COVID-19 Relief Options Available For Your Business

Updated September 24

While we at BlueRock have been regularly distributing updates on the COVID-19 assistance options and legislative changes, this page has been created as a comprehensive summary in one single location.

As further announcements are made, we will continue to update this page as a single source of information for our community on the relevant government support and legislation as well as important business information and tips. We're also currently running webinars on the topics within this web page so make sure to check these out if you'd like further information or have questions. Take care and remember that we're in this together and we're here to help.

Upcoming Events

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Previous Events

We record each Webinar session (usually!), so you're never left out, even when you can't make it.
October 14, 2020
Finance and Property Market Update
October 13, 2020
Changes Made to Victoria's COVID-19 Commercial Leasing and Licensing Regulations
September 22, 2020
Taking You Through the New Rules of the JobKeeper Extension Bill
September 2, 2020
Changes to JobKeeper Under the JobKeeper Extension Bill
July 16, 2020
BlueRock Private Wealth Investment Update Seminar
June 10, 2020
Estate Planning for a Secure Future
June 3, 2020
Capital Raising in a COVID-19 Climate
May 27, 2020
Tax Planning for Businesses and Individuals
May 6, 2020
Global Investment Markets and Covid-19
Where to now?
April 22, 2020
Distressed Business
Managing Your Risks and Considering Your Options
April 21, 2020
Rent and COVID-19
The Latest Updates
April 9, 2020
How to Navigate COVID-19 and Staff
April 7, 2020
Surviving and Thriving Through the Coronavirus
Tips for Hospitality & Retail Owners
1
Updated May 1

Key Practical Business Considerations

Most businesses have been impacted in one way or another by COVID-19. Regardless of your individual situation, the practical operational guidelines below may help your business tosurvive, and hopefully thrive, through these tough times.

1.1
Updated May 1

Forecasting

  • Prepare a short-term cash flow forecast (3 months) broken down into weekly cash movements. Include assumptions such as a 20% and 40% drop in revenue.
  • Identify the impact on your cash flow and consider potential strategies to adopt around costs savings, and protecting and growing revenue.
  • Work with your BlueRock advisor to quickly ascertain your situation
1.2
Updated May 1

Cash flow

  • Know your cash flow position.
  • Consider how your product mix and sales strategy may need to change to reduce the impact of, or take advantage of, current conditions.
  • Revisit your marketing plan and strategy to investigate low to promote your business in low-cost way.
  • Eliminate all non-essential or discretionary expenditure.
  • Reduce your labour costs – refer to the Staff section below.
  • Consider your operating hours to reduce the running costs of your business.
  • Discuss reducing or deferring rent with your landlord.
  • Discuss converting your debt to interest-only with your bank or seeking a repayment holiday.
  • Review cash flow relief and support options provided by the ATO and SRO.
  • Identify other options for short-term sources of finance.
  • Reduce stock levels.
  • Sell surplus assets that do not have debt attached to them.
  • Consider payment plans or deferral for personal expenses such as school fees.
1.3
Updated May 1

Staff

  1. Speak to staff about short-term job sharing or moving to part-time employment rather than redundancies.
  2. Consider short-term salary cuts for higher salaried employees.
  3. Communicate with staff about your policy, expectations and interactions with clients and customers – Read our Coronavirus and the Workplace Article for more info on this topic.
  4. Consider workflow planning should there be personnel disruptions, managing casual staff, and paying full-time wages while on leave.
  5. Consider work-from-home requirements on a case-by-case basis.
  6. Consider Fair Work requirements for employees that may have been exposed to the virus.
1.4
Updated May 1

Debtors

  • Offer discounts for payment.
  • Agree to payment plans where required.
  • Seek upfront payments for services where appropriate.
  • Make sure your terms and conditions are structured adequately and protect your right to recover debts.
1.5
Updated May 1

Suppliers

  • Proactively communicate with key suppliers and delay payments or negotiate extended payment terms.
  • Reduce the number of suppliers who are owed funds by clearing smaller debt as this will reduce the number of suppliers you may be required to negotiate with.
  • Negotiate payment discounts.
2
Updated September 24

Employee Issues

2.1
Updated September 24

JobKeeper Payment Scheme

The JobKeeper Payment Scheme is a wage subsidy operated by the ATO, which is paid to Businesses, Sole Traders, Businesses Without Employees, Not for Profits and Charities.

The Australian Government has announced huge changes to this scheme as a result of the stage 4 restrictions in Victoria and continuing economic impacts of COVID-19.

As a result, we've created a JobKeeper guide that summarises all the changes in a clear and concise way. Hopefully you find it helpful!

Guide to the Jobkeeper Scheme Changes – A Fair Work Focus

The implementation of the JobkeepKer scheme earlier this year has been the lifeline that employers and employees needed to assist with the relentless economic impacts of COVID-19.

As the initial period was set to expire on 28 September 2020, the Federal Government has passed the Coronavirus Economic Response Package (JobKeeper Payments) Amendment Bill 2020 which will have the effect of extending JobKeeper until 28 March 2021.

In addition, the bill extends the temporary JobKeeper provisions in the Fair Work Act with respect to:

  • qualifying employers (who remain in JobKeeper) will retain access to the full range of temporary provisions (other than for annual leave payments);  
  • legacy employers who suffer at least a 10% decline in turnover will retain access to modified measures provided they have previously been eligible for the JobKeeper scheme.  

New JobKeeper Rules Released on the 15th September

The Treasurer yesterday released the legislative instrument that sets out the details of the new JobKeeper rates and eligibility conditions which apply from 28 September 2020 until 28 March 2021.

Business Turnover Tests

  • JobKeeper 2.0 requires the satisfaction of two turnover tests. They must pass the original decline in turnover test and the new test.
Jobkeeper Period
28/09/20-03/01/21
03/01/21-28/03/21
Original Decline in Turnover Test
Projected decline in turnover in relation to any of the following:
  • A calendar month that ends after 30 March 2020 and before 1 January 2021
  • The quarter ended on 30 June 2020, September 2020 or 31 December 2020
*Note that an entity that is already participating in the JobKeeper scheme has already met this test.
Projected decline in turnover in relation to any of the following:
  • A calendar month that ends after 30 March 2020 and before 1 January 2021
The quarter ended on 30 June 2020, September 2020 or 31 December 2020*Note that an entity that is already participating in the JobKeeper scheme has already met this test.
New Decline in Turnover Test
Actual turnover decline September 2020 quarter versus September 2019 quarter
Actual turnover decline December 2020 quarter versus December 2019 quarter.
  • From 28 September 2020, businesses and not-for-profits will be required to reassess their eligibility with reference to their actual GST turnover in the September quarter 2020 to be eligible for the JobKeeper Payment from 28 September 2020 to 3 January 2021.
  • From 4 January 2021, businesses and not-for-profits will need to demonstrate that they have met the relevant decline in turnover test with reference to their actual GST turnover in the December quarter 2020 to be eligible for the JobKeeper Payment from 4 January 2021 to 28 March 2021.
  • Required turnover drops
  • 50% for those with an aggregated turnover of more than $1 billion
  • 30 per cent for those with an aggregated turnover of $1 billion or less
  • 15 per cent for Australian Charities and Not for profits Commission-registered charities (excluding schools and universities).

Alternative Test and Modifications to Original Decline in Turnover Test

  • Existing powers to specify an alternative decline in turnover test and the modified test for certain group structures apply.
  • If an alternative test is used it can only be used in calculating the current GST turnover for the relevant comparison period that is a quarter (as opposed to JobKeeper 1.0 where it could be for one month).
  • Existing Tests
  • The entity commenced business after the relevant comparison period (the business did not exist in that period) but not on or after 1 March 2020.
  • The entity acquired or disposed of part of the business after the relevant comparison period (the business is not the same business in that period as it is now).
  • The entity undertook a restructure after the relevant comparison period (the business is not the same business in that period as it is now).
  • The entity’s turnover substantially increased by    
  • 50% or more in the 12 months immediately before the applicable turnover test period, or
  • 25% or more in the 6 months immediately before the applicable turnover test period, or
  • 12.5% or more in the 3 months immediately before the applicable turnover test period.
  • The entity was affected by drought or other declared natural disaster during the relevant comparison period.
  • The entity has a large irregular variance in their turnover for the quarters ending in the 12 months before the applicable turnover test period, excluding entities that have cyclical or regular seasonal variance in their turnover, or
  • The entity is a sole trader or small partnership where sickness, injury or leave have impacted an individual’s ability to work which has affected turnover.
  • Examples (at the bottom of content)
  • Example 1: An entity that starts to participate in the JobKeeper scheme for JobKeeper fortnights beginning on or after 28 September 2020
  • Example 2: Requalifying for the JobKeeper scheme during the JobKeeper extension period
  • Example 3: Employer first qualifies for the JobKeeper scheme for JobKeeper fortnights beginning on 4 January 2021

Rates

JobKeeper fortnights beginning on or after 28 September 2020
JobKeeper fortnights beginning on or after 4 January 2021
Higher payment rate: 80 hours or more in reference period
$1,200 per fortnight
$1,000 per fortnight
Lower payment rate: Less than 80 hours in reference period
$750 per fortnight
$650 per fortnight

Which Rate For Employees?

  • The rate depends on how many hours the employee worked during the reference period. The reference period for employees is the 28 days ending at the end of the pay cycle that finished immediately before 1 March 2020 or 1 July 2020.
  • If they worked 80 hours or more, they receive the higher rate.
  • The hours include actual hours worked, and any hours for which the employee received paid leave, including annual, long service, sick, carers and other forms of paid leave, or paid absence for public holidays.
  • If the pay cycle for the employee is longer than 28 days, a pro rata proportion of the total hours of work, paid leave and paid absence on public holidays of the employee in the pay cycle is to be used.

Which Rate for Eligible Business Participants?

  • The test to determine which rate to apply will instead be based on the assessment of the hours that the business participant was actively operating the business or undertaking specific tasks in business development and planning, regulatory compliance or similar activities in an applicable reference period.
  • The reference period for business participants will be February 2020.
  • The eligible business participant must make a declaration in the approved form to the entity that their total hours of active engagement are 80 hours or more.
  • A Sole trader must make a declaration in the approved form to the ATO that their total hours of active engagement are 80 hours or more.
  • Failure to provide a declaration that active engagement was 80 hours or more will result in the eligible business participant receiving the lower rate.

Discretion to Specify Alternative Reference Periods

  • The Commissioner has the discretion to specify alternative reference periods for the following scenarios for employees that:
  • worked less hours in the reference period despite generally working on average 80 hours or more over earlier periods so that the hours worked in the reference period were not typical of their established work pattern;
  • have taken some form of unpaid leave or unpaid absence during part or all of the reference period making it not representative of their usual work hours in earlier periods (for example, they were receiving parental leave pay, dad or partner pay, workers compensation or emergency service leave during the bushfires);
  • were only employed for a part of the reference period (for example, because they commenced employment during the reference period); or
  • were not employed at any time during the reference period (for example, an employee who commenced employment after the reference period but is still an eligible employee because they were treated as having been employed on 1 March 2020 or 1 July 2020 because of the change in business rule

Commissioner Determination

  • Alternative Reference Period:
  • Only where 4 weeks in Feb or July doesn’t work for an employee or the month of Feb doesn’t work for an eligible business participant – ‘is not suitable’

Employees

When can we look at alternate reference period?
Examples
Solutions
If an employee’s total hours (including work, paid leave and paid absence on a public holiday) was
  • Less than 80 hours: and
  • when compared to earlier 28 day periods ending at the end of a pay cycle for the employee, was not representative of the employee’s total number of hours the employee usually worked in a 28 day period (all contained within one month)
The employee took various types of unpaid leave during the standard reference period (being Feb/June) such as sick leave, parental leave and emergency services leave during bushfires. The employee’s hours during the standard reference period (Feb/June) were affected due to the employer conducting business or some business in a declared drought zone or declared natural disaster zone.Total hours worked by an employee during the standard reference period varies due to rostering schedules such as fly-in-fly-out employees.The employee worked less hours in the standard reference period (Feb/June) but would generally work on average 80 hours or more over earlier periods.
The comparison can be made to an earlier 28 day period, being:
  • earlier 28-day periods ending at the end of a normal pay cycle and
  • the entity reasonably establishing the employee’s usual hours over an established work pattern.
The assessment can be with regard to a single earlier 28 day period or multiple comparable 28 day periods (all of which end at the end of a pay cycle). Eg. where the total number of hours worked by an employee varies due to rostering schedules there may be no single earlier 28-day period that is representative of the employee’s usual hours. As such, an average of the hours worked over the employee’s rostering schedule and proportionally adjusted over 28 days can be used to work out a typical 28-day period.
Were not employed during all or part of the reference period
The employee started with the employer in mid-February 2020.
For pay cycles less than 28 days (weekly or fortnightly pay runs) the alternate reference period is the first 28 day period, ending on or after 1 March 2020 or 1 July 2020, that wholly occurs during consecutive pay cycles.For pay cycles of 28 days or more (e.g. monthly), the alternative reference period is the first 28-day period, ending on or after 1 March 2020 or 1 July 2020, that wholly occurs during a pay cycle. For employees stood down part way through the first28-day period, the alternative reference period is the first 28 day period starting on the first day of a pay cycle on or after 1 March 2020 or on or after 1 July 2020 in which they were not stood down.
Their employment started on or before 1 March 2020 or 1 July 2020 but their first pay cycle ended on or after 1 March 2020 or 1 July 2020
Started in the last week of June, don’t have the 28 days to check or the last week of February so don’t have a full 28 day period to check.
For pay cycles less than 28 days (weekly or fortnightly pay runs) the alternate reference period is the first 28 day period, ending on or after 1 March 2020 or 1 July 2020, that wholly occurs during consecutive pay cycles.For pay cycles of 28 days or more (e.g. monthly), the alternative reference period is the first 28-day period, ending on or after 1 March 2020 or 1 July 2020, that wholly occurs during a pay cycle. For employees stood down part way through the first 28-day period, the alternative reference period is the first 28 day period starting on the first day of a pay cycle on or after 1 March 2020 or on or after 1 July 2020 in which they were not stood down.
The employee is from a business changing hands or transferred in a wholly-owned group
Employee works in business A but in February the business changed hands.Employee works in business A but transfers to business B in February which is part of the same wholly-owned group.
While the rules deem that employee to have been employed at 1 March or 1 July for the purposes of eligibility, this doesn’t apply for this part. The alternative reference period is limited to the time after the employee began working either after the business changed hands or after they began in the second business.For pay cycles less than 28 days (weekly or fortnightly pay runs) the alternate reference period is the first 28 day period, ending on or after 1 March 2020 or 1 July 2020, that wholly occurs during consecutive pay cycles.For pay cycles of 28 days or more (e.g. monthly), the alternative reference period is the first 28-day period, ending on or after 1 March 2020 or 1 July 2020, that wholly occurs during a pay cycle. For employees stood down part way through the first 28-day period, the alternative reference period is the first 28 day period starting on the first day of a pay cycle on or after 1 March 2020 or on or after 1 July 2020 in which they were not stood down.

