Taking Care Of Your Business
May 15, 2020
Free Government Support For Businesses
We are working alongside a range of local governments to offer free access to our business advisors to assist their local business community. We are working alongside the following councils; City of Cockburn, City of Fremantle, City of Kwinana, City of Melville, City of Perth, City of Rockingham, City of Serpentine-Jarrahdale, City of Stirling, City of Wanneroo, Shire of East Pilbara & Town of Victoria Park.
If your council is not on the list, you can book with us directly here.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Want to know more? Take a look at some frequently asked questions during this time.
What government assistance is available to me as a small business?
The Australian Government is offering businesses support to manage cash flow challenges and retain employees. Assistance includes cash flow support to businesses and temporary measures to provide relief for financially distressed businesses.
- Boosting cash flow for employers;
- Temporary relief for financially distressed businesses;
- Increasing the instant asset write-off;
- Backing business investment; and
- Supporting apprentices and trainees.
For more information please click here.
For the cash flow assistance fact sheet, click here.
State Governments are also offering support. For example, the Western Australian state government is offering one-off special grants to eligible small businesses as well as payroll tax relief. For more information click here.
Start here to find all of the WA State Government support here.
For more information about the Victorian Government package, click here.
For more information about the New South Wales Government package, click here.
For more information about the Queensland Government package, click here.
For more information about the Tasmanian Government package, click here.
For more information about the ACT Government package, click here.
For more information about the Northern Territory Government package, click here.
The Government will allow individuals in financial stress as a result of the COVID-19 to access up to $10,000 of their superannuation in 2019-20 and a further $10,000 in 2020-21. The withdrawals will be tax free.
For Synergy customers, The$2500 credit applies to businesses customers on tariffs F1, R1, C1, D1, or K1 as of 30 March 2020. You can find out which tariff you are on page 1 of your bill in the Current Account Details section. If your business is eligible, the $2,500 will be automatically credited to your account on 1 May.
For Horizon Power customers, customers will need to be current customers on an eligible tariff (either C2, D2, K2, L2 and MyPower Business 3/ 5/ 7/ 10/ 15 tariffs,) as at 31 March 2020. If your business is eligible, the $2,500 will be automatically credited to your account on 1 May. You can find out which tariff you are on page 1 of your bill. Click here for more information.
What is the JobKeeper payment and how will it support businesses to retain jobs?
The Government is introducing a subsidy program to support employees and businesses. The JobKeeper Payment is designed to help businesses affected by the Coronavirus to cover the costs of their employees’ wages, so that more employees can retain their job and continue to earn an income.
The JobKeeper Payment will be available from 30 March 2020 until 27 September 2020. You can find more info here.
What if my business doesn't show a 30% decrease due to scale up for JobKeeper allowance?
Where a business or not-for-profit was not in operation a year earlier, or where their turnover a year earlier was not representative of their usual or average turnover (for example, because there was a large interim acquisition, they were newly established, were scaling up, or their turnover is typically highly variable), the Tax Commissioner will have discretion to consider additional information that the business or not-for-profit can provide to establish that they have been adversely affected by the impacts of the Coronavirus. Businesses that are in liquidation are not eligible for this payment.
The ATO will look at them on a case by case basis and they will need to prepare information that shows how they have scaled and the percentage decrease due to COVID-19.
What are the banks doing to help?
All of Australia’s major business banks have prepared relief packages and support measures for small business struggling with the impacts of the COVID-19 outbreak.
In the first instance, banks are requesting that business customers currently impacted by the spread of coronavirus to contact them directly to discuss their situation. Relief packages are currently offered on a case-by-case basis.
For those worried about the prospect of managing bills, some major banks are offering to:
- defer loan and credit card repayments;
- extend loan terms; or
- waive the fee to restructure finances
For more information and to get the links to the banks dedicated COVID-19 pages, click here.
What tax relief is available for my business?
For more information about relief you can apply for from the Australian Taxation Office (ATO), click here.
For State tax information, please go to the links in the Government assistance section.
Where can I go for business advice to navigate my business through this time?
