;

  • For businesses with turnovers between $30k to $75k, where turnover has decreased by at least 30%, the business will be eligible to receive $1,500 per fortnight of restrictions.

  • For businesses with turnovers greater than $75k and annual Australian wages below $10m, where turnover has decreased by at least;

- 30%, the business will be eligible

to receive a one-off payment of

$7,500.

- 50%, the business will be eligible

to receive a one-off payment of

$10,500.

- 70%, the business will be eligible

to receive a one-off payment of

$15,000.

Businesses will be able to claim

for the first three weeks of the

restrictions as well.





ELIGIBILITY CRITERIA - UPDATED 19 JULY 2021


The grant is available to non-employee sole trader & partnership businesses, as well as for not-for-profit organisations.


The eligibility criteria for this grant is as follows;

- show that the business has experienced a decline in turnover for 30% or more over a minimum two week period from 26 June 2021 to 26 July 2021, compared to the same period in 2019. Whether you use cash or accrual basis to determine the reduction in turnover will have to be consistent to the approach taken to preparing Business Activity Statement. That is, if BAS's are reported on an accrual basis, the sales turnover has to be on an accrual basis.

- must have active Australian Business Number (ABN).

- be able to demonstrate that the business was operating in NSW as at 1 June 2021. You can use commercial rates notices & lease agreements to demonstrate this, and if this is not available, a combination of utility bills, insurance papers, supply invoices, registration papers and contractor licences can be used.

- had total annual Australian wages of $10m or less as at 1 July 2021. This is assessed on a grouped basis i.e. if you have operations in different states operating via its own company vehicles, all the wages for each entity will be aggregated.

- aggregated turnover must be between $75,000 and $50m for the year ended 30 June 2020. This should be on a grouped basis.

- maintain head count as at 13 July 2021. This means that the employer-employee relationship consistent with employment law is maintained - our reading of this is that you can reduce hours or stand down employees, but cannot terminate employees. The employer will be required to make a declaration to the above effect. Employers will continue to be eligible if employees voluntarily resign.

- the grant must only be used for expenses for which no other government support is available. Since the grant covers the period prior to JobSaver, this could be things such as wages, rent and utilities.


Applications for grants will need to be made via an application process through Service NSW from 19th July. You may need to provide an accountant's letter (depending on whether the business is on the highly impacted list) as well as an Australian Income Tax return and/or other supporting documentation on lodgement.


The application can be done here.




OTHER INITIATIVES


  • Payroll tax waivers of 25% for businesses with Australian wages between $1.2m and $10m that have experienced a 30% decline in turnover. These businesses will also be able to request payroll tax deferrals and interest free repayment terms. The period of turnover reduction has not yet been defined.

  • Residential tenants get protection from eviction under a moratorium where the tenant experiences a 25% reduction in turnover. Further details not yet published.

  • Residential landlords may receive grants or land tax reduction of up to $1,500 where they provide rental relief. Further details not yet published.

  • Commercial & retail landlords will need to attempt mediation before recovering a security bond or evicting a tenant affected by the Public Health Order.

  • Commercial & retail landlords may get land tax relief equivalent to the value of the rent reduction. The relief can be to the 100% of the land tax obligation.

  • Pandemic leave payments where you are required to self-isolate under the NSW Health directive and cannot work. Claims can be made here.

  • All NSW small business grants will be treated as being tax exempt.


We will update the above as more information becomes available to us.


If you want more details on any particular measure, and how it will impact your business or you personally, please reach out to the ASF team.




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