Eligible Business Participants

When can we look at alternate reference period?
Examples
Solutions
If an eligible business participant total number of hours were not representative of a typical 29 day period.The eligible business participant was actively engaged in the business in February 2020
  • For less than 80 hours and
  • When compared to earlier 29 day periods (each wholly within a calendar month), was not representative of what the participant’s total number of hours would be typically.
The eligible business participant was absent through sickness in February 2020, causing that month not to be representative of a typical month. In this case the alternative reference period would be the most recent month in which they were not sick.
The comparison can be made to an earlier 29 day period, being:
  • earlier 29-day periods ending within a calendar month and
  • the entity reasonably establishing the participant’s usual hours over an established work pattern.
The assessment can be with regard to a single earlier 29 day period or multiple comparable 29 day periods (all of which end at the end of a pay cycle). Eg. where the total number of hours worked by the participant varies due to rostering schedules there may be no single earlier 29-day period that is representative of the participant’s usual hours. As such, an average of the hours worked over the employee’s rostering schedule and proportionally adjusted over 29 days can be used to work out a typical 29-day period.
The eligiblebusiness participant commenced participation in February 2020
The participant became a director of a company or a beneficiary of a trust after 1 February 2020 and before 1 March 2020
The alternative reference period is the 29-day period starting on the day the individual first began to satisfy the business participation requirementfor the entity (doesn’t have to be within a calendar month)
The eligible business participant is in a business affected by drought or other natural disaster.
The business was in a bushfire area impacted during February 2020.
The reference period would be the most recent 29-day period ending before 1 March 2020, during which the entity did no conduct business or some of its business in a declared drought zone or declared natural disaster zone.

FAQ

  1. My employee was on leave for the reference period, how do I work out their hours? Their hours include actual hours worked, and any hours for which the employee received paid leave, including annual, long service, sick, carers and other forms of paid leave, or paid absence for public holidays.
  2. My employee worked more than 80 hours in the February reference period but only 40 hours in the July reference period, which one do I use? If the employee worked in both reference periods you can choose the higher amount of hours.
  3. How do I work out the hours for an eligible business participant? For eligible business participants, the test to determine which rate to apply will instead be based on the assessment of the hours that the business participant was actively operating the business or undertaking specific tasks in business development and planning, regulatory compliance or similar activities in an applicable reference period. The reference period for business participants will be February 2020.

Examples (at the bottom of content)

  • Example 4: Working out hours over the reference periods
  • Example 5: Working out hours for employees on monthly pay cycle

 Rate when employee hours not readily ascertainable

  • The Commissioner has determined specific circumstances in which the higher rate will apply.
  • Classes of individuals
  • The employee does not have any record of the hours in a reference period; or
  • Has incomplete records of those hours in a reference period
  • This includes individuals paid salary, wages, commission, bonus or allowances that are not tied to an hourly rate or contracted rate, where there are no (or incomplete) records of the relevant hours.
  • The Commissioner has identified three tests in which the higher rate will apply (only one test has to be satisfied)
  • Test 1 - $1,500 or more in salary, wages and commission during the defined fortnight
  • Test 2 If a written industrial award, employment contract or similar instrument government the employment relationship and under that agreement an employee was required to work 80 hours or more in a reference period (including paid leave and paid absence on public holidays)
  • Test 3 – If it can be determined based on reasonable assumptions that an employee’s hours in a reference period were 80 hours or more (including paid leave and paid absence on public holidays). Must be based on verifiable information.

Administration/Reporting Requirements

  • The existing forecast and actual monthly reporting requirements for entities regarding turnover continue to apply.
  • The employer must notify the Commissioner in the approved form as to whether the higher or lower rate applies to the individual. Entities who fail to notify the commissioner of the relevant rate for employees will fail to qualify for the JobKeeper payments until a valid notification is made.
  • Entities will also be required to notify their employees whether they qualify for the higher or lower rate within seven days of notifying the commissioner.

Examples

Example 1: An entity that starts to participate in the JobKeeper scheme for JobKeeper fortnights beginning on or after 28 September 2020

TWC Inc. did not participate in the JobKeeper scheme for JobKeeper fortnights between 30 March 2020 and 27 September 2020. This is because TWC Inc. did not expect to have a substantial decline in turnover during the original duration of the scheme and as such did not elect to participate in the scheme.

However, TWC Inc. experienced a decline in its turnover over August and September 2020 at a higher rate than it expected. On 25 September 2020, TWC Inc. realised that this decline was large enough for it to participate in the JobKeeper scheme extension. For JobKeeper fortnights beginning on or after 28 September 2020, TWC Inc. determines that it has met:

  • the original decline in turnover test – TWC Inc.’s decline in projected GST turnover for the quarter ending on 30 September 2020, is greater than the required 30%; and
  • the new actual decline in turnover test – TWC Inc. experienced an actual decline in turnover for the quarter ending on 30 September 2020 that was greater than the required 30% rate.

Subject to meeting all other qualifying requirements (including notification and election requirements) and eligibility conditions for its employees, TWC Inc. qualifies for the JobKeeper payment for the JobKeeper fortnights beginning on and after 28 September 2020. However, TWC Inc. cannot qualify for JobKeeper payments for JobKeeper fortnights between 30 March 2020 and 27 September 2020 because it had not previously elected to participate in the scheme.

For JobKeeper fortnights beginning on or after 4 January 2021, TWC Inc. will need to test its actual decline in turnover with reference to the quarter ending 31 December 2020 to determine if it continues to qualify for JobKeeper payments.

Example 2: Requalifying for the JobKeeper scheme during the JobKeeper extension period

Tom Enterprises had been receiving JobKeeper payments since the commencement of the JobKeeper scheme in respect of six of its employees, from the JobKeeper fortnight beginning 30 March 2020. However, Tom Enterprises did not remain a qualifying entity for the JobKeeper extension for JobKeeper fortnights beginning on and after 28 September 2020 because it did not meet the actual decline in turnover requirements for the quarter ending 30 September 2020 by the required percentage.

Tom Enterprises assesses in early January 2021 that it had a 45 per cent decline in turnover for the quarter ended 31 December 2020 compared to the relevant comparison period (which is the corresponding quarter in 2019) and therefore satisfies the actual decline in turnover test for JobKeeper fortnights beginning on and after 4 January 2021. As Tom Enterprises has previously participated in the JobKeeper scheme, it does not need to specifically retest its qualification based on the original decline in turnover test (Tom Enterprises would have met this requirement previously).

Having previously qualified, Tom Enterprises does not need to notify the Commissioner that it elects to participate in the JobKeeper scheme again. However, Tom Enterprises must meet all other qualifying requirements, including the wage condition, and the new notification requirements to the Commissioner and employees regarding the rate of JobKeeper payment that applies to Tom Enterprises in respect of each the employees (these are discussed below).

Example 3: Employer first qualifies for the JobKeeper scheme for JobKeeper fortnights beginning on 4 January 2021

PXLB Enterprises has not been receiving JobKeeper payments because its business has not been significantly affected by COVID-19. However, during the December 2020 quarter the business experiences a significant decline in turnover related to COVID-19 impacts.

PXLB Enterprises determines in early January 2021 that it has had a sufficient decline in turnover to satisfy the original decline in turnover test determined by reference to its turnover for the December 2020 quarter. PXLB Enterprises also satisfies the actual decline in turnover test based on the reduction in its turnover for the same December 2020 quarter.

Accordingly, PXLB Enterprises must notify the Commissioner that it elects to participate in the JobKeeper scheme and must meet all other qualifying requirements, including the wage condition, and the notification requirements to the Commissioner and employees regarding the rate of JobKeeper payment that applies to PXLB Enterprises in respect of each the employees (these are discussed below).

Example 4: Working out hours over the reference periods

Emma has been employed by a bus company on a permanent part-time basis as a bus driver since 2010. Her standard working hours prior to the impact of COVID-19 were 15 hours per week but most weeks she worked some further paid hours at her employer’s request depending on the availability of other company drivers. The pay cycles of the bus company occur fortnightly and end on Fridays.

To determine the rate of JobKeeper payment the bus company can receive in respect of Emma as an eligible employee for JobKeeper fortnights beginning on or after 28 September 2020, the bus company considers which of the reference periods for Emma is most beneficial:

  • Using the 28 day period ending at the end of the most recent pay cycle before 1 March 2020 – the relevant pay cycle fortnights are from 1 February 2020 until 14 February 2020; and 15 February 2020 until 28 February 2020. During this 4 week period, Emma worked 15 hours in week 1, 22 hours in week 2, 18 hours in week 3 and in week 4 she did not work and took 15 hours of annual leave. Emma’s hours of work and paid leave in this reference period total 70 hours.
  • Using the 28 day period ending at the end of the most recent pay cycle before 1 July 2020 – the relevant pay cycle fortnights are from 23 May 2020 until 5 June 2020; and 6 June 2020 until 19 June 2020. During this 4 week period, Emma worked 15 hours in week 1, 20 hours in week 2, 10 hours in week 3, and 10 hours in week 4. Emma’s hours for work in this reference period total 55 hours.

Under the two reference periods, the bus company qualifies for JobKeeper payments in respect of Emma based on the most beneficial reference period. This is the 28 day period at the end of the most recent pay cycle before 1 March 2020. However, the hours Emma worked under this reference period still falls short of the required 80 hour threshold for the higher rate of JobKeeper payments.

As Emma’s employer continues to be eligible for the JobKeeper scheme because the company’s actual turnover has declined by 55 per cent in the quarter ending 30 September 2020, the company is entitled to receive the JobKeeper payment. The company receives the lower rate of $750 per fortnight in respect of Emma for the JobKeeper fortnights beginning on or after 28 September 2020 and ending on or before 3 January 2021.

For the JobKeeper fortnight beginning on 28 September 2020, Emma worked 30 hours a week for both weeks. Although the bus company pays Emma remuneration that exceeds $750 for the fortnight, the bus company is only entitled to claim the lower JobKeeper rate of $750 for that JobKeeper fortnight in respect of Emma by reference to the JobKeeper rate calculated based on her hours worked in the reference period.

The bus company will need to undertake a further test of its actual decline in turnover for the quarter ending 31 December 2020 to work out if it qualifies for JobKeeper payments for JobKeeper fortnights starting on or after 4 January 2021. If the bus company qualifies for JobKeeper payments for this later period, it can receive the lower JobKeeper rate of $650 a fortnight in respect of Emma if it meets the wage condition, and Emma remains an eligible employee.

Where the relevant pay cycle for an employee is longer than the 28 day reference period (such as a monthly pay cycle) then a pro-rated calculation is used to determine the applicable hours of the longer pay cycle that are attributable to the 28 day period.

Example 5: Working out hours for employees on monthly pay cycle

Employees of Lai Industries Inc. are paid on a monthly pay cycle that ends on the 15th of each month. Antonio has been a permanent employee of the company since 2006.

To determine the rate of JobKeeper payment Lai Industries Inc. can receive in respect of Antonio as an eligible employee for JobKeeper fortnights beginning on or after 28 September 2020, Lai Industries Inc. considers which of the reference periods for Antonio is most beneficial:

  • Using 28 day period ending at the end of the most recent pay cycle before 1 March 2020 – the relevant pay cycle is from 16 January 2020 until 15 February 2020 (31 days). During this period, Antonio worked for 85 hours and took 80 hours of combined annual and long service leave. For the purposes of the JobKeeper payment, Antonio’s hours of work (pro-rated) for this reference period is just over 149 hours, worked out as follows: 28/31 x (80 + 85) hours = approx. 149 hours.
  • Using the 28 day period ending at the end of the most recent pay cycle before 1 July 2020 – the relevant pay cycle is from 16 May 2020 until 15 June 2020 (31 days). During this period, due to the impacts of COVID-19, Antonio only worked for 85 hours. For the purposes of the JobKeeper payment, Antonio’s hours of work (pro-rated) for this reference periods is 76.8 hours, worked out as follows: 28/31 x 85 hours.

Lai Industries Inc. qualifies for JobKeeper payments in respect of Antonio based on the most beneficial reference period, which is the 28 day period at the end of the most recent pay cycle before 1 March 2020. Under the hours worked for this reference period, Antonio meets the required 80 hour threshold for the higher rate of JobKeeper payments.

Accordingly, Antonio’s employer is entitled to the higher JobKeeper payment rate in respect of Antonio for JobKeeper fortnights beginning on or after 28 September 2020 provided that the other conditions are met.

Alternative Decline in Turnover Tests

Two Decline in Turnover Tests

  1. Forecast a drop of 30% for a calendar month that ends after 30 March 2020 and before 1 January 2021 or the quarter ended on 30 June 2020, September 2020 or 31 December 2020. (You can still do this test on either a month basis or a quarter basis).
  2. An actual decline in turnover for the quarter ended 30 September 2020 (for eligibility 28/9/20-4/1/21) or the quarter ended 31 December 2020 (for eligibility 5/1/21-28/3/21). (There is no monthly test basis available for this test, you must use the quarter basis).

Alternative Decline in Turnover Test Rules

Available to entities where there is not an appropriate relevant comparison period in 2019.

  1. Businesses that started after the comparison period
  2. Businesses that acquired or disposed part of the business
  3. A business restructure changed the entity’s turnover
  4. Businesses that had a substantial increase in turnover
  5. Businesses that were affected by drought or natural disaster
  6. Businesses that have irregular turnover
  7. Sole traders and partnerships that experienced sickness, injury or leave during the comparable period.

Examples of Alternative Decline in Turnover Tests

  • Example1 – New to Business and bushfire affected
  • Example 2 – New to Business
  • Example 3 – New to Business
  • Example 4 – New to Business and bushfire affected months are the only months before 1 March 2020 since commencement
  • Example 5 – Disposal or acquisition
  • Example 6 – Restructure
  • Example 7 – Substantial increase in turnover
  • Example 8 – Irregular turnover
  • Example 9 – Sole trader or small partnership with sickness, injury or leave

GST Turnover

  • If an entity is registered for GST, it needs to calculate current GST turnover using the same accounting method that is used for GST reporting purposes.

Entity Commenced Business after the RelevantComparison Period in 2019

  • The business commenced after 1 July 2019 (or after 1 October 2019 if looking atDecember quarter) but before 1 March 2020. (Note that a business commencing is different to an entity ‘existing’).
  • Only applies to an entity that was not operating any business. It does not apply to an entity that was operating one or more businesses and commenced a new additional business.
  • Tests (you only need to pass one)
  • Test 1:
  • Compare the entity’s current GST turnover for the turnover test period (September 2020Quarter or December 2020 Quarter) with the average monthly current GST turnover since the entity commenced business multiplied by three.
  • The average monthly current GST turnover is:
  1. Compare the entity’s current GST turnover for the turnover test period (September 2020Quarter or December 2020 Quarter) with the average monthly current GST turnover since the entity commenced business multiplied by three.
  2. The average monthly current GST turnover is:
  • Test 2:
  • Compare the entity’s current GST turnover for the turnover test period with the average monthly currently GST turnover with the GST turnover of the 3 months immediately before 1 March 2020.
  • Note if the entity qualified for the ATO’s Bushfires 2019–20 lodgement and payment deferrals, then the entity may exclude the calendar months covered by theBushfires 2019–20 lodgement and payment deferrals from the calculation, unless those are the only months since the entity commenced the business, or
  • ReceivedDrought Help concessions, then the entity may exclude the months covered by theDrought Help concessions from the calculation, unless those are the only months since the entity commenced the business.

Entity Acquired or Disposed of Part of their Business Test

  • The acquisition or disposal occurred at or after the start of the relevant comparison period in 2019 (1 July 2019 or 1 October 2019)
  • Results in the business not being the same business and as a result is not comparable to the relevant comparison period
  • Compare the entity’s current GST turnover for the applicable turnover test with the current GST turnover for the month after the month in which the disposal, acquisition or restructure occurred. This will ensure the entity’s current GST turnover is compared with the current GST turnover of the entity’s new business setting once these disposals, acquisitions or restructures have occurred. If there is no whole month after the last acquisition, disposal or restructure, and before the applicable turnover test period, then the month immediately before the applicable turnover test period is used.
  • Previously if the entity had multiple acquisitions, disposals and restructures you had to use the period after the last of the sequential transactions. This requirement has been removed.
  • Where an entity has had multiple acquisitions, disposals or a sequence of restructure transactions at or after the start of the relevant comparison period but before the applicable turnover test period, the entity may apply these tests to each acquisition, disposal or restructure separately.

