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What the Australian Government’s economic stimulus means for retail and hospitality

The Australian Government has just announced a third stimulus package that focuses on keeping Australians in work, in a bid to help the economy stay afloat through the COVID-19 pandemic.

The stimulus packages to date are designed to improve business confidence, and help businesses manage their cash flow and retain their staff. They will also provide eligible employees with additional benefits if they find themselves out of work as a result of the coronavirus outbreak.

The news comes as a relief for the retail and hospitality industries who have been hard hit by the crisis. Many businesses were already feeling the pressure before COVID-19 struck, and casual workforces being some of the most at risk, which means retail and hospitality need all the help they can get during these challenging times.

Here’s a breakdown of what the stimulus packages could mean for your business – and how you can go about claiming these benefits.

Just announced: JobKeeper payment

What you need to know

On 30 March, the Prime Minister announced the JobKeeper payment, which will give businesses impacted by the Coronavirus access to a subsidy so they can continue paying their employees. Affected employers will be able to claim a fortnightly payment of $1500 per eligible employee from 30 March 2020, for a maximum of 6 months.

Please note this legislation is yet to be passed by parliament.

How to claim

You can find all the details – including how to register your interest – in the Australian Government’s JobKeeper Payment fact sheet here.

Roubler will here to help with this process by ensuring your payroll software is set up for you in line with the new legislation. For more information call us on 1300 833 137 or contact your account manager.

Financial support to retain staff

What you need to know

If you’re a small to medium-sized business that employs people and has a turnover of less than $50 million, you will be eligible for tax-free cash payments of between $20,000 and $100,000 as an incentive to hold on to more of your employees.

If you submit your Business Activity Statement (BAS) quarterly, the next time you submit your BAS, the ATO will credit your BAS with a minimum of $10,000, or 100% of your Pay As You Go Withholding (PAYGW), up to a maximum of $50,000. You will receive a second payment in the July-October 2020 period.

If you submit your BAS monthly, you will be entitled to payments in April, May, June and July.

This means eligible businesses will receive at least $20,000, and as much as $100,000, in total. This change is effective immediately.

How to claim

When you submit your BAS, you will automatically receive a credit via the activity statement system based on the information you lodge.

Visit the Australian Government website for full details and to find out if you are eligible.

Help retaining apprentices and trainees

What you need to know

This benefit is designed to help businesses retain their apprentices and trainees, who are often more at risk than other employees when a business is under financial pressure. Eligible employers will receive 50% of the apprentice or trainee’s wage back as a subsidy, up to a maximum of $21,000 per eligible apprentice or trainee.

If a small business is not able to keep employing an apprentice or trainee, the subsidy will also be available to new employers who take them on.

How to claim

Employers will be able to register for the subsidy from early April 2020. Final claims for payment must be lodged by 31 December 2020.

Visit the Australian Government website for full details and to find out if you are eligible.

Guaranteeing business loans

What you need to know

The Australian Government has stepped in to help struggling businesses access much-needed support in the form of business loans, by guaranteeing loans for small to medium enterprises. Up to 50% of the loan value will be guaranteed, reducing the risk for banks and making it easier for businesses to borrow enough to stay afloat during these tough economic times.

How to claim

The usual loan applications processes apply. Contact your lender to discuss your application.

Preventing businesses from entering liquidation

What you need to know

When a business is facing financial difficulties, a statutory demand issued by a creditor can often result in the business having to enter liquidation. The Australian government has put in measures to prevent this from happening to otherwise viable businesses during the COVID-19 outbreak.

The minimum threshold for statutory demands has been temporarily increased from $2,000 to $20,000. This will apply for the next six months.

How to claim

The ATO will tailor solutions for your specific circumstances, including a temporary reduction of payments or deferrals.

Visit the Australian Government website for full details and to find out if you are eligible

Support for staff you need to let go

What you need to know

If the worst happens and you do need to let some of your staff go, they may be eligible for the “coronavirus supplement” of $550 a fortnight for the next six months. This payment is on top of other benefits such as Jobseeker payments. Casual workers who are currently making less than $1,075 a fortnight will be eligible to receive the full supplement.

In addition, casual workers who have had their income or hours reduced by 20 per cent or more as a result of coronavirus will also be able to access to up to $10,000 of their superannuation tax-free.

How to claim

Your former employees will need to contact Centrelink to determine their eligibility and apply for Jobseeker payments.

Fleur Murphy
Fleur Murphy is a strategic thinker and marketing leader with a passion for all things SaaS. With her drive to build strong brands and genuine desire to create value for customers, Fleur has helped software companies across Australia, the USA, UK and Asia achieve tangible results from their marketing activities. At Roubler, Fleur focuses on strategies to help shift-based workforces get the most out of their business technology.
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