Support available for employers

If you are a sole trader or company who employs staff, you may be eligible for the following:

Federal Government support

JobKeeper Payment

You may be eligible to receive the JobKeeper Payment if your turnover has been reduced because of the coronavirus. Following registration by the eligible business, the Government will provide $1,500 per fortnight per eligible employee until 27 September 2020.

The JobKeeper Payment is available to eligible employers, businesses including companies, partnerships, trusts and sole traders, not-for-profits and charities.

The intent of the JobKeeper Payment is to enable any eligible self-employed person get a wage subsidy regardless of what business structure they use, where:

  • the business operates through a sole trader structure – one owner can be nominated to receive the JobKeeper Payment
  • the business operates through a partnership – one partner can be nominated to receive the JobKeeper Payment
  • the business operates through a company – one director can be nominated to receive the JobKeeper Payment
  • the business has shareholders who provide labour to the company and receive dividends in lieu of wages – one such shareholder can be nominated to receive the JobKeeper Payment
  • the business operates through a trust – one individual beneficiary (that is, not a corporate beneficiary) can be nominated to receive the JobKeeper Payment

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Temporary cash flow support

Employers will receive a payment equal to 100 per cent of their salary and wages withheld (up from 50 per cent), with the maximum payment being $50,000 and the minimum payment being $10,000.

An additional payment is also being introduced equal to the total of all of the Boosting Cash for Employers payments received. This means that eligible businesses will receive at least $20,000 up to a total of $100,000 under both payments.

Not-for-profit entities will also be eligible.

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Assistance to help pay the wages of apprentices or trainees

Eligible employers can apply for a wage subsidy of 50 per cent of the apprentice’s or trainee’s wage paid during the 9 months from 1 January 2020 to 30 September 2020. Where a small business is not able to retain an apprentice, the subsidy will be available to a new employer.

Employers will be reimbursed up to a maximum of $21,000 per eligible apprentice or trainee ($7,000 per quarter).

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Casual employees

If you employ a casual employee and they can’t work because they become sick or need to self-isolate, or their income has been otherwise impacted by the economic downturn caused by the coronavirus, they may be eligible for income support payments.

The government is making these payments quicker to access by waiving the usual waiting period in certain circumstances.

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Temporary relief for financially distressed businesses

The Government is temporarily increasing the threshold at which creditors can issue a statutory demand on a company and the time companies have to respond to statutory demands they receive.

The package also includes temporary relief for directors from any personal liability for trading while insolvent, and providing temporary flexibility in the Corporations Act 2001 to provide temporary and targeted relief for companies from provisions of the Act to deal with unforeseen events that arise as a result of the Coronavirus health crisis.

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The increased instant asset write-off

Under normal circumstances, individual assets less than $30,000 are eligible for the instant asset write-off. The Government has lifted this threshold to $150,000 for assets that are either installed or ready for use by 30 June 2020.

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Backing Business Investment (BBI) / Accelerated depreciation deduction arrangements

For a time limited 15-month period investment incentive are now in place to support business investment, by allowing accelerated depreciation deductions.

Businesses with a turnover of less than $500 million will be able to deduct 50 per cent of an eligible asset on installation, with existing depreciation rules applying to the balance of asset’s cost.

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Increased and accelerated income support

The Government is temporarily expanding eligibility to income support payments and establishing a new, time-limited Coronavirus supplement to be paid at a rate of $550 per fortnight. This supplement will be paid to both existing and new recipients of the eligible payment categories. These changes will apply for the next six months.

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Assistance for affected regions, communities and industries

The Government has created an initial $1 billion support fund to provide assistance to industries and regions severely affected by the economic impacts of Coronavirus.

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Small to Medium Enterprise Guarantee Scheme

This scheme will provide businesses with funding to meet immediate cash flow needs, but further enhancing lenders’ willingness and ability to provide credit. Businesses with a turnover of up to $50 million will be eligible to receive these loans.

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Tax support

The Australian Tax Office is providing relief for some tax obligation for businesses affected by the outbreak, on a case by case basis.