Entity Restructured Business Test

  • An entity has restructured part or all of their business at, or after, the start of the relevant comparison period in 2019, including more than one restructure, and that restructure, or restructures, changed the entity’s current GST turnover.
  • Compare the entity’s current GST turnover for the applicable turnover test with the current GST turnover for the month after the month in which the disposal, acquisition or restructure occurred. This will ensure the entity’s current GST turnover is compared with the current GST turnover of the entity’s new business setting once these disposals, acquisitions or restructures have occurred. If there is no whole month after the last acquisition, disposal or restructure, and before the applicable turnover test period, then the month immediately before the applicable turnover test period is used.
  • Previously if the entity had multiple acquisitions, disposals and restructures you had to use the period after the last of the sequential transactions. This requirement has been removed.
  • Where an entity has had multiple acquisitions, disposals or a sequence of restructure transactions at or after the start of the relevant comparison period but before the applicable turnover test period, the entity may apply these tests to each acquisition, disposal or restructure separately.

Substantial Increase in Turnover Test

  • The business is undergoing rapid growth as such the business is not comparable to the business as it was in the relevant comparison period in 2019.
  • Original Rules – check if there was an increase in turnover of at least 50%, 25% or 12.5% in the 12, 6 or 3 months immediately before the test period
  • New Rules – same as above plus you have the option to test if there was an increase in turnover of at least 50%, 25% or 12.5% in the 12, 6 or 3 months before 1 March 2020
  • Step 1 Test - To test an entity’s increase in current GST turnover in the 12 months before 1 March 2020, the entity compares their current GST turnover for the month of February 2019 with their current GST turnover from the month of February 2020. To test for an increase in the 6 months and 3 months before 1 March 2020 the entity compares their current GST turnover for February 2020 against their current GST turnover for the months of August 2019 and November 2019, respectively.
  • Step 2 Test Compare the current GST turnover (either Sept 2020 Quarter or Dec 2020 Quarter) with the average current GST turnover from the 3 months immediately prior to the test period (June 2020 Quarter or September 2020 Quarter) OR the three months immediately prior to 1 March 2020 (being 1 December 2019 – 29 February 2020).

Irregular Turnover Test

  • An entity has an irregular current GST turnover that is not cyclical, such as can occur in the building and construction sector.
  • An entity with a cyclical turnover (for example the snowfields) such as an entity that operates a seasonal business which generates most of its turnover at a particular time of year has an appropriate relevant comparison period – a cyclical turnover is within the usual business setting. Entities that have cyclical turnover cannot use this test.
  • Entities that have a large irregular variance in their current GST turnover for the consecutive 3-month periods in the 12 months before the applicable turnover test period or before 1 March 2020. Where an entity has large irregular variance in their current GST turnover, the relevant comparison period in 2019 is outside the ordinary business setting and hence not appropriate.
  • Consistent with the substantial increase in turnover test, entities can use the period immediately before the applicable turnover test period or before 1 March 2020.
  • Compare the entity’s current GST turnover (Sept 2020 Quarter or Dec 2020 Quarter) for the applicable turnover test period with the average current GST turnover from the 12 months immediately before the applicable turnover test period or 1 March 2020.
  • Original Rules – check whether the entity’s lowest turnover quarter was no more than 50 per cent of the highest turnover quarter for the quarters ending in the 12 months immediately before the applicable turnover test period
  • New Rules - look at whether the entity’s current GST turnover for any consecutive three-month period before the applicable test period or 1 March 2020 is no more than 50 per cent of the highest of the entity’s current GST turnover for any other of those three-month periods

Drought or Other Natural Disaster Affected Business

  • An entity has been affected by a drought or other natural disaster in the relevant comparison period in 2019. As such the relevant comparison period in 2019 is not appropriate.
  • Compare the entity’s current GST turnover (or projected GST turnover) for the applicable turnover test period with the current GST turnover for the same period in the year immediately preceding the year when the drought or natural disaster was declared rather than 2019.
  • For the purposes of this test, a declared drought zone includes an area subject to a formal declaration of drought by a Commonwealth, State, Territory or local government agency. It also includes an area for which there has been a public identification or acknowledgment that the area is drought affected by such an agency
  • For example, the following public information sources provide declarations, acknowledgments, statistics, maps and other guidance as to what are declared drought zones and drought affected areas for the purposes of this test:
  • the National Drought Map
  • Australian Government Bureau of Meteorology Monthly Drought Statements, maps, rainfall and rainfall deficiency statistics
  • in Queensland – the drought situation map
  • in NSW – the Combined Drought Indicator map, and
  • in South Australia – the Drought Affected Areas map.

Adjustments to the Alternative Tests (Drought and other Natural Disasters)

  • Entities qualified for the ATO’s Bushfires 2019–20 lodgement and payment deferrals.
  • The months affected by the bushfires can be excluded from the calculation of turnover on the assumption the entities had a decline in turnover from the bushfires, and inclusion of those months would unfairly reduce the turnover with which the projected or current GST turnover for the turnover test period is compared; unless there are no other appropriate months, or
  • Entities that received Drought Help concessions provided by the ATO.
  • The months affected by the drought can be excluded from the calculation of turnover on the assumption they had a decline in turnover from the drought already, and inclusion of those months would unfairly reduce the turnover with which the projected or current GST turnover for the turnover test period is compared, unless there are no other appropriate months

Sole Trader or Small Partnership with Sickness, Injury or Leave

  • The sole trader or one of the partners did not work for all or part of the relevant comparison period because they were sick, injured or on leave during the relevant comparison period and those circumstances affects the current GST turnover of the sole trader or partnership.
  • The sole trader or partner would normally work in the business generating turnover so them being away results in the relevant comparison period in 2019 not being appropriate.
  • This test does not apply to those with employees.
  • If the relevant comparison period is a quarter, the entity multiplies the current GST turnover for the month immediately before the month in which the sole trader or partner did not work due to sickness, injury or leave by three and uses that figure instead of the comparison turnover.
  • New Rules - The revised test now uses the current GST turnover for the month immediately before the month in which the sole trader or partner did not work, rather than the turnover for the month immediately after the month in which they returned to work

Example 1 – New to Business and bushfire affected

  • The Berry Fresh Enterprise Company (BFEC) was affected by the January 2020 bushfires. The ATO’s Bushfires 2019–20 lodgement and payment deferrals applied to BFEC because it was in one of the identified affected postcodes. The deferrals were available from 1 January 2020 to 1 March 2020.
  • The relevant comparison period is not appropriate because BFEC began operating on 1 October 2019. BFEC assesses its eligibility for JobKeeper payments based on a current GST turnover for the quarter ending 30 September 2020 of $7 million.
  • The following monthly current GST turnovers have been recorded by BFEC: Month Current GST Turnover recorded by BFEC
Month
Current GST Turnover recorded by BFEC
October 2019
$4 million
November 2019
$5 million
December 2019
$3 million
January 2020
$1 million
February 2020
$2 million
  • BFEC applies the first alternative test. The average monthly current GST turnover figure for these months is $4 million (this figure excludes the months of 1 January 2020 to 2 March 2020 because the ATO’s Bushfires 2019–20 lodgement and payment deferrals applied to BFEC during this time and BFEC has chosen to exclude these months from the calculation).
  • BFEC multiplies the $4 million by three to get $12 million and compares this with the current GST turnover for the quarter ending 30 September 2020 of $7 million.
  • BFEC finds that its current GST turnover for the quarter ending 30 September 2020 falls short of the figure worked out using the first alternative test by $5 million, which is greater than 30%. The alternative decline in turnover test is satisfied.

Example 2 – New to Business

  • On 3 October 2019, the Enterprise Company (TEC) was incorporated and commenced business and hence, the relevant comparison period is not available. The Enterprise Company (TEC) assesses its eligibility for JobKeeper payments based on a current GST turnover for the quarter ending 30 September 2020 of $8.5 million.
  • The following monthly current GST turnovers have been recorded by TEC:
Month
Current GST Turnover recorded by TEC
November 2019
$4 million
December 2019
$6 million
January 2020
$2 million
February 2020
$2 million
  • TEC applies the first alternative test.
  • The average monthly current GST turnover figure for these months is $3.5 million.
  • TEC multiplies the $3.5 million by three to get $10.5 million and compares this with the current GST turnover for the quarter ending 30 September 2020 of $8.5 million.
  • TEC finds that its current GST turnover for the quarter ending 30 September 2020 falls short of the figure worked out using the first alternative test by $2 million, which is less than 30%.
  • The first alternative decline in turnover test is not satisfied.
  • TEC also uses the second alternative test.
  • The 3 months’ current GST turnover figure for these months is $10 million.
  • TEC compares this with the current GST turnover for the quarter ending 30 September 2020 of $8.5 million.
  • TEC finds that its current GST turnover for the quarter ending 30 September 2020 falls short of the figure worked out using the second alternative test by $1.5 million, which is less than 30%.
  • The second alternative decline in turnover test is not satisfied.

Example 3 – New to Business

  • On 6 November 2019, the Creative Enterprise Company (CEC) was incorporated and commenced business. As such, the relevant comparison period is not available.
  • The Creative Enterprise Company (CEC) assesses its eligibility for JobKeeper payments based on a current GST turnover for the quarter ending 30 September 2020 of $5 million.
  • The following monthly current GST turnovers have been recorded by CEC during the 3-month period immediately before 1 March 2020:
Month
Current GST Turnover recorded by CEC
December 2019
$3 million
January 2020
$3 million
February 2020
$3 million
  • CEC applies the second alternative test.
  • The 3 months’ current GST turnover is $9 million.
  • CEC compares this with the current GST turnover for the quarter ending 30 September 2020 of $5 million and finds that its current GST turnover for the quarter ending 30 September 2020 falls short of the figure worked out using the second alternative test by more than 30%.
  • The second alternative decline in turnover test is satisfied.

Example 4 – New to Business and bushfire affected months are the only months before 1 March 2020 since commencement

  • On 1 December 2019 the Citrus Orange Enterprise Company (COEC) was incorporated and commenced business and hence the relevant comparison period is not available.
  • It was affected by the December 2019 – January 2020 bushfires. The COEC qualified for the ATO’s Bushfires 2019– 20 lodgement and payment deferrals for the period 1 December 2019 to 1 March 2020 because it is in one of the identified affected postcodes.
  • The COEC assesses its eligibility for JobKeeper payments based on a current GST turnover for the quarter ending 30 September 2020 of $2 million.
  • The following monthly current GST turnovers have been recorded by COEC:
Month
Current GST Turnover recorded by COEC
January 2020
$1 million
February 2020
$2 million
  • COEC applies the first test. For the purposes of calculating the average monthly current GST turnover, the months which the ATO’s Bushfires 2019-2020 lodgement and payment deferrals were available to COEC have to be included because they are the only months since COEC commenced business.
  • The average monthly current GST turnover figure for these months is $1.5 million.
  • COEC multiplies the $1.5 million by three to get $4.5 million and compares this to the current GST turnover for the quarter ending 30 September 2020 of $2 million.
  • COEC finds that its current GST turnover for the quarter ending 30 September 2020 falls short of the figure worked out using the first alternative test by $2.5 million, which is greater than 30%.
  • The alternative decline in turnover test is satisfied.

Example 5 – Disposal or acquisition

  • In December 2019, First Co acquired another business.
  • First Co uses its current GST turnover of $200,000 for the turnover test period of the quarter ending 30 September 2020.
  • The current GST turnover in January 2020, being the first whole month after the acquisition, was $100,000.
  • First Co applies the alternative test this instrument, as it acquired part of its business after the start of relevant comparison period and the acquisition changed their turnover.
  • First Co multiplies the current GST turnover in January of $100,000 by three to get $300,000 and compares that with the current GST turnover for the quarter ending 30 September 2020 of $200,000.
  • First Co finds that its current GST turnover for the quarter ending 30 September 2020 falls short of the figure worked out using the alternative test by $100,000, which is greater than 30%.
  • The alternative decline in turnover test is satisfied.

Example 6 – Restructure

  • In November 2019, Business Enterprises restructured its business operations by merging the operations of two of its businesses.
  • On 15 March 2020, it completed a further restructure by separating out the managerial and human resources operations of those newly merged businesses into a separate division.
  • Business Enterprises uses its current GST turnover of $300,000 for the turnover test period of the quarter ending on 30 September 2020. The current GST turnover for the month of December 2019 was $150,000 and the current GST turnover for the month of April 2020 was $100,000.
  • Business Enterprises applies the alternative test as there was a restructure of their business after the start of the relevant comparison period quarter ending on 30 September 2019 and the restructuring changed its turnover.
  • Business Enterprises’ multiplies the current GST turnover for December 2019 of $150,000 by three to get $450,000 and compares that with the current GST turnover of the quarter ending 30 September 2020 of $300,000.
  • Business Enterprises finds that its current GST turnover for the quarter ending 30 September 2020 falls short of the figure worked out using the alternative test by $150,000, which is greater than 30%.
  • The alternative decline in turnover test is satisfied.
  • Business Enterprises could also use its current GST turnover from April 2020 of $100,000 when applying the alternative decline in turnover test. Multiplied by three, to get $300,000 and compared to the current GST turnover of the quarter ending 30 September 2020 of $300,000 the alternative decline in turnover test would not have been satisfied.

Example 7 – Substantial increase in turnover

  • Before 1 March 2020, Blue Co had an increase in current GST turnover and wants to ascertain whether it can apply, and satisfy, the alternative test.
  • Blue Co uses its current GST turnover of $150,000 for the turnover test period of the quarter ending 30 September 2020.
  • Blue Co’s current GST turnover for the month of February 2019 was $50,000 and its’ current GST turnover for the month of February 2020 was $80,000.
  • Blue Co applies the alternative test under section 10 of this instrument as its current GST turnover for the month of February 2020 increased by $30,000 from the current GST turnover for the month of February 2019 of $50,000 and $30,000 is more than 50% of $50,000. 81.
  • The following monthly current GST turnovers were recorded by Blue Co:
Month
Current GST Turnover recorded by Blue Co
December 2019
$70,000
January 2020
$75,000
February 2020
$80,000
  • Blue Co’s 3 months’ current GST turnover is $225,000 and compares this with the current GST turnover for the quarter ending 30 September 2020 of $150,000.
  • Blue Co finds that its current GST turnover for the quarter ending 30 September 2020 falls short of the 3 months’ current GST turnover by $75,000, which is greater than 30%.
  • The alternative decline in turnover test is satisfied

Example 8 – Irregular turnover

  • Red Co has an irregular current GST turnover which is not cyclical and wants to ascertain whether it can apply, and satisfy, the alternative test under section 11 of this instrument.  
  • Red Co uses its current GST turnover of $100,000 for the turnover test period of the quarter ending 30 September 2020.
  • Red Co had the following current GST turnovers for the 4 consecutive 3-month periods in the 12 months before 1 March 2020:
3-month periods pre-1 March 2020
Current GST Turnover recorded by Red Co
March, April and May 2019
$150,000
June, July and August 2019
$100,000
September, October and November 2019
$75,000
December 2019, January and February 2020
$200,000
  • Red Co applies the alternative test under section 12 of this instrument as Red Co’s lowest current GST turnover 3-month period of $75,000 is less than 50% of the highest current GST turnover 3-month period of $200,000.
  • The average monthly current GST turnover is the total current GST turnover from the 12 months before 1 March 2020 ($525,000) divided by 12. This gives Red Co an average monthly current GST turnover of $43,750.
  • Red Co multiplies this number by three to get $131,250 and compares it to the current GST turnover for the quarter ending 30 September 2020 of $100,000.
  • Red Co finds that its current GST turnover for the quarter ending 30 September 2020 falls short of the figure worked out using the alternative test by $31,250, which is less than 30%.
  • The alternative decline in turnover test is not satisfied

Example 9 – Sole trader or small partnership with sickness, injury or leave

  • In September 2019, Alex, who is a sole trader and has no employees, had a sickness and could not work for most of the month which greatly affected Alex’s current GST turnover for that period.
  • Alex uses the current GST turnover of $150,000 for the turnover test period of the quarter ending on 30 September 2020.
  • In September 2019, Alex was very sick and could not work for most of the month, which greatly affected Alex’s current GST turnover for that period.
  • Alex applies the alternative test under section 13 of this instrument, as Alex is a sole trader with no employees, who was sick for part of the relevant comparison period, and the sickness changed his current GST turnover.
  • Alex’s current GST turnover in August 2019, being the month immediately before the month in which Alex was sick, was $75,000. Alex multiplies this figure by three to get $225,000 and compares that with the current GST turnover for the quarter ending 30 September 2020 of $150,000.
  • Alex finds that his current GST turnover for the quarter ending 30 September 2020 falls short of the figure worked out using the alternative test by $75,000, which is greater than 30%.
  • The alternative decline in turnover test is satisfied.