Many local governments are providing access to one-to-one business advice, so check you local government website. A number of these local governments have teamed with Business Foundations to provide free one-to-one advice to eligible businesses.
Business Foundations can provide you a one-one-one advisory session with one of our business advisors to help you manage the specific issues facing your business. This can be provided in person, over the phone or online in a virtual meeting. You can easily book a session online easily here.
Where can I get templates and checklists to help me?
The Australian Government has announced measures to support businesses impacted by the coronavirus (COVID-19). If you’re an employer, learn what your business can get and where to go for help. There are some valuable templates and checklists here.
What is the commercial tenancies rent relief policy and how does it benefit me?
The National Cabinet agreed that states and territories will introduce a mandatory Code of Conduct (the Code). The purpose of the Code is to impose a set of good faith leasing principles for application to commercial tenancies (including retail, office and industrial) between owners/operators/other landlords and tenants, in circumstances where the tenant is a small-medium sized business (annual turnover of up to $50 million) and is an eligible business for the purpose of the Commonwealth Government’s JobKeeper programme.
National Cabinet also agreed that there would be a proportionality to rent reductions based on the tenant’s decline in turnover to ensure that the burden is shared between landlords and tenants. The Code provides a proportionate and measured burden share between the two parties while still allowing tenants and landlords to agree to tailored, bespoke and appropriate temporary arrangements that take account of their particular circumstances.
Australian and foreign banks along with other financial institutions operating in Australia are expected by National Cabinet to support landlords and tenants with appropriate flexibility as they work to implement the mandatory Code.
The Rent Relief Policy will include a mutual obligation requirement on the small and medium sized enterprises and not-for-profit tenants to continue to engage their employees through the JobKeeper initiative where eligible, and if applicable, provide rent relief to their subtenants.
For more information on the Mandatory Code, click here.
Managing My Employees
What do I need to consider in getting my team to work from home?
Have a Work from Home Policy, give your employees a checklist and check your insurances. Workers’ Compensation is likely to apply if there is an injury if an employee is injured while they are working at home. More info here.
For employees working from home, they can claim some expenses as a tax deduction. The Australian Tax Office has a useful fact sheet here.
For staff directed to work from home until this health crisis can be contained, the following link may be helpful here.
How do I manage my team working from home?
When you are managing a remote working team, it is important to create a team structure and have regular team touch points. These may be as simple as a 10-minute teleconference in the morning to discuss the day’s priorities and update on ongoing projects. Online platforms are offering free or discount access during this time.
Setting up instant messaging chat groups through platforms such as Microsoft Teams, can help the whole team keep up with developments during the day, along with a video meeting platform such as Teams. For meetings with people external to your organisation Zoom or GoToMeeting are useful.
As manager it is important to have scheduled one-to-one meetings with each team member to check in with them and troubleshoot any issues. A weekly KPI reporting meeting will also keep people on track.
What are my options and obligations regarding redundancies, stand downs and requiring annual leave is taken?
There are options open to SMEs to reduce their staffing levels but any changes to terms and conditions, such as a drop in hours salaries must be with the agreement of each individual employee. It is wise to take advice prior to these conversations. With agreement, you may want to discuss the following with your employees:
- 4-day weeks or 9-day fortnights; or
- Reduced hours can be negotiated.
In some circumstances, redundancy provisions may also apply. Temporary halt of business operations and standing down employees is also an option. Circumstances in which a stand down without pay may be applicable is ‘if the employee cannot usefully be employed’ and standing them down is ‘because of…a stoppage of work for any cause for which the employer cannot reasonably be held responsible.’
For more information, click here.
For specific information on stand downs, click here.
What government support is available for my employees if they are stood down?
How do I approach conversations with my employees about the options and the situation the business faces?
The importance of communication in line with the values of your organisation is pivotal at a time like this. Being open and honest, as transparent as possible, is essential and shows strong leadership.
We highly recommend an open communication strategy, including clearly explaining the unprecedented circumstances that we have all been faced with.
For more detailed information click here.
Where can I get more advice about employment issues I need to be considering?