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Temporary relief or financially distressed businesses

The Australian Government will make a number of changes to the Bankruptcy Act 1966. The threshold for the minimum amount of debt required for a creditor to initiate bankruptcy proceedings against a debtor will temporarily increase from its current level of $5,000 to $20,000. This will apply for 6 months.

Failure to respond to a bankruptcy notice is the most common act of bankruptcy. The time a debtor has to respond to a bankruptcy notice will be temporarily increased from 21 days to 6 months. The extension will give a debtor more time to consider repayment arrangements before they could be forced into bankruptcy. This will apply for 6 months.

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NSW Government support

NSW Small business grants

Small businesses will be able to apply for up $10,000 to provide relief from the impacts of COVID-19. Applications for a small business grant of up to $10,000 will be available through Service NSW within a fortnight and remain open until 1 June 2020.

To be eligible, businesses will need to:

  • have between 1-19 employees and a turnover of more than $75,000
  • a payroll below the NSW Government 2019-20 payroll tax threshold of $900,000
  • have an Australian Business Number as at 1 March 2020, be based in NSW and employ staff as at 1 March 2020
  • be highly impacted by the Public Health (COVID-19 Restrictions on Gathering and Movement) Order 2020 issued on 30 March 2020
  • use the funding for unavoidable business costs such as utilities, overheads, legal costs and financial advice
  • provide appropriate documentation upon application. 

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Payroll tax relief

Payroll tax customers whose total grouped Australian wages for the 2019-20 financial year are no more than $10 million will have their annual tax liability reduced by 25 per cent when they lodge their annual reconciliation, which is due on 28 July 2020.

For those who lodge and pay monthly and whose total Australian wages will be no more than $10 million for the current financial year, no payment for the months of March, April or May 2020 will be required.

Payroll tax customers whose total group Australian wages for the 2019-20 financial year are over $10 million, will have the option of deferring the payment of payroll tax for up to six months.

These businesses will not need to make their payment for the March period, normally due on 7 April 2020.

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Payroll tax threshold increase – 2020-2021 financial year

The tax-free threshold will increase from $900,000 to $1 million for the financial year commencing on 1 July 2020.

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Waiving of a range of fees and charges for small businesses

The Government is waiving a range of fees and charges for small business including bars, cafes, restaurants and trades. Keep an eye out on the following websites for more information:

Amendments to the Long Services Leave Act 1995

NSW Parliament has amended the Long Services Leave Act 1995. The key amendments are:

  • waiving the one-month notice period for taking leave (by mutual agreement between employee and employer), and
  • greater flexibility for employees to take this leave in shorter blocks if they wish (rather than traditional monthly blocks)

The legislation will have effect for six months (from 24 March 2020).

Small business COVID 19 support grants

The NSW Governing is providing financial support to ease the pressures on small businesses as a result of COVID-19. If your small business or non-profit organisation has experienced significant decline in revenue as a result of COVID-19, you may be eligible for the small business support grant of up to $10,000.

This grant supports the ongoing operations of small businesses highly impacted from the COVID-19 pandemic. Funds may only be used for unavoidable businesses expenses that are not supported by other government funding. These expenses include, but are not limited to:

  • utilities
  • Council rates
  • telecommunication charges
  • insurance payments
  • professional advice
  • wages for an employee not eligible for JobKeeper payments
  • franchise fees
  • paying creditors, if your business is closing.

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Lax tax break to support commercial tenants and landlords

The NSW Government is working to give legal effect to the National Cabinet Code of Conduct for x, which will operate for a temporary period during the pandemic, and include the following key measures:

  • Landlords must negotiate rent relief agreements with tenants in financial distress due to COVID-19 by apply the leasing principles in the Code
  • A ban on the termination of a lease for non-payment of rent, and
  • a freeze on rent increases.

The Code will apply to business tenants with a turnover of less than $50 million that experience a 30 per cent (or more) reduction in revenue as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, in line with the Prime Minister’s announcement on 7 April.

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