Extension Periods

JobKeeper 1.0 is scheduled to finish 28 September 2020. The extension provides two opportunities to extend the JobKeeper program.

  • 28 September 2020 – 3 January 2021
  • 4 January 2021 – 28 March 2021

To be eligible for JobKeeper payments under the extension, businesses and not-for-profits will still need to demonstrate a decline in turnover according to the following:

  • 50 per cent for those with an aggregated turnover of more than $1 billion;
  • 30 per cent for those with an aggregated turnover of $1 billion or less; or
  • 15 per cent for Australian Charities and Not for profits Commission-registered charities (excluding schools and universities).

Annual Leave Directives

The temporary JobKeeper enabling request powers that allow an employer to direct an employee to take paid annual leave (provided it does not reduce their annual leave balance to below two (2) weeks) will cease 28 September 2020.

An employer cannot direct an employee to take annual leave under this scheme past 28 September 2020.

If the employer has directed an employee to take annual leave in October 2020 and this is directed prior to 28 September do they have to take the annual leave?

No, under these provisions the requirement for any annual leave to be taken under a directive ceases on 28 September. Even if the directive was provided prior to 28 September, it cannot relate to annual leave after 28 September 2020

JobKeeper 2.0 is split into Qualifying Employers and Legacy Employers

What are ‘qualifying employers’ and ‘legacy employers’?

Qualifying employers are employers who are eligible for the JobKeeper scheme after 28 September 2020.

Legacy employers are employers who did receive one or more Jobkeeper payments in the period prior to 28 September 2020, but no longer qualify for the JobKeeper scheme after 28 September 2020.

Whether an employer is a qualifying employer, or a legacy employer has implications to the Temporary Employer Powers under the JobKeeper enabling requests and directions provided for under the Fair Work Act.

Impact on Employer Temporary Powers:

Quick refresh:

Part 6-4C was inserted into the Fair Work Act to give eligible employers powers to issue:

  • JobKeeper ‘enabling directions’; and
  • JobKeeper requests for employees to:
  • Work reduced days or alternative hours of work;
  • Take accrued annual leave and agreements to take annual leave at half pay

What is a “JobKeeper enabling direction”?

A “JobKeeper enabling direction” temporarily authorises an employer to:

  • give a stand down direction to an employee to work fewer days or hours where the employee cannot be usefully employed for their ordinary days or hours because of a business change attributable to the COVID-19 pandemic or Government initiatives to slow down COVID-19 transmission; and
  • give directions to employees to change their work duties (where the duties are within their skill and competency) or to perform duties at a place different from their normal place of work (including the employee’s home).

The effect of the “JobKeeper enabling direction” allow for a temporary variation to the employee’s terms of employment on a unilateral basis. This is a significant change where, in many circumstances, an employer has had no capacity to vary an employee’s employment agreement without their genuine consent.

Qualifying Employers

How has qualifying employer’s powers been impacted by the changes?

Qualifying employers will retain access to the full range of flexibility measures under Part 6-4C in the extended period, except for the annual leave provisions. The annual leave provisions will not apply following 28 September 2020.

What are the changes for stand down directions for a qualifying employer?

There are no changes with respect to stand down directions for qualifying employers. Qualifying employers can give a stand down direction to an employee who is entitled to a JobKeeper payment to the effect of reducing that employee’s ordinary hours, including to zero.

When can a stand down direction be implemented for a qualifying employer?

For qualifying employers, there are no changes to requirements, therefore the employer must:

  • give an employee at least 3 days written notice of its intention to give a ‘JobKeeper enabling stand down direction’ or a lesser notice period if genuinely agreed between the employer and the employee; and
  • consult with the employee or their representative about the a ‘JobKeeper enabling stand down direction’; and
  • keep a written record of the consultation.

Legacy Employers

What are the implications for a legacy employer?

To have access to the modified enabling direction powers under the Fair Work Act (detailed below), a legacy employer must meet the 10% decline in turnover test.

What is the 10% decline in turnover test?

  • After commencement (28 September 2020) and prior to 27 October 2020, a legacy employer must have a 10% decline in turnover certificate for the June 2020 quarter compared to the June 2019 quarter; 
  • Between 28 October 2020 and 27 February 2021, a legacy employer must have a 10% decline in turnover certificate for the September 2020- quarter compared to the September 2019 quarter; and 
  • Between 28 February 2021 and 28 March 2021, a legacy employer must have a 10% decline in turnover certificate for the December 2020 quarter compared to the December 20219 quarter. 
  • The test is based on actual GST turnover, as opposed to projected GST turnover.

What are the requirements for a 10% decline in Turnover Certificate and when is required?

  • If the business is a small business employer, they can choose to make a statutory declaration: 
  • A ‘small business employer’ is defined in the Fair Work Act, and broadly means an employer with fewer than 15 employees.
  • A statutory declaration can be made to the effect that the employer satisfied the 10% decline in turnover test for the designated quarter applicable to a specified time.
  • It must be made by an individual who either is, or is authorised by, the employer, and who has knowledge of the financial affairs of the employer.
  • The employer can elect to obtain a 10% decline in turnover certificate as per below if they’d prefer.
  • If the business is not a small business employer, a 10% decline in turnover certificate must be obtained in order to access the modified enabling direction powers.
  • Who can provide a 10% decline in turnover certificate? 
  • A registered tax agent, BAS agent or tax advisor 
  • A qualified accountant
  • The certificate must relate to a specified employer and confirms that the employer satisfied the 10% decline in turnover test for the designated quarter applicable to a specified time.
  • If the eligible financial services provider is also a director employee or associated entity of the employer or an associated entity of the employer, they cannot issue a 10% decline in turnover certificate in relation to the employer.  

Key information for Certificates:

Directions Period
Test Period
Deadline to have certificate in place
If no certificate, directions cease
Employee Notification Deadline (must be provided if directions period ceases or if it continues)
28/9/20-27/10/20
June 2020 quarter compared to June 2019 quarter
28 October 2020
28 October 2020
28 October 2020
28/10/20 – 27/2/21
September 2020 quarter compared to September 2019 quarter
28 October 2020
28 October 2020
28 October 2020
28/2/21 – 28/3/21
December 2020 quarter compared to December 2019 quarter
28 February 2021
28 February 2021
28 February 2021

Do legacy employers have access to the flexibilities under Part 6-4C?

Legacy employers will continue to have access to modified measures.  Similarly, like qualifying employers, the annual leave provisions will not be applicable after 28 September 2020.

What are the changes for stand down directions?

Legacy employers which meet the 10% turnover test and have the necessary certificate can issue a stand down direction to an employee who is entitled to a JobKeeper payment to the effect of reducing that employee’s ordinary hours to a minimum of 60% as they were at 1 March 2020. In addition, such direction may not result in the employee working less than 2 consecutive hours in a day.

What constitutes as ordinary hours?

  • An employee’s ordinary hours are not the hours the employee did or did not work on 1 March 2020 specifically. Rather, ‘ordinary hours’ is the quantity of hours the employee is contracted to work, as set out in the employee’s industrial instrument or contract of employment. To be clear, ordinary hours does not include the specific days an employee might normally perform those hours, it is just the number of hours. 
  • Ordinary hours are defined in the Fair Work Act for award and agreement free employees. For award or agreement covered employees, ordinary hours will be assessed according to the terms of the applicable instrument. For example, an employee’s ordinary hours as assessed at 1 March 2020 might be 38 hours per week. 
  • This means employees of legacy employers will have a minimum guaranteed threshold of their pre-Coronavirus ordinary hours. 
  • Casual employees do not have ‘ordinary hours’ because, by virtue of the nature of casual employment, they are free to accept or refuse work, and their employers are free to offer work or not. 
  • We note that the employee cannot be directed to work less than 2 consecutive hours in a day on which the employee works. 

When can a stand down direction be implemented?

With respect to legacy employers, the employer must provide at least 7 days written notice (as opposed to 3 days for qualifying employers) and must consult with the employee or their representative during that period about the ‘JobKeeper stand down direction.’ Note, legacy employers have expanded consultation requirements compared to qualifying employers such as:

  • provide information to employee or their representative about the proposed direction;
  • invite the employee or their representative to give their views about the impact of the proposed direction on the employee
  • during the notice period the employer must give prompt and genuine consideration to any views given by the employee or their representative.

What are the impacts on hourly wages?

Both qualifying and legacy employers must ensure that the employee’s base hourly rate of pay is not less than the base hourly rate of pay had the stand down direction not been given.

Can employees subject to standing directions obtain secondary employment?

The law has not changed with respect to this aspect. Employees subject to a stand down direction can request to engage in reasonable secondary employment, training or professional development.

Are there notification requirements for ceasing or continuing enabling directions for the second quarter?

Yes. Employers must notify employees as to whether JobKeeper enabling directions or agreements will cease or continue based on whether the employer has obtained a new certificate indicating that it has satisfied the 10% decline in turnover requirements for the relevant quarter. 

Does an employer have to renew pre-existing enabling directions if they remain eligible?

No, they will automatically carry over if the employer remains eligible to give that direction or make that agreement in those terms. 

Can an employer cease the enabling directions prior to the end of the extended period?

Yes, an employer and employee may terminate an agreement at any time with each party’s consent. 

Example – Legacy Employers

  • 1 March – 30 June 2020
  • Matthew works as a receptionist in Samantha’s gym. He is engaged under the Fitness Industry Award 2010 at Level 3.  
  • On 1 March 2020, Matthew was employed as a full-time employee. This means that at the requisite time, his ordinary hours under the Fitness Industry Award 2010 were 38 hours per week. In late March 2020, Samantha’s gym closed due to government restrictions aimed at slowing the spread of Coronavirus, and Samantha consequently qualified for the JobKeeper scheme in relation to Matthew.
  • 30 June – 27 September 2020
  • When restrictions were eased in June 2020, Samantha reopened the gym, but for reduced hours. She gave Matthew a JobKeeper enabling stand down direction under section 789GDC of the Fair Work Act reducing his hours from 38 to 15 per week until 27 September 2020.
  • 28 September 2020 – 28 October 2020
  • By 28 September 2020, Samantha’s business has started to recover financially and will not qualify for the extended JobKeeper payment from this date. The actual GST turnover of Samantha’s gym in the June 2020 quarter was at least 10% below the business’ actual GST turnover in the June 2019 quarter, and Samantha has obtained a certificate from an eligible financial service provider to this effect. Samantha wants Matthew to continue to work reduced hours because the gym still hasn’t returned to its normal opening times.  
  • The existing direction that applies to Matthew cannot continue automatically because Samantha is a legacy employer.  
  • The terms of the existing direction also reduced Matthew’s hours to below 60% of his ordinary hours on 1 March 2020, which is not permitted by legacy employers after 28 September 2020.  
  • Samantha gives Matthew a new JobKeeper enabling stand down direction under section 789GJA, which applies from 28 September 2020 and requires Matthew to work a minimum of 22.8 hours per week (60% of his ordinary hours on 1 March 2020), with at least 2 consecutive hours on each day Matthew works – he works 5 hours on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, 7.84 hours on Thursday, and no hours on Friday.  
  • Samantha gives Matthew seven days written notice of her intention to give this direction, consults Matthew about the direction during the seven days prior to making the direction and keeps a written record of this consultation. The new direction can apply from 28 September 2020 until 27 October 2020.
  • 28 October 2020 – 27 February 2021
  • Once the September quarter is complete, Samantha must obtain a new 10% decline in turnover certificate for the September 2020 quarter.  
  • She will need to notify Matthew before 28 October 2020 that the JobKeeper enabling stand down direction will not cease to apply to him on that date. If she does so, the direction can apply until 27 February 2021.
  • 28 February 2021 – 29 March 2021
  • Continue to meet the 10% decline in turnover test
  • Once the December 2020 quarter is complete, Samantha must again obtain a new 10% decline in turnover certificate for the December 2020 quarter.  
  • She must again notify Matthew before 28 February 2021 that the JobKeeper enabling direction will not cease to apply to him on that date. If she does so, the direction can then continue to apply until the start of 29 March 2021.
  • Fails to meet the 10% decline in turnover test
  • If in the September or December 2020 quarters the business recovers, and no longer satisfies the 10% decline in turnover test (and can therefore not get the certificate), Samantha will not be eligible to give her employees a JobKeeper enabling direction for the subsequent period (see new section 789GJE below).  
  • She would need to notify Matthew before 28 October 2020 (if the gym no longer satisfies the 10% decline in turnover test for the September 2020 quarter) or before 28 February (if the gym no longer satisfies the test for the December 2020 quarter) that the JobKeeper enabling direction will cease to apply to him on that date (whichever applies).  
  • Matthew’s base rate of pay under the Fitness Industry Award 2010 is $21.54 per hour, which cannot be reduced for his hours of work, regardless of the actual number of hours he works.

Please get in touch if you would like assistance in understanding your rights and obligations and wish to speak with our accounting or legal experts.

Here are the changes to JobKeeper as announced on 6 August 2020:

JobKeeper Employee Eligibility Criteria

  • Relevant employment date:
  • From 3 August, the relevant employment date will move from 1 March to 1 July 2020 for:
  • a full-time, part-time or fixed-term employee at 1 July 2020
  • a long-term casual employee (employed on a regular and systematic basis for at least 12 months) as at 1 July 2020 and not a permanent employee of any other employer
  • Age for eligible employees:
  • From 3 August, employees who were aged 18 years or older at 1 July 2020 (if you were 16 or 17, you can also qualify if you are independent or not undertaking full time study) will now be included, provided they meet the other eligibility criteria.

New JobKeeper Payment Rates

  • $1,500 per fortnight for eligible employees and business participants will continue until 28 September 2020
  • From 28 September this will reduce to $1,200 per fortnight, with a rate of $750 for those working fewer than 20 hours per week in the relevant reference period.
  • From 4 January 2021 this will reduce to $1,000 per fortnight, with a rate of $650 for those working fewer than 20 hours per week in the relevant reference period.
  • Reduced Rate:
  • If an employee was employed as of 1 March 2020, work out the average number of hours the employee worked for the four-week period (2/2/20 to 29/2/20) and for the four-week period (3/6/20 to 30/6/20). The period with the higher number of hours worked is to be used for employees with 1 March 2020 eligibility.
  • If an employee was not employed as of 1 March 2020 but was employed as of 1 July 2020 work out the average number of hours the employee worked for the 4 week period 3/6/20-30/6/20.