What are the new JobKeeper payment requirements for 16 and 17 year olds?
Employees that are 16 and 17 years old who identified as eligible under the original eligibility criteria for the first three JobKeeper fortnights (from 30 March until 10 May 2020), may no longer be eligible employees under the JobKeeper wages subsidy scheme from the JobKeeper fortnight 4 commencing 11 May.
For 16 and 17 year olds to remain eligible employees, they need to meet the following additional criteria. From 1 March 2020, the employee aged 16 or 17 was either:
• independent, or
• not in full time study
These terms are defined in the Social Security Act 1991 and further guidance can be found on the Services Australia website. This means that full time students are no longer eligible employees unless they are also independent from JobKeeper fortnight 4. However, employers can still claim for those 16 and 17 year olds who had already identified as eligible employees for JobKeeper fortnights 1 to 3 from 30 March up until 10 May 2020.
Employers will need to provide their 16 and 17 year old employees with the new JobKeeper Employee nomination notice and have them complete and return it as soon as possible to confirm if they meet the new eligibility criteria and that they agree to be nominated for JobKeeper fortnight 4 commencing on 11 May. If your 16 and 17 year old employees are no longer eligible, you will no longer be able to identify them as an eligible employee from JobKeeper fortnight 4 which commences on 11 May.
Making it through the present and planning for the future
What are some of things small businesses are doing to adapt to this situation?
Keeping the cash coming in the door is one of the biggest concerns for small businesses during these unprecedented times. Business owners need to get creative about delivering services to their customers.
Here are some of the creative ways that people can and are adapting to the new circumstances and ensuring that their revenue keeps coming in.
How do I make my business more digitally ready?
Marketing can never stop, even amid a pandemic. Businesses of all sizes have been impacted by the rapid change in consumer behaviour. There’s no easy answer in terms of how to respond to this. However, there are some practical steps that all businesses can take to adapt, and possibly even thrive in a time of crisis. Click here on how to market in the midst of Coronavirus.
What speeds do I need to make my home ready for videoconferencing?
Trying to run a business from home is creating a range of challenges for people who are used to running a business from an office, workshop or factory. We have created a blog post that covers some of the technical information you need to make sure you can host and participate in video calls from home, read here.
Microbusinesses and start ups
What support is there for NEIS participants at the moment?
If you would like to register for the Jobseeker payment and receive the $550 per fortnight COVID-19 supplement from the 27th April, you will have to email us your request to cancel NEIS allowance. You can email us here.
Can I get COVID supplement on NEIS?
Yes. If you commence NEIS on an eligible income support such as Jobseeker payment, you can get COVID supplement on NEIS. NEIS allowance is not an eligible payment for COVID supplement.
Can I get JobSeeker payments while on NEIS?
If you are a new applicant, you may join NEIS staying on Jobseeker payment. If you are an existing NEIS participant, you may choose to cancel NEIS allowance to lodge a claim with Centrelink whilst staying on the program. In such a way, you can still have access to mentoring. Before cancelling your NEIS allowance, it is advisable that you check with Centrelink the income threshold to be eligible for Jobseeker payment, as your business income or partner’s income will influence your eligibility for the payment.
Does NEIS count as mutual obligation?
Yes, It is an approved activity that can be used to meet a mutual obligation requirement.
Can I get recognition for a prior business experience/qualification?
Yes, we do offer recognised prior learning for NEIS applicants who wish to attain BSB30315 Cert III in Micro Business Operations, however there is a significant amount of evidence our assessors need to collect for this. As part of the NEIS requirements all participants still need to complete a viable NEIS business plan (including financial forecasts) in order to commence onto the program.
Why should I do NEIS rather than JobSeeker?
NEIS assistance can offer accredited business training and 1 year of helpful business advice from professionals with significant amount of business experience. These are free if you are eligible. Rather than starting the business alone, NEIS can equip you with the knowledge you need before opening the business and offer you valuable guidance as you operate.
Should I even consider starting my business now?
Now may be the perfect time for you to get help and support to start your own business, particularly if you find yourself unemployed or underemployed through the next few months. For more information, click here.