Business Turnover Tests

  • From 28 September 2020, businesses and not-for-profits will be required to reassess their eligibility with reference to their actual GST turnover in the September quarter 2020 to be eligible for the JobKeeper Payment from 28 September 2020 to 3 January 2021.
  • From 4 January 2021, businesses and not-for-profits will need to demonstrate that they have met the relevant decline in turnover test with reference to their actual GST turnover in the December quarter 2020 to be eligible for the JobKeeper Payment from 4 January 2021 to 28 March 2021.
  • Discretion to set out alternative tests that would establish eligibility in specific circumstances where it is not appropriate to compare actual turnover in a quarter in 2020 with actual turnover in a quarter in 2019, in line with the Commissioner’s existing discretion.
  • The original discretion is noted below:
  • The entity commenced business after the relevant comparison period (the business did not exist in that period) but not on or after 1 March 2020.
  • The entity acquired or disposed of part of the business after the relevant comparison period (the business is not the same business in that period as it is now).
  • The entity undertook a restructure after the relevant comparison period (the business is not the same business in that period as it is now).
  • The entity’s turnover substantially increased by: 
  • 50% or more in the 12 months immediately before the applicable turnover test period, or
  • 25% or more in the 6 months immediately before the applicable turnover test period, or
  • 12.5% or more in the 3 months immediately before the applicable turnover test period.
  • The entity was affected by drought or other declared natural disaster during the relevant comparison period.
  • The entity has a large irregular variance in their turnover for the quarters ending in the 12 months before the applicable turnover test period, excluding entities that have cyclical or regular seasonal variance in their turnover, or
  • The entity is a sole trader or small partnership where sickness, injury or leave have impacted an individual’s ability to work which has affected turnover.
  • Required turnover drops:
  • 50% for those with an aggregated turnover of more than $1 billion
  • 30% for those with an aggregated turnover of $1 billion or less
  • 15% for Australian Charities and Not for profits Commission-registered charities (excluding schools and universities).

JobKeeper 2.0 - What can we expect?

As COVID-19 continues to have an impact, the Federal Government has announced both an extension and some updates to the scheme.

JobKeeper will continue to be available to eligible businesses (including eligible business participants) and not-for-profits until 28 March 2021.

  • If you weren't previously eligible for JobKeeper but have just been forced to close your business as a result of stage four restrictions effective 5 August, you can apply now.
  • JobKeeper will continue to be available to eligible businesses (including eligible business participants) and not-for-profits until 28 March 2021.
  • From 28 September 2020, it was announced that eligibility for the JobKeeper Payment will be based on actual turnover in the relevant periods.
  • We note legislation for JobKeeper 2.0 is not expected until late August.

JobKeeper Rates

Date
Full rate per fortnight
Less than 20 hours worked per fortnight rate
28 September 2020 to3 January 2021
$1,200
$750
4 January 2021 to28 March 2021
$1,000
$650

Employees who were employed for less than 20 hours a week on average in the four weekly pay periods ending before 1 March 2020 will receive the lower payment rate.

Business Eligibility Turnover Test

Eligible businesses will have to suffer the requisite decline (no change to percentages) based on actual GST turnover (rather than projected GST turnover) to remain eligible:

  • 50 per cent for those with an aggregated turnover of more than $1 billion;
  • 30 per cent for those with an aggregated turnover of $1 billion or less; or
  • 15 per cent for Australian Charities and Not for profits Commission-registered charities (excluding schools and universities)
JobKeeper Period
Eligibility Criteria
28 September 2020 to3 January 2021
Relevant % drop in actual GST turnover in both the June and September 2020 quarters compared to the June and September 2019 quarters.
4 January 2021 to28 March 2021
Relevant % drop in actual GST turnover in all of the June, September and December 2020 quarters compared to all of the June, September and December 2019 quarters.

Timing of Payments

The Commissioner will have discretion to extend the time an entity has to pay employees in order to meet the wage condition, so that entities have time to first confirm their eligibility for the JobKeeper payments.

Employee Eligibility

Existing eligibility rules for employees remain unchanged. 

FAQ

FAQ – JobKeeper Rates

  1. When do I test for a part timer?
  2. It is based on average hours worked per week in the four weeks of pay periods before 1 March 2020. Effectively, for the month of February 2020, did the employee or eligible business participant work an average of 20 hours or more per week?
  3. What if the hours my employee or eligible business participant worked in February 2020 were not usual?
  4. The Commissioner of Taxation will have discretion to set out alternative tests where an employee’s or business participant’s hours were not usual during the February 2020 reference period. For example, this will include where the employee was on leave, volunteering during the bushfires, or not employed for all or part of February 2020.
  5. My employee was on maternity leave in February; how do I work out if they qualify for the higher or lower JobKeeper rate?
  6. We note that employees currently in receipt of the government Paid Parental Leave Pay cannot receive JobKeeper payments at the same time.
  7. The Commissioner will be providing further guidance where February does not provide an appropriate reference period.
  8. My employee was on annual leave or personal leave during February so didn’t work an average of 20 hours per week but would normally do so, are they still eligible for the higher rate?
  9. The Commissioner has advised there will be discretion to set out alternative tests where the employee’s hours were not usual during the February 2020 reference period.
  10. If my employee worked less than 20 hours on average per week in the four weeks in February 2020, does this mean they don’t qualify for JobKeeper anymore?
  11. No, it just means they will receive the reduced rate, being $750 or $650 per fortnight depending on the period.

FAQ – Employees and JobKeeper

  1. One of  my eligible employees has resigned in June. I need to replace that person. Can the replacement employee be eligible for JobKeeper?
  2. No, they will not be eligible as they were not employed in the business as of 1 March 2020.
  3. One of my casual employees commenced with us on 19 May 2019. Will they be eligible at all for JobKeeper?
  4. Unfortunately not as they need to have been employed for a full 12 months prior to 1 March 2020.
  5. One of my eligible employees ceased employment with our business in June. Can I still receive the JobKeeper payments for them?
  6. No, once the employment ceases you are required to notify the ATO via your Single Touch Payroll System and your monthly JobKeeper reporting that they have ceased and you will no longer receive payments for them.
  7. Our business had suffered a decline in turnover but not enough to initially be eligible for JobKeeper. As such, we had not been using our casual employees who have been with the business for more than 12 months prior to 1 March 2020. In July, we have met the drop in turnover test. Can we now bring back our casual employees and are they eligible for JobKeeper?
  8. Provided a casual had been employed for at least 12 months as of 1 March 2020, on a regular and systematic basis, they will be eligible for JobKeeper now that you are enrolling.

FAQ – Eligible JobKeeper Business Participants

  1. Are eligible business participants eligible for JobKeeper 2.0?
  2. Yes, eligible business participants will continue to be eligible for JobKeeper 2.0, provided they met the initial eligibility criteria and the business meets the turnover test.
  3. The scheme advises that an eligible business participant needs to be ‘actively engaged’ in the business. What does this mean?
  4. We are waiting on the legislation to provide further guidance regarding this.

FAQ – Turnover Rules for JobKeeper

  1. To be eligible for the period 28 September 2020 to 3 Jan 2021, do I need to demonstrate an actual drop in GST turnover for both the June 2020 Quarter and the September 2020 quarter?
  2. Yes, it is a requirement that you meet the actual drop in turnover test for both previous quarters.
  3. To be eligible for the period 4 Jan 2021 to 28 March 2021, do I need to demonstrate an actual drop in GST turnover for all of the June 2020 quarter, the September 2020 quarter and the December 2020 quarter?
  4. Yes, it is a requirement that you meet the actual drop in turnover test for all three previous quarters.
  5. Our business lodges their activity statements monthly; how does the turnover test work for us?
  6. To test the June quarter, you will need to add each of the months of April, May and June together and it will be the total that is the relevant figure.
  7. Are the alternative tests still available, such as those for high-growth businesses, or recently commenced businesses in JobKeeper 2.0?
  8. At this stage, nothing has been released to confirm this. We are waiting on the legislation to hopefully provide further guidance in relation to alternative tests.

FAQ – Timing of JobKeeper Eligibility

  1. I haven’t been eligible previously; can I still access the JobKeeper program?
  2. The JobKeeper payment will continue to remain open to new recipients, provided they meet the existing eligibility requirements and the additional turnover tests during the extension period.
  3. I didn’t qualify for JobKeeper 1.0. Can I still qualify for JobKeeper 2.0?
  4. In order to be eligible for JobKeeper 2.0, you would need to meet the 'drop in turnover' test for the June 2020 quarter. If you met the drop in turnover test for the June quarter, you should already be enrolled.
  5. If you don’t pass the drop in turnover test for the June 2020 quarter, you will be unable to qualify for JobKeeper 2.0 when it begins at the end of September.

Guide to the JobKeeper Payment Scheme - 09 April 2020 

Guide to the JobKeeper Payment Scheme - 10 April 2020 - Hint: this guide contains vital updated information around payment of the JobKeeper subsidy and information on non-employee eligibility criteria like sole traders and directors! 

If you'd like assistance with applying and managing your JobKeeper obligations please contact a BlueRock adviser today. 

JobKeeper Payment Scheme Enrolment & Application Process (Phase 1 - we will update this for 2.0 as more information comes to light)

The first stage of the JobKeeper Payment Scheme has already closed. There were two stages to this process: enrolment and reporting. Enrolment (stage 1) opened on 20 April 2020.

It was announced that the deadline for JobKeeper enrolments has been extended from 30 April 2020 until 31 May 2020; however, payments for the first two JobKeeper fortnights are required to be made by 8 May 2020.

If you've been struggling to get on top of everything, this means you'll have some more time and still be able to claim payments for the fortnights in April and May, provided you meet all the eligibility requirements for each of those fortnights. This includes having paid your employees by the appropriate date for each fortnight.

For the first two fortnights (30 March - 12 April, 13 April - 26 April), the ATO will accept the minimum $1,500 payment for each fortnight as being paid by the employer, even if it has been paid late, provided it is paid by 8 May 2020. If the employer does not make this payment to staff by this date, they will not be able to claim JobKeeper for the first two fortnights.

Companies with eligible employees – open

Sole trader and other entities – open

For eligible participants in the scheme, during the enrolment you will need to provide your bank account details. If you have eligible employees you will need to advise the number of eligible employees.

The second stage is the Monthly Reporting Stage which opens on 4 May 2020.

Companies with eligible employees will be required to identify eligible employees either by:

  • selecting employee details that are prefilled from their STP pay reports (if they report payroll information through an STP enabled payroll solution) or
  • manually entering employee details in ATO Online services for agents or the Business Portal (if they do not use an STP-enabled payroll solution).

The ATO has advised that it will remit funds to employers for all eligible employees after receiving the application.

Eligible Business Participant

Your non-employee individual is an eligible business participant of your entity for the fortnight if they meet all of the following:

They are an individual not employed by your entity.

They are actively engaged in the business carried on by your entity (at 1 March 2020 and for the fortnight you are claiming).

They are one of the following (at 1 March 2020 and for the fortnight you are claiming)

  • a sole trader
  • a partner in the partnership
  • an adult beneficiary of the trust
  • a shareholder or director in the company.

Eligible business entities

Your entity is eligible if:

on 1 March 2020, it carried on a business in Australia

it satisfies the 'fall in turnover' test for the relevant period

it satisfied certain conditions as at 12 March 2020, being  

  • a 2018–19 income tax return showing that it had an amount included in its assessable income in relation to it carrying on a business, or
  • an activity statement or GST return for any tax period that started after 1 July 2018 and ended before 12 March 2020 showing that it made a taxable, GST-free or input-taxed sale.

Note: A discretion to give further time after 12 March 2020 may apply in limited circumstances such as if you did not have a requirement to lodge your 2018-2019 return until after 12 March 2020, or you have deferred your lodgement under an extension of lodgement date the ATO initiated.

Sole Trader & Other Entity Monthly Reporting

Each month, you must reconfirm your reported eligible employees and eligible business participant. If your eligible employees change or leave your employment, you will need to notify the ATO through this monthly declaration.

You must also provide information as to your current and projected GST turnover. This is not a retest of your eligibility, but rather an indication of how your business is progressing under the JobKeeper Payment Scheme.

Employer Obligations

  • Demonstrate that your business has or will experience the applicable turnover decline.
  • Apply using the ATO application process and register your business.
  • Notify your employees in writing if they are eligible for the JobKeeper payments.
  • Each eligible business participant and eligible employee must complete the ATO approved form.
  • Provide information to the ATO on eligible employees engaged as at 1 March 2020 (including those stood down or rehired).
  • Ensure that each eligible employee is paid at least $1,500 per fortnight (before tax).
  • Notify all eligible employees that they are receiving the JobKeeper Subsidy Payment and have been nominated to the ATO in writing.
  • Continue to provide information to the ATO on a monthly basis, including the number of eligible employees employed by the business.

Intending on giving your eligible employees a JobKeeper Enabling Direction or JobKeeper Enabling Request?

The new Part 6-4C inserted into the Fair Work Act now gives employers temporary powers to issue:

‘Jobkeeper enabling directions’; and

'Jobkeeper enabling requests' for employees to:

  • work reduced days or alternative hours of work;
  • take accrued annual leave and agreements to take annual leave at half pay.

What is a “Jobkeeper enabling direction”?

A “Jobkeeper enabling direction” can only be given by an eligible employer to an eligible employee, where both qualify for the JobKeeper Payment Scheme.

A “Jobkeeper enabling direction” temporarily authorises an employer to:

  • give a stand down direction to an employee to work fewer days or hours (including nil) where the employee cannot be usefully employed for their ordinary days or hours because of a business change attributable to the COVID-19 pandemic or Government initiatives to slow down COVID-19 transmission; and
  • give directions to employees to change their work duties (where the duties are within their skill and competency) or to perform duties at a place different from their normal place of work (including the employee’s home).

What is a “Jobkeeper enabling request”?

A “Jobkeeper enabling request” authorises an employer to:

  • request an employee perform their duties on different days or at different times (provided that it does not reduce their ordinary hours of work); or
  • request an employee take paid annual leave (provided it does not reduce their annual leave balance to below two (2) weeks).

Communicate Legal Employment Changes to Your Staff With These Affordable JobKeeper Templates

The following templates are available to help you communicate JobKeeper updates with your staff:

  1. JobKeeper Enabling Stand Down Direction (to reduce an eligible employee's hours, including to nil)
  2. JobKeeper Enabling Direction – Alternative Duties (to change an eligible employee’s usual work duties)
  3. JobKeeper Enabling Direction – Change of Location (to change an eligible employee’s usual place of work)
  4. JobKeeper Enabling Request – Different Hours/Days (to change an eligible employee’s days or work hours, compared to their usual hours/days. This arrangement does not reduce their ordinary hours).
  5. JobKeeper Enabling Request – Paid Annual Leave
  6. Notification of termination and redundancy

Cost: $200+GST or $750+GST for all 6 templates

Eligible Employees

Eligible employees are employees who:

  • are currently employed by the eligible employer (including those stood down or re-hired);
  • were employed by the employer at 1 March 2020;
  • are full-time, part-time, or long-term casuals (a casual employed on a regular basis for longer than 12 months as at 1 March 2020);
  • are at least 16 years of age;
  • are an Australian citizen, the holder of a permanent visa, a Protected Special Category Visa Holder, a non-protected Special Category Visa Holder who has been residing continually in Australia for 10 years or more, or a Special Category (Subclass 444) Visa Holder; and
  • are not in receipt of a JobKeeper Payment from another employer

If your employees have multiple employers, they can usually choose which employer they want to nominate through. However, if your employees are long-term casuals and have other permanent employment, they must choose the permanent employer and cannot nominate you.

Businesses Without Employees

Businesses without employees will need to provide an ABN for their business, nominate an individual to receive the payment and provide that individual’s Tax File Number and provide a declaration as to recent business activity.
People who are self-employed will need to provide a monthly update to the ATO to declare their continued eligibility for the payments. Payment will be made monthly to the individual’s bank account.

Frequently Asked Questions that relate to the JobKeeper Subsidy Scheme

1. What if the employee has been stood down?

  • If the employee was employed as of 1 March 2020, the employer remains eligible to reinstate the employee and receive the payment.

2. What if the employee has been made redundant?

  • If the employee was employed as of 1 March 2020 the employer remains eligible to reinstate the employee and receive the payment. The government has noted that leave entitlements paid as part of the redundancy are yet to be worked through.

3. Is superannuation payable on the JobKeeper Subsidy Scheme?

  • If the employee is usually paid $1,500 per fortnight before tax, the employer is required to pay superannuation on their full wage including the $1,500 supplement.
  • If an employee earns less than $1,500 per fortnight before tax, the employer is only required to pay superannuation on the amount the employee earned as their normal wage, not on the additional amount received as part of the $1,500 payment that is in excess of the normal pay.

4. If my employee works part time and is usually paid less than $1,500 per fortnight, does the business still receive the full $1,500 per fortnight?

  • Yes, the employer will receive the full $1,500 per fortnight for the employee and the full $1,500 is required to be passed onto the employee.

5. If my employee earns more than $1,500 per fortnight, does the business receive more than the $1,500 per fortnight?

  • No, it is a flat $1,500 per employee, per fortnight, regardless of their income level.

6. What if the employee has already applied for support through Centrelink?

  • Provided the employee was employed as of 1 March 2020 they can transition back to the employer and be eligible for the payment.

7. Are casuals eligible for the payment?

  • If the casual has been employed with the employer for 12 months or more they will be eligible for the payment.

8. Are those on temporary work visas eligible?

  • The government has advised New Zealanders on 444 Visas are eligible for the payment. All other temporary visa holds will not be eligible at this point in time.

9. When does it apply?

  • Payments will be paid from the second week of May with payments backdated to the 30 March 2020.

10. How does my business apply for the payments?

  • The business will need to complete a self-declaration that their revenue has reduced in line with the eligibility criteria via the ATO website. Your BlueRock adviser can assist you with this.

11. Can an employee access both the Centrelink benefits and the JobKeeper Payment Scheme at the same time?

  • No, the employee receiving the JobKeeper Payment is not eligible to also receive the JobSeeker Payment.

12. My employee works part time in my business and as a casual in another business. Do they receive two payments of the $1,500?

  • No, an employee may only receive the JobKeeper Payment from one employer

13. When does an employer need to notify an employee they will be entitled to the JobKeeper Payment? 

  • The employer must notify an individual employee in writing that they are eligible. Once the nomination form has been completed, the employer can register the employee via Single Touch Payroll. Once registered via Single Touch Payroll, it is a requirement that the employer notifies the employee within 7 days that the employee and employer are eligible and they have been registered.

14. When do I need to notify the ATO that we elect for our business to participate in the JobKeeper Payment Scheme?

  • For an entitlement arising in the first (30 March –12 April) or second JobKeeper fortnight (13 April – 26 April) you must notify the ATO by 30 May.

15. Are partnerships eligible for the Jobkeeper Payment? 

  • Yes, if the eligibility criteria set out earlier is met. However, only one partner can be nominated to receive the JobKeeper Payment. All eligible employees of the partnership will also be entitled to the JobKeeper Payment if they meet the criteria, noting a partner cannot be an employee.

16. Are company directors that receive director fees eligible for the Jobkeeper Payment? 

  • Yes, if the eligibility criteria set out earlier is met. However, only one director can be nominated to receive the JobKeeper Payment and that individual may not receive the payment as an employee. All eligible employees of the company will also be entitled to the JobKeeper Payment if they meet the criteria.

Did You Know That JobKeeper Audits May Be Covered By Your Insurance?

Good news! If you're a client of BlueRock Accounting and you use our audit insurance product, Audit Shield, then future JobKeeper audits and reviews are covered by your existing insurance. If you're a BlueRock Accounting client but are yet to sign up to Audit Shield, it may be worth exploring to save a lot of stress in the event of an audit. Feel free to get in touch with Adam Gibbins, our Director of General Insurance, if you have any questions.

2.2
Updated August 4

Income Support For Individuals & Sole Traders

  • Two $750 stimulus payments are available to pensioners, social security, veteran and other income support recipients and eligible concession card holders. The first of these payments was announced on 12 March 2020 and the second will be automatically made on 13 July 2020. The payment will be tax-free and will not count as income for social security, farm household allowance, and veteran payments.
  • From 27 April 2020, the government is also temporarily expanding eligibility to income support payments to include sole traders and is establishing a new time-limited Coronavirus Supplement to be paid at a rate of $550 per fortnight for the next 6 months on top of existing entitlements.  
  • The Coronavirus Supplement will be paid to both existing and new recipients of the JobSeeker Payment Scheme, Youth Allowance, Parenting Payment, Farm Household Allowance and Special Benefit and be in addition to the payments made on under these allowances. 
  • The Jobseeker Payment is currently $550 per fortnight and the addition of the Coronavirus Supplement increases this payment to $1,100 per fortnight.
  • Sole traders and casual workers who are currently making less than $1,075 a fortnight will be eligible to receive the full supplement.

As of 30 March 2020, people who are self-employed are eligible to apply for the JobKeeper Payment Scheme. If you are self-employed you will need to provide a monthly update to the ATO to declare your continued eligibility for the payments. Payment will be made monthly to the nominated bank account.

2.3
Updated July 13

Income Support for Businesses

Business Support Fund

  • The Victorian Government Business Support Fund has been extended to include an additional $5,000 for employing businesses in metropolitan Melbourne and Mitchell Shire in recognition of spending longer under restrictions (in addition to the $5,000 expansion).
  • Employing businesses in regional local government areas (except Mitchell Shire) that will shut down under stage three restrictions can now also apply for the $5,000 grant.
  • If you have previously received or applied for the $5,000 expansion grant, you don't need to re-apply - payment will be processed automatically.
  • For new applicants, applications for the program will be extended until 14 September 2020.

Tourism Accommodation Support Program

  • The return to Stage 3 Stay at Home restrictions means some residents within these hot zones will have to cancel travel bookings to regional Victoria during the period, placing additional strain on accommodation providers.
  • Accommodation providers in regional Victoria impacted by these cancellations will be able to apply for direct financial support of up to $225 per booking per night through the new Tourism Accommodation Support Program.
  • At present, businesses can register their interest and more details will be available soon.
  • There will also be some marketing support for campaigns for travel between the regions when restrictions ease.
2.4
Updated May 1

Staff considerations

Employee Leave Queries

  • The World Health Organisation (WHO) declared coronavirus (COVID-19) a pandemic on 11 March 2020.   With the impact of COVID-19 changing the business landscape daily, it is unsurprising that employers have been left asking “but what does this mean for my business and workforce?”

Please note we do have employment law specialists on hand who are more than happy to assist with specific queries.

Workcover & Working From Home

  • An important point to note is that when your employees are working from home, their home becomes a place of work and is therefore covered by Workcover.
  • Australian Government Checklist to help you identify any risks associated with working from home.

Fair Work Requirements

WorkSafe

Employers are now required to notify WorkSafe immediately when a worker tests positive for Coronavirus and to complete the written notification form within 48 hours.

When to Notify

  • Immediately after becoming aware that:
  • an employee, independent contractor, employee of the independent contractor or self-employed person has received a confirmed diagnosis of coronavirus (COVID-19) and;
  • the employee, independent contractor, employee of the independent contractor or self-employed person has attended the workplace within the relevant infection period.

How to Notify

OR

  • Option B: Call WorkSafe on 13 23 60
  • WorkSafe will then record details of your incident and send you an email with a unique link for you to complete the last stage of notifying us of the full details in writing. It is mandatory that you complete the full details in writing within 48 hours.
2.5
Updated May 1

Apprentice Relief

Apprenticeship Wage Subsidy

  • The Federal Government is extending and expanding the Supporting Apprentices and Trainees wage subsidy to include medium-sized businesses who had an apprentice in place on 1 July 2020, for wages paid from 1 July 2020 to 31 March 2021.
  • Eligible employers can apply for a wage subsidy of 50% of an eligible apprentice or trainee’s wages paid until 31 March 2021.
  • Subsidies will also be available to any new employer who re-engages an eligible apprentice that was displaced by an eligible small or medium-sized business.
  • The government has introduced a wage subsidy to support small businesses to retain their apprentices and trainees.  Businesses may be eligible to receive 50% of their apprentice’s wages, capping at $21,000 per apprentice, for the 9 months from 1 January 2020 to 30 September 2020.
  • Employers will be able to access the subsidy after an eligibility assessment is undertaken by an Australian Apprenticeship Support Network provider. Like other assessments, this is expected to be completed via a SmartForm on the Australian Apprenticeship website.
  • Employers can register for the subsidy from 31 March 2020, and final claims of payment must be lodged by 31 December 2020.
  • Please note that if the employer is in receipt of the JobKeeper Payment for the relevant apprentice, they are not entitled to the apprentice relief.
3
Updated May 1

Insolvency - Temporary relief for financially distressed businesses

The government has announced temporary changes to insolvency laws (Corporations Act 2001). These proposed changes are designed to give businesses time to assess their solvency, implement restructuring plans where needed and take advantage of the safe harbour provisions under the Corporations Act 2001.

The most notable changes are:

  • A temporary increase in the statutory demand threshold to $20,000;
  • An increase in the time to comply with a statutory demand from 21 days to 6 months;
  • A temporary increase in the size of the debt required to issue a creditor's petition to $20,000;
  • An increase in the time to comply with a bankruptcy notice from 21 days to 6 months;
  • The moratorium on action against a debtor following the presentation of a declaration of intent to present a debtor's petition is increased to 6 months; and
  • A 6-month moratorium on directors' insolvent trading liability, for debts incurred in the ordinary course of business.

Insolvency is a highly specialised area of the law. If you have any concerns about your exposure, please don’t hesitate to contact Blue Rock’s insolvency expert, Wojtek (Tek) Randla.

4
Updated May 1

Superannuation

4.1
Updated May 1

Early Release of Superannuation

The government will allow individuals in financial stress to access up to $10,000 of their superannuation in the 2020 financial year and a further $10,000 in the 2021 financial year. 

To be eligible for early release of superannuation you must be either have:

  1. To be eligible for early release of superannuation you must be either have:
  2. Been unemployed, or
  3. Been eligible to receive Jobseeker payment, Youth Allowance for job seekers, Parenting Payment, Special Benefit or Farm Household Allowance, or
  4. Been made redundant on or after 1 January 2020, or
  5. Had your working hours reduced by 20% or more, or if you were a sole trader had your business suspended or experienced a reduction in your turnover of 20% or more

Those who are eligible are able to apply through the myGov website  from mid-April 2020 to access the funds before 1 July 2020 for the first $10,000 and have 3 months after this date to access more.  These funds will not be taxed and will not affect Centrelink or Veterans' Affairs payments.

4.2
Updated May 1

Superannuation Pensions Minimum Drawdown Rates

The government is temporarily reducing the superannuation minimum drawdown requirements for account-based pensions and similar products by 50% for the 2019/20 and 2020/21 financial years. This will provide more flexibility as to how superannuants manage their superannuation assets.

Age
Default minimum drawdown rates (%)
Reduced rates by 50% for the 2019-20 and 2020-21 income years (%)
Under 65
4
2
65-74
5
2.5
75-79
6
3
80-84
7
3.5
85-89
9
4.5
90-94
11
5.5
95 or more
14
7
4.3
Updated May 1

Employer Super Obligations

Employers will still need to meet their ongoing super guarantee obligations for their employees.

4.4
Updated May 1

Social Security Deeming Rates

The government is reducing the deeming rate adopted for Age Pension income testing by a further 0.25 percentage points to reflect the latest rate reductions by the RBA.  As of 1 May 2020, the upper deeming rate will be 2.25% and the lower deeming rate will be 0.25%.

5
Updated July 22

Bank Support

5.1
Updated July 22

Bank Care Package

  • The Australian Banking Association (ABA) and the major banks have confirmed they are implementing a new phase of support as of July 2020 for customers impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Initially, the ABA had announced a relief package that included a deferral of principal and interest repayments for all mortgages, term loans and retail loans for 6 months for small business customers with less than $3 million in total debt owed to credit providers.
  • While many of the 800,000 bank customers who had deferred their repayments have already begun repaying their loans following an initial three-month hiatus, many more will look to do so at the end of their six-month deferral period (the maximum term allowed under the previous COVID-19 support package). However, following discussions with APRA and ASIC to provide the appropriate regulatory treatment (and with interim authorisation granted by the ACCC), the banks have now agreed to extend this support package on a case-by-case basis for customers who require it.
  • Customers with reduced incomes and ongoing financial difficulty due to COVID-19 will be contacted by their banks and, if they cannot return to repayments or restructure/vary their loan (for example by extending the length of the loan or converting to interest-only repayment for a period of time) to support their current financial situation, they may be able to extend their repayment deferral by another four months.
  • At the end of the deferral period, businesses will not be required to pay the deferred interest in a lump sum.  Either the term of the loan will be extended, or the level of loan repayments will be increased. The package applies to all ABA member banks who agree to participate (listed below).

To read more about how the banks are assisting, click on the below links.

Funders outside of the (ABA) who are providing support are also listed below:

SMEs can now loan up to $1M as the government extends its COVID-19 loans scheme

The Federal Government has also announced plans this week to extend its small business COVID-19 loans scheme until June next year.

On 1 October 2020, the following changes will come into effect:

  • Loans will be provided for purposes other than working capital
  • Secured loans (i.e. where collateral is presented) will be permitted in addition to unsecured loans
  • The maximum loan size will increase four-fold to $1 million, up from $250,000 per borrower
  • The maximum loan term will increase to five years, up from three years
  • Lenders will have additional discretion to offer repayment holidays.

As with any loan, it's important that businesses have a solid strategy for repaying the debt with confidence. We recommend reaching out to our BlueRock Finance team to plan a path forward and for help liaising with the banks.

Get in touch with the BlueRock Finance team to find out more.

5.2
Updated May 1

Coronavirus SME Guarantee Scheme

  • This scheme is designed to provide working capital support to SMEs (businesses with a turnover of less than $50 million) to get through the impact of the coronavirus.
  • Under the scheme, the Federal Government will guarantee 50% of new SME unsecured loans issued by eligible lenders up to the value of $250,000.  This effectively represents a guarantee of $125,000.
  • The government will encourage lenders to provide facilities to SMEs that only have to be drawn if needed by the SME, and will remain available into the future, with interest only on the funds that are drawn down.
  • The scheme commenced in April 2020 and loans will be made available by participating lenders until 30 September 2020.  The loans will be made under a term of 3 years with an initial 6-month repayment holiday.  No assets will be required as security for these loans. 
  • These conditions apply only to new loans, not refinanced loans.
  • No fees will be payable on the establishment of the loans.
6
Updated July 13

Tax

6.1
Updated July 13

Payroll Tax

There have been some updates to the payroll tax concessions available across the country. This latest update was announced on 10 July.

  • Eligible businesses with payrolls up to $10 million can defer their liabilities for the first half of the 2020-21 financial year. Please note that this is only a deferral; not a waiver as had been the case previously.

Below is a summary of the latest developments as of 7 April 2020.

  • Full payroll tax refunds for the 2019-20 financial year are available to small and medium-sized businesses with taxable wages of less than $3 million per member entity of a group.
  • Payments should now have been refunded and the assistance is a refund, not a loan or deferral.
  • Eligible businesses must continue to lodge returns but do not need to make further payments for this financial year.
  • The State Revenue Office will directly contact eligible businesses in relation to reimbursement for payroll tax already paid in the financial year.
  • The same businesses will also be able to defer any payroll tax for the first 3 months of the 2020/21 financial year until 1 January 2021.

New South Wales

  • The NSW Government has announced that they will waive payroll tax for businesses with payrolls of up to $10m, for the months from April to June 2020.
  • Also, the payroll tax threshold will be raised to $1m in 2020/21, thereby bringing forward another round of payroll tax cuts for eligible businesses.

Western Australia

  • The government will waive payroll tax for the 4-month period between 1 March 2020 and 30 June 2020 for eligible businesses.
  • To be eligible, the business has to qualify as a small or medium business, with Australia-wide annual wages of less than $7.5m in the 2019/20 income year. This payroll tax relief will replace the payroll tax deferral previously announced.
  • Eligible business with Australian taxable wages of less than $5m as at 29 February 2020 need not apply for the waiver as it will be automatically applied. The OSR has clarified they simply need to lodge their March to June return and enter their taxable wages as normal and record them as “exempt (other) wages”. Other eligible businesses will need to apply to the OSR for the waiver.

Queensland

  • The QLD Government has announced additional payroll tax relief measures in addition to the deferral of March to June payroll tax returns until 3 August 2020.
  • All businesses specifically impacted by COVID-19 will be refunded 2 months’ worth of payroll tax, and
  • Small and medium enterprise businesses will be given a 3-month payroll tax holiday and a further 6-month payroll tax deferral.

South Australia

  • The SA Government is offering a 6-month waiver (from April to September 2020) for all businesses with an annual payroll (grouped) up to $4m.
  • Employers with grouped annual wages above $4m will be able to defer payroll tax payments for 6 months on the demonstration of significant impacts on cash flow of COVID-19.

ACT

  • There will be a 6-month waiver on payroll tax for the hospitality, creative arts and entertainment industries.
  • There will also be access to interest-free deferrals of payroll tax commencing on 1 July 2020 for all businesses up to a payroll threshold of $10m in Australian taxable wages.

Tasmania

  • The TAS Government has extended payroll tax relief as part of its additional social and economic support package to assist those impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. 
  • The payroll tax waivers previously announced for businesses in hospitality, tourism and seafood sectors, as well as businesses with payrolls less than $5m, will be extended such that these businesses will not need to pay payroll tax for the entire 2019/20 year. This will include refunds and waivers to provide cash flow to businesses.
  • Affected businesses in other sectors with an annual payroll not exceeding $5m in Australian wages can apply for a waiver of payroll tax for the 3 months of April, May and June 2020.
6.2
Updated May 1

ATO Relief – PAYGW Refunds

  • These tax-free payments are to help businesses cover employee wages and apply to businesses and Not For Profit entities with a turnover of less than $50 million that employ staff, between 1 January 2020 and 31 October 2020.
  • 100% of PAYG withheld between January 2020 and June 2020 will be credited to a maximum of $50,000 for the 6-month period. The minimum amount an employer will be able to receive is $10,000, up to a maximum of $50,000 for this period.
  • An additional payment is also being introduced in the July to October 2020 period equal to the total of the PAYG withheld refunded in the previous 6 months to provide a total refund of up to $50,000 per entity.
  • PAYGW credits will apply on a per entity, ABN basis. Therefore, if you have 2 entities conducting business in your group structure, each entity is eligible for PAYGW BAS credits of up to $50,000,provided each entity has paid $50,000 in PAYGW during the period 1 January 2020 to 30 June 2020.
  • The maximum total refund per entity is $100,000
  • Upon lodgement of the March 2020 quarter Business Activity Statements, the ATO will automatically apply a credit to the entities Running Balance Account in the amount of the PAYG tax withheld reduction from 28 April 2020.
  • The ATO has advised that where these credits result in an entity having a net refundable amount, refunds will be paid within 14 days to the entity’s nominated bank account.
  • For employers with monthly Activity Statement lodgements, the March 2020 credit will be calculated at three times the rate, to cover for the January and February months.

Monthly BAS Lodgement Example:

  • A business that employs staff, lodges monthly BAS’s.  
  • All staff are on salary, and a monthly PAYGW of $15,000 is declared each BAS.
  • On the March 2020 BAS, the $15,000 is claimed in W2.  The ATO will automatically apply a credit in the Running Balance Account of $45,000 ($15,000  January BAS, $15,000 February BAS and $15,000 March BAS).
  • On the April 2020 BAS, the $15,000 is claimed in W2.  The ATO will automatically apply a credit of $5,000, being the balance of the amount receivable under the announcement.
  • On the May and June 2020 BAS’s, the $15,000 is claimed each month. There will be no credit to the Running Balance Account in these months as your entity has already “received” the maximum allowable benefit.


6.3
Updated May 1

ATO Relief – Tax Payment Deferral Options

  • Businesses can defer by up to 4 months the payment date for BAS amounts due (including PAYG installments), income tax assessments, FBT assessments and excise.
  • Businesses can vary PAYG installment amounts to zero for the March 2020 quarter; businesses that vary their PAYG installment to zero can also claim a refund for any installments made for the September 2019 and December 2019 quarters.
  • Businesses can remit any interest and penalties, incurred on or after 23 January 2020, that have been applied to outstanding tax liabilities.
  • The ATO will work with affected businesses to help them pay their existing and ongoing tax liabilities by allowing them to enter into low-interest payment plans
  • The ATO will allow businesses on a quarterly reporting cycle to opt into monthly GST reporting in order to get quicker access to GST refunds they may be entitled to.
7
Updated May 8

Property & Leases

7.1
Updated May 8

Retail and Commercial Leases

Our legal eagles have put together a comprehensive guide to the COVID-19 commercial tenancy relief schemes across each state and territory which you can find here. It will also include the changes to the Victorian legislation when those amendments are enacted.

If you have any concerns about your exposure please do not hesitate to contact BlueRock’s Retail and Commercial lease expert, Lauren Smyth.

Night-time Economy Business Support Initiative  

  • This initiative is designed to assist businesses that were not covered by the Commercial Tenancies Relief Scheme.
  • At present, businesses can register their interest and more details will be available soon.
  • This initiative provides eligible businesses with:
  • Specialist Tenancy and Business Advice: Reimbursement of up $20,000 for external expenses incurred to access specialist information and advice on tenancy and other business issues to help manage their tenancy during the COVID-19 crisis.
  • Mediation Services: Free of charge, mediation services to be provided by the Victorian Small Business Commission to assist tenants and landlords to reach a fair and proportionate commercial outcome on rental payments during the COVID-19 period, if tenants and landlords cannot otherwise reach agreement.
  • Funding for Commercial Rental Hardship: In cases of rental hardship and despite the tenant demonstrating that they have sought to negotiate in good faith with the landlord, Commercial Rental Hardship financial support may be provided of up to $150,000 per business group to assist tenants to maintain control of the business.
  • To be eligible for support from the Night-time Economy Business Support Initiative, applicants must:
  • Operate licensed pubs, clubs or restaurants on tenanted premises under a general, full club or on-premises liquor licence as part of a group; and
  • Employ people; and
  • Have an annual turnover of less than $50 million at each individual premises operating within the group; and
  • Hold an Australian Business Number (ABN) and have held that ABN at 16 March 2020; and
  • Have engaged in carrying out the operation of the business at the tenanted premises in the Australian State of Victoria on 16 March 2020; and
  • Have had a reduction in turnover of at least 30% at one or more individual premises operating within the group since 16 March 2020; and
  • Not qualify for the Victorian Government’s Commercial Tenancy Relief Scheme under the COVID-19 Omnibus (Emergency Measures) (Commercial Leases and Licences) because the business is part of a group that has an aggregated annual turnover greater than $50 million (in the past financial year).

Summary of the Victorian Commercial Leasing Regulations (Updated 08/05/20)

On 1 May 2020, the COVID-19 Omnibus (Emergency Measures) (Commercial Leases and Licences) Regulations 2020 (Vic) were published. These Regulations give effect to the National Cabinet Mandatory Code of Conduct, which was announced on 7 April 2020.  You can read a summary of the Code below.

Here, we have provided a brief summary of the Regulations and the important points for landlords and tenants. For the most part, the Regulations (which apply from 29 March to 31 December 2020) are consistent with the principles in the Code but there are a few curveballs – these are also highlighted below.

Victorian Government extension to COVID-19 ban on evictions and rental increases

On 20/08/20, the Victorian Government announced it will extend the ban on evictions and rental increases for residential and commercial tenants until the end of the year, except in special circumstances.

The government will also introduce additional measures, which will require commercial landlords to provide rent relief in proportion with an eligible tenant’s drop in turnover going forward. It’s not yet clear if landlords’ obligations to provide rent relief will also be extended (past the current sunset date of 29 September 2020).

The government is encouraging banks to continue working with customers who are struggling to pay their mortgages. Australia’s big banks initially provided loan repayment holidays in response to the pandemic. Whether the banks offer to extend those schemes will likely depend on legislative changes that extend the rent relief period.

The Victorian Small Business Commission (VSBC) will also have capacity to make an order on rent relief if a landlord refuses to respond to rent relief requests. The current legislation does not give the VSBC powers to make orders so how this will actually play out, and the affect it will have on the mediation process, is uncertain at this stage.

Increased land tax discounts – up to 50% – may also be on the cards for eligible landlords, and a fund of $60 million for eligible small commercial landlords will be available via a hardship scheme, providing up to $3,000 per tenancy.

These announcements were anticipated given the current situation in Victoria and Stage 4 lockdown restrictions in place until 13 September. As always, the devil will be in the detail – we won’t know exactly how these new measures will affect landlords and tenants until the amendments to the legislation made.

Rent Relief

The Regulations provide that the extent of rent relief provided by landlords need not be precisely based on the extent to which the tenant’s revenue has reduced (though it is to be taken into account by a landlord in making an offer to the tenant). This is in contrast to some of the other states and the flavour of the Code.

In order to access rent relief, tenants will need to write to their landlords requesting it and confirm that the lease is an eligible lease and that the tenant qualifies for the JobKeeper scheme. It is important that tenants get the wording right in their letters to landlords if they want the protection of the Regulations. We have prepared a Regulation-compliant template letter to assist tenants.

After receiving the tenant’s letter, the landlord is then required to make an offer to the tenant within 14 days.

The Regulations provide the following parameters around the offer made by the landlord to the tenant:

  • The offer must be for up to 100% of the rent payable under the lease during the operative period (29 March 2020 – 29 September 2020);
  • No less than 50% of the rent relief offered by the landlord must be waived (unless the landlord and tenant agree otherwise);
  • The offer must take into account the reduction in the tenant’s turnover during the relevant period, any waiver given, the viability of the tenant’s business going forwards, the landlord’s financial ability to offer rent relief, and any reduction to any outgoings charged.  

Landlords and tenants are required to negotiate the exact amount of rent relief in good faith.

Our recommendation is that tenants are proactive in their initial letter requesting rent relief and put forward a figure that is reasonable in the circumstances (which ensures the viability of their business) and with accompanying financials (the landlord will likely request this in any case).

Deferred rent and extensions of the lease term

Tenants will not be required to begin repaying any deferred rent until the earlier of 29 September 2020 or the expiry of the lease. The tenant has the greater of 24 months or the balance of the lease term to pay the deferred rent. It is important to note that if the payment of any rent is deferred, the landlord must offer the tenant an extension to the term equivalent to the period in which the rent is deferred (unless agreed otherwise by the parties).

Supporting documents provided by tenants

The Regulations do not specify the documents or information that landlords may request from their tenants to substantiate the impact of the pandemic. The Victorian Small Business Commission has indicated that a guideline will be issued on the financial information that may be requested by landlords. Our advice has been, and continues to be, that tenants and landlords should work collaboratively to ensure the viability of both parties going forward. Discussions should be open and honest and tenants should be transparent with their figures. The Regulations provide that information provided is subject to confidentiality requirements.

A material change to the tenant’s circumstances

The Regulations allow tenants to make a further request for rent relief if there is a “material change” during the operative period. It is important to note that “material change” has not been defined in the Regulations but we suspect that it seeks to address a situation where the viability of the tenant’s business may be in question again. Landlords will not be required to pass on any further rent waivers in these situations – rent will simply be deferred.    

Outgoings

The Regulations require landlords to consider waiving the recovery of any outgoings or other expenses payable by a tenant under a lease for any period in which the tenant is not able to operate their business at the premises during the relevant period (29 March 2020 – 29 September 2020). It is not clear what exactly constitutes an inability to operate but we suspect that it means the complete closure of the business. Restaurants and coffee shops which continue to operate as takeaway businesses likely do not fall into this category.

Tenants’ protection from termination of leases

This one is very important. Tenants will only be protected from having their lease terminated for the non-payment of rent if they have written to the landlord requesting rent relief and confirming that they qualify for and participate in the JobKeeper scheme. This protection is not automatic as it is in some of the other STates. Landlords can be fined up to approximately $3,600 for terminating a lease, taking possession of a premises or utilising a security provided by a tenant under the lease where a tenant defaults on the payment of rent in circumstances where they are afforded protection from termination under the Regulations.

Acting reasonably and in good faith

The Regulations also provide that all eligible leases are amended to include an obligation for both landlords and tenants to cooperate with one another and act reasonably and in good faith during any discussions whose subject matter relates to the COVID-19 pandemic.

As per the Code, landlords are prevented from increasing rent, charging fees or interest for the non-payment of rent, or terminating leases because tenants close or reduce the hours of their business during the period of 29 March 2020 to 29 September 2020.

This summary does not seek to provide an exhaustive summary of the Regulations. We recommend that landlords and tenants obtain legal advice when attempting to deal with issues concerning their lease as there are a multitude of issues that intersect and need to be considered.

Please contact BlueRock Law if you require any support on these matters.

State-by-State Legislation Summary

Note that the Regulations are different in each state.

NSW Regulations Summary Update

On Friday 24 April 2020, the NSW government confirmed the Retail and Other Commercial Leases (COVID-19) Regulation 2020. The Regulations give effect to the National Cabinet Mandatory Code of Conduct – SME Commercial Leasing Principles adopted on  7 April 2020.

The Regulations will be in effect for 6 months from 24 April 2020 and will be repealed on 25 October 2020. The Regulations will not apply to new leases entered into after 24 April 2020 but leases entered into due to an exercise of option or leases renewed after this date will be subject to the Regulations.

The Regulations are largely in line with the Code and provide clarity on the NSW government’s position in respect of commercial tenancies affected by Covid-19.

Some of the Regulations’ key items include:

  • providing relief to ‘impacted lessees’ being tenants who qualify for the JobKeeper scheme and have an annual turnover of less than $50 million in the financial year ending June 2019.
  • if the tenant is a franchisee, turnover is determined by the turnover of the business at the premises. If the tenant is a corporate member of a group (i.e. related bodies corporate), the turnover is the group’s turnover.
  • any sales made over the internet will be included as a part of the lessee’s turnover.
  • if impacted lessees breach their leases during the pandemic period for failing to pay rent, outgoings or closing their business during the operating hours specified in the lease, Landlords are prohibited from taking any action including evicting tenants, exercising rights of re-entry, terminating leases, seeking damages, charging interest, drawing down on a tenant’s security deposit or suing a guarantor.
  • rent must not increase during the Regulation period.
  • any reductions in statutory charges (ie. land tax) which a landlord is entitled to must be passed on to the tenant.
  • where a tenant has been impacted by COVID-19, the landlord or tenant can request a compulsory mediation to renegotiate the rent and other terms of the lease in good faith, ‘having regard to’ the economic impacts of COVID-19 and the leasing principles set out in the Code.

Importantly, the Regulations do not prevent a landlord from taking action or seeking an order on grounds unrelated to the economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. Tenants should be aware of their obligations to continue to comply with the terms of their leases.

In the meantime, landlords and tenants in other states should continue to be guided by the principles in the code.

Here’s a refresher on the Code:

National Cabinet Mandatory Code of Conduct

Prior to the release of the Code on 7 April 2020, there was a huge amount of uncertainty about what would happen with commercial leases in this new COVID-19 world. Almost universally, leases weren't drafted to take into account a global pandemic on the scale of what we are experiencing. The reactions from landlords and tenants have differed greatly on a case-by-case basis and the uncertainty has meant that a lot of important decisions were put on the backburner.  

With some of that uncertainty removed with the release of the Code, now is the time for landlords and tenants to discuss what happens with their leases.

Recently, we released some important information about the new Code. We've also included some key points below, in case you need a refresher.

Basically, the COVID-19 pandemic has created significant issues with commercial leases and the principles set out in the Code provide landlords and tenants with at least enough information to have a proper and meaningful discussion around how those issues might be resolved. 

Ultimately, it's unlikely to be in the best interests of the tenant to walk away from a site or for the landlord to have to find a new tenant in the current climate (and even for the foreseeable period post-COVID-19).

As a result, landlords and tenants should be actively speaking to each other about their positions based on the principles set out in the Code.

Here are the high-level points:

  • The Code sets out good faith leasing principles in relation to commercial leases and is designed to aid significant cashflow issues for tenants that have arisen by virtue of the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Landlords and tenants are required to discuss their issues and work towards mutually satisfactory outcomes in an open, honest and transparent manner.  
  • The Code is mandatory and applies to those premises that are leased by SME tenants with a turnover of up to $50m (being tenants that are entitled to the Government’s JobKeeper program). While not mandatory for larger businesses, the Code notes that the principles set out in it should apply in spirit to all leasing arrangements for affected businesses.
  • Rent increases are frozen and the amount of rent actually payable is to be reduced proportionately to the reduction in revenue of the tenant. At least 50% of the reduction in rent payable is to be waived (ie. not payable ever) and the rest is to be deferred – over the longer of: the remaining term of the lease or 24 months.
  • Any other reductions in outgoings or expenses that relate to the premises (eg, land tax reductions, insurance premium reductions, reduced services and financial accommodation provided to landlords from the banks) should be shared between the landlord and the tenant.
  • Where payments are deferred, as well as the extended time for re-payment, the re-payments should only start once the COVID-19 pandemic is declared at an end and taking into account a reasonable subsequent recovery period. 
  • Where a landlord and tenant can’t agree on their lease arrangements that arise because of the COVID-19 pandemic, then either party can refer the matter to mediation with the relevant state or territory lease dispute body.

Template Documents

We’ve also prepared template documents you can purchase to help you through the process and a FREE Heads of Agreement template, which you can request here:

Order a Deed of Variation Form

Order a Rent Abatement Letter

Order a FREE Heads of Agreement Template

1. Discuss For A Rent Concession / Discount / Abatement (Different Terms – Same Meaning!)‍

Have the conversation with your landlord/tenant now. Discussing a 50% rent reduction for a 2 to 3 month period is not unreasonable if the tenant's business can demonstrate they're suffering a significant reduction in revenue. Landlords need their tenants to have viable businesses on the other side of this pandemic or they face the possibility of empty shops, vacant industrial properties and lots of office space to lease, months with no rental income, re-leasing costs and paying outgoings costs that they would usually pass on to tenants. Tenants need to be considerate that landlords also have financial obligations and should demonstrate how they are actively managing all parts of their business (not just their rent) and even provide evidence to their landlords of how they are being adversely impacted by the pandemic. you must communicate openly with each other to reach an agreement that is acceptable to both parties and share the pain, but it's also worth reviewing the terms of the lease to check for any terms that the tenant or landlord could use as leverage to swing in their favour.

2. How Could Coronavirus Cause A Tenant To Breach Their Lease?

  • Infection disease obligations
    Tenants may have reporting obligations if the premises (or its occupants) come in contact with an infectious disease and leases often includes clauses which require tenants to advise landlords in these circumstances.  Tenants can also be required to comply with directions given by government authorities; i.e. clean-up measures, at the tenant’s expense.   If tenants fail to comply with the directions of their landlord or authorities, they may be in breach of their lease and also liable for costs including the landlord’s losses or damages.  
  • Stopping trading
    Most leases require tenants to operate their businesses from the premises during normal business trading hours, with limited exceptions.  If a tenant closes a shop without the landlord’s consent during times when it is required to trade, it may be in breach of the lease.  Tenants could face losing security deposits, bank guarantees and in some situations, individuals could be personally liable for the tenant’s breach.

    A nationwide or state-sanctioned lockdown would probably override a trading obligation but it would have to be considered on a case-by-case basis.

3. When Would A Tenant Be Entitled To Compensation As A Result Of The Coronavirus?‍

Tenants have legal rights to compensation in circumstances where landlords interfere with a tenant’s use of the premises and the tenant suffers a loss.   A tenant may have a claim against their landlord if the landlord forced the tenant to shut their store or close their premises.   There are exceptions; i.e. if a landlord causes the interference in response to an emergency or at the direction of a government authority.

4. Is There An Opportunity To Change The Terms Of A Lease?

There’s always an opportunity if you discuss it the right way but a crisis can provide opportunities to negotiate terms which can benefit both parties.  Whatever the parties decide, the agreement should be documented in writing so there is clarity on what has been agreed and it’s binding.  The economic climate is too uncertain to do deals on a handshake, despite how good the relationship might be.   The following are examples of renegotiation options:

  1. If the lease is due to expire and the tenant does not have an option to renew the lease, it could agree to renew the lease for a further term (giving the landlord comfort that it will have continuous rent income), subject to the landlord agreeing to a short-term rent abatement.
  2. If a tenant runs a strong-performing business from the premises, it could negotiate a reduced base rent and agree to top it up with turnover rent (a percentage of the tenant’s turnover which exceeds a threshold amount).
  3. If there are still a number of years left in the term, a tenant could agree to carry out refurb works at the premises (preferably at a deferred date), subject to the landlord agreeing to a rent abatement.

To assist you, we’ve put together a bundle of template documents in relation to rent abatement and rental considerations, which offers both timely and cost effective advice.

We're here to help both tenants and landlords reach agreements to share the pain through this unprecedented situation.

7.2
Updated April 24

Land Tax

Land Tax Relief for Landlords

The Victorian Government has announced land tax relief for landlords as part of its Economic Survival Package in response to COVID-19.

Landlords who provide tenants impacted by COVID-19 with rent relief may be eligible for a 25% reduction on the property’s 2020 land tax.

This relief is also available to landowners who are unable to secure a tenant because of COVID-19.

Landlords can also defer the remainder of their 2020 land tax to 31 March 2021.

This relief is available for residential and commercial properties, however, for commercial landlords to be eligible, the property must be rented to a tenant with an annual turnover of up to $50 million, and the tenant must be eligible for the Commonwealth Government’s JobKeeper Payment.

Read more about the land tax announcement.

Read about all tax relief measures in the Economic Survival Package.

Land Tax Deferral

  • Landowners due to pay 2020 land tax that have at least one non-residential property and total taxable landholdings below $1 million have the option of deferring their 2020 land tax payment until after 30 June 2020.
  • The State Revenue Office will contact all taxpayers who are eligible for this deferral
8
Updated July 22

General Insurance

WorkCover payment solution means businesses can save money and improve cash flow

With cash flow tight for many businesses right now, we've been working with our clients on different ways to save money and free up funds. One option is to take advantage of insurance premium funding.

Through BlueRock General Insurance, you can now take advantage of a 5% upfront payment discount applied to your 2020 WorkSafe renewal, but spread the cost over 10 monthly of repayments.  

Regardless of whether your insurance policy was originally arranged by BlueRock, we can organise to pay your annual 5% discounted premium direct to WorkSafe VIC on your behalf, to be repaid throughout the year. All we need is copy of your WorkSafe invoice before the end of July and we’ll provide an obligation-free agreement for your consideration.

Get in touch with our General Insurance team for more info.

9
Updated June 23

Instant Asset Write-Offs and Accelerated Depreciation

  • This scheme is applicable to assets purchased after 12 March 2020.
  • It sees an increase in the instant asset write-off threshold from $30,000 to $150,000 and expanding access to these write-offs to include businesses with an aggregated annual turnover of less than $500 million until 31 December 2020.
  • For assets with a purchase price of more than $150,000 or purchased after 31 December 2020, businesses with an aggregated annual turnover of less than $500 million, in addition to the standard depreciation a claim for assets, will be able to deduct 50% of the asset cost in the year of purchase via a time-limited 15-month investment incentive through to 30 June 2021.    

For Example

  • Assume that a business purchases a new truck for $250,000 (exclusive of GST) in May 2020.
  • In the 2020 tax return, the business would claim an upfront deduction of $125,000. The business would also claim a further deduction for the depreciation that would have arisen on the balance of the cost.
  • Assuming a depreciation rate of 15%, this would mean an additional deduction of $18,750 (i.e. 15% x $125,000). The total deduction in the 2020 tax return would be $143,750.
  • Without the introduction of this investment incentive, the business would have claimed a deduction of $37,500 (i.e., 15% x $250,000).
10
Updated April 1

Wills and Estates Planning

10.1
Updated April 1

Estate Planning

If you haven’t already, now may be the right time to update your Will or ensure that you have valid powers of attorney in place. A robust estate plan can provide peace of mind during these uncertain times. 

Enduring Powers of Attorney and Appointment of Medical Treatment Decision Makers will be increasingly more important for members of our community within a high-risk demographic. 

For more information, visit our COVID-19 website all about managing your money or check out this blog post on the top four estate planning documents that everyone should have in place.

If you need assistance with your estate planning, please contact Marco Saccotelli or Alexia White from the BlueRock Law team, , or Ryan Williams from the Private Wealth team.

11
Updated May 1

Liquor Licence Fees

Victoria

  • Liquor licensing fees will be waived for 2020 for affected venues and small businesses.
  • Businesses that have paid for a renewable liquor licence for 2020 will be reimbursed their licence fee and those yet to pay will have the fee waived. 
  • The State Revenue Office will administer the reimbursement, regardless of whether the liquor licence fee was paid to it or the Victorian Commission for Gaming and Liquor Regulation.

Tasmania

  • Businesses will receive a 50% discount on liquor licensing fees and have application fees waived for the entire 2020 calendar year.
12
Updated March 31

Digital & Marketing

When business is bad and cost-cutting essential, sales and marketing can sometimes be the first to go. But there are some great digital strategies, tools and financial supports available right now to help you through the tough times. And if executed in the right way, digital tactics can be a life-saver.

If you’d like some free advice on where to start or need help applying for a grant, please get in touch with the BlueRock Digital team.

Take Your Business Online

Some of our retail clients who have been forced to shut their doors due to COVID-19 have worked with us to spin up a quick and simple e-commerce website for under $5,000 so they can sell online (for delivery or scheduled pick-ups). This has been invaluable to allow them to continue trading.

City of Melbourne businesses can use the quick response grant mentioned below to cover this cost.

Apply for Grants

In the last couple of weeks, governments and global media giants have all come to the table with some pretty impressive COVID-19 grants.

City of Melbourne

The City of Melbourne is offering $5 million in grants for local businesses to invest in online and e-commerce capabilities. If you’ve lost revenue due to retail closure, this grant can provide up to $5,000 for hardware, software and services to develop the following digital capabilities:

  • Website design and development
  • E-commerce platform (selling online and receiving payment)
  • Online content development (web pages, mobile apps, audio and visual media)
  • Digital marketing and promotion
  • Mentoring and training in online and e-commerce activities

You can read more here but note that your business must reside within the City of Melbourne.

Victoria Government

Eligible businesses can receive funding up to $10,000 through the $500 million Business Support Fund. Grants can be used to cover financial services, operational costs or marketing and communications activities.

Applications open on Monday 30 March 2020 and close on Monday 1 June 2020. Contact a BlueRock adviser to assess if you’re eligible.

Google

Google has announced an $800M commitment to support small-medium businesses and aid the COVID-19 crisis. This includes Google Ads credits and a $200 million investment fund that will help NGOs and financial institutions to provide small businesses with access to capital.

Read more on our blog or check out updates from Google.

Facebook

Facebook has announced $100M in grants for small businesses affected by COVID-19. These grants are available for up to 30,000 businesses across 30 countries, including Australia.

Read more on our blog or apply for updates from Facebook.

13
Updated July 13

Grants & Incentives

Restricted Postcodes Business Support Program

  • Businesses that are operating within a postcode affected by the return to Stay at Home restrictions may be eligible for a one-off, $5,000 grant.
  • In order to be eligible, the business must have employees, be registered for JobKeeper and their trading has to have been affected by the re-imposed restrictions.
  • The grants are available to businesses that are registered for GST and who have annual payrolls of less than $3 million. The grants will be available to businesses even if they have previously received a $10,000 Business Support Fund grant from the government, or a payroll tax refund or waiver.
  • Applications are now open and close the 19 August.

Experience Economy Survival Package

Victorian sport, tourism and creative industries are receiving $150 million to support sporting clubs as well as major tourist attractions, galleries and museums, and the racing industry.

R&D Tax Incentive

How COVID-19 has impacted the R&D Tax Incentive:

  1. A 5-month extension to the FY19 claim window for all companies, with claims now due by 30 September 2020.
  1. We suspect that proposed changes to the legislation which reduced the benefit for most companies will no longer be implemented. It is difficult to see the new legislation being passed through parliament on time. We will continue to monitor the situation.

EMDG (Export Grant)

A major boost to the export grant (EMDG) to help exporters survive through COVID-19:

  1. The Government has injected nearly $50 million to the EMDG program.
  2. For applications lodged in 2019–20, the payout factor for the second tranche will be 100%.
  3. The payment date for the 2019–20 financial year has been brought forward to the week commencing 6 April.
  4. Businesses with a grant of more than $40,000 will be paid their full grant soon after Monday 6 April.
  5. Austrade will still award the EMDG for eligible expenses impacted by COVID-19 (such as trade show cancellations)

What Now?

We understand that this has been a lot of information to take in and try to figure out. With regular government announcements happening it can be easy to find yourself in a situation of information overwhelm. If you would like to discuss how the above may affect you and your business and taking the next steps forward we welcome you to get in touch with us today.

Resources

Guide
Video
Changes to Commercial Leasing & Licensing Webinar Recording
Update
Video
Finance and Property Market Update Webinar Recording
Guide
Video
Taking You Through the New Rules of the JobKeeper Extension Bill Webinar Recording
Guide
Video
Changes to JobKeeper Under the JobKeeper Extension Bill Webinar Recording
Guide
Document
COVID-19 National Legislative Commercial Tenancy Guide
Guide
Video
Global Investment Markets and Covid-19 - Where to now?
Guide
Document
Australian State & Territory Summary on COVID-19 Response Legislation Affecting Commercial Leases
Guide
Video
Distressed Business: Managing Your Risks and Considering Your Options
Update
Video
Rent and COVID-19: The Latest Updates
Guide
Video
Surviving and Thriving Through the Coronavirus Tips for Hospitality & Retail Owners
Guide
Document
Guide to the JobKeeper Scheme (April 9, 2020)
Guide
Document
Guide to the JobKeeper Scheme (April 10, 2020)
Guide
Video
How to Navigate COVID-19 and Staff
Form
Document
Order Form (Rent Abatement Template Letters)

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Did you know?
BlueRock is a certified B Corp business.
Does that mean we didn’t make the ‘A-Team’? Far from it; landing a ‘B’ in this case is an affirmation of our commitment to being “a force for good” in the corporate arena.