We will continue to update our website with the most up to date information from the Fair Work Ombudsman. Below are some helpful links and please do not hesitate to contact us with any concerns regarding your rights.
Shakenovsky & Associates provides up to date advice on the ever-changing policies and procedures in relation to the employment issues arising from the COVID-19 Pandemic.
Advising on standing down of employees, reducing employees’ hours and termination of employment.
Advising on all employment issues arising out of the COVID-19 Pandemic affecting employers and employees.
If you have a question about workplace entitlements, we’re here to help you understand your rights and responsibilities at work during the coronavirus outbreak.
View the most recent Travel Restrictions coming to Australia. You can only travel to Australia if you are an Australian citizen, a permanent resident, an immediate family member of an Australian citizen or permanent resident or are a New Zealand citizen usually resident in Australia. Read more details about current travel restrictions below.
THIRD GOVERNMENT STIMULI & HELP PACKAGES – COVID-19
On Monday 30 March 2020 the Federal Government announced a third economic stimulus package of $130 billion to retain Australian employees of suffering businesses dealing with coronavirus, COVID-19. Also, on Sunday 29 March 2020 the New South Wales Government announced further Payroll Tax concessions.
UPDATED JOBKEEPER INFORMATION – Existing JobKeeper continues up until 27 September 2020
From the next day, a new, modified JobKeeper scheme applies until 28 March 2021. Under the new scheme, employers must reassess their eligibility with reference to actual turnover in the June and September quarters (2020) compared to the same period in 2019.
- 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 June and September quarters 2020. They will need to demonstrate that they have met the relevant decline in turnover test in both of those quarters 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 further reassess their turnover to be eligible for the JobKeeper Payment. They will need to demonstrate that they have met the relevant decline in turnover test with reference to their actual GST turnover in each of the June, September and December quarters 2020 to remain eligible for the JobKeeper Payment from 4 January 2021 to 28 March 2021
- Monthly lodgers will use the aggregate turnover for the three-monthly Activity Statements over these quarters and compare them to the above periods in 2019
- The existing decline in turnover rates must be met (i.e. 30% for businesses with a turnover of $1 billion or less, or 15% for Australian Charities and Not for profits Commission-registered charities (excluding schools and universities)
Reduced payment rates will also apply for all eligible employees and business participants as follows:
From 28 September 2020 to 3 January 2021, the JobKeeper Payment rates:
- $1,200 per fortnight for all eligible employees who, in the four weeks of pay periods before 1 March 2020, were working in the business or not-for-profit for 20 hours or more a week on average, and for eligible business participants who were actively engaged in the business for 20 hours or more per week on average in the month of February 2020; and
- $750 per fortnight for other eligible employees and business participants.
From 4 January 2021 to 28 March 2021, the JobKeeper Payment rates will be:
- $1,000 per fortnight for all eligible employees who, in the four weeks of pay periods before 1 March 2020, were working in the business or not-for-profit for 20 hours or more a week on average and for business participants who were actively engaged in the business for 20 hours or more per week on average in the month of February 2020; and
- $650 per fortnight for other eligible employees and business participants.
There has also been a change to the JobSeeker Coronavirus Supplement with it also being extended past September until the 31 December, with the amount falling from $550 to $250 a fortnight after 24 September.
Updated JobKeeper information has been provided by Saul Markunsky, Director for In The Picture and Shakenovsky & Associates’ accountant.
CURRENT: FEDERAL GOVERNMENT NEW JOBKEEPER PAYMENT WAGE SUBSIDY
Under the new wage subsidy plan, eligible employers will receive a $1,500 per fortnight “job keeper payment” before tax for each eligible employee they keep employed to 30 September 2020. Self-employed workers are also eligible.
The following is the limited detail provided so far, legislation is to still to be prepared and passed by parliament.
The JobKeeper Payment subsidy starts 30 March 2020 with the first payments to Eligible Employers in the first week of May 2020, backdated to the 30 March start date.
Subsequent subsidy payments will be paid to the employer monthly in arrears.
ELIGIBLE EMPLOYERS (EXCLUDING BANKS)
With a turnover of less than $1billion per annum and their turnover will be reduced by more than 30% in at least one month by 30 September 2020 compared to the same month of the prior year.
With a turnover of $1billion or more per annum and their turnover will be reduced by more than 50% in at least one month by 30 September 2020 compared to the same month of the prior year.
(As to exactly how the reduced turnover will need to be proven is unclear at this stage).
The employer must have employed the eligible employee as at 1 March 2020 and continue to employ in order to continue to receive the subsidy.
Not-for-profits (including charities), as well as self-employed individuals, are also eligible.
Are currently employed by the Eligible Employer (including those stood down or re-hired);
Were employed by the employer as of 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 receiving a JobKeeper Payment from another employer
Initially, employers and self-employed can register their interest online here.
Subsequently, employers and self-employed will need to provide further details to the ATO through an online application (has not yet been released).
Register an intention to apply as per above and assess that they have or will experience the required turnover decline.
Provide information to the ATO on all Eligible Employees as at 1 March 2020. The ATO will use Single Touch Payroll data to pre-populate the employee details for most businesses.
Pay each Eligible Employee a minimum of $1,500 per fortnight (before tax).
Notify all Eligible Employees that they are receiving the JobKeeper Payment.
Continue to provide information to the ATO on a monthly basis for all Eligible Employees.
Pay superannuation guarantee contributions based on payments to Eligible Employees.
NEW SOUTH WALES PAYROLL TAX CONCESSIONS
Additional concessions have been announced (further detailed information is still to be released):
Businesses with Grouped Australian Wages over $10 million for the 2019/20 financial year can choose to defer the payment of their payroll tax for up to 6 months, starting with the March month which would normally be due for payment by 7 April 2020.
Businesses with Grouped Australian Wages of $10 million or less for the 2019/20 financial year can choose to defer their July, August and September 2020 payroll tax payment by up to 3 months. Those business have already been granted a 25% reduction in payroll tax liabilities for the 2019/20 financial year.
Australia COVID-19 Travel Restrictions
Australia has strict border measures in place to protect the health of the Australian community. Very limited flights are currently available to and from Australia and you may not be able to travel at this time. See National Cabinet media statement.
All travellers arriving in Australia, including Australian citizens, are subject to mandatory quarantine for 14 days at a designated facility, such as a hotel, in their port of arrival. See Coronavirus (COVID-19) advice for travellers. You may be required to pay for the costs of your quarantine. To find out more about quarantine requirements, contact the relevant state or territory government health department.
You can only travel to Australia if you are an Australian citizen, a permanent resident, an immediate family member of an Australian citizen or permanent resident or are a New Zealand citizen usually resident in Australia.
Travellers who have a compassionate or compelling reason to travel to Australia will need to have an exemption from the Australian Border Force Commissioner.
All travellers arriving in Australia must undertake a mandatory 14-day quarantine at designated facilities (for example, a hotel), in their port of arrival.
Travel restrictions are subject to change. Some exemptions are in place. Please check back regularly.
Additional exemptions as determined by the Commissioner
The Commissioner of the Australian Border Force (ABF) may consider an additional exemption in relation to the travel restrictions currently in place for:
- foreign nationals travelling at the invitation of the Australian Commonwealth Government for the purpose of assisting in the COVID-19 response or whose entry would be in the national interest
- critical medical services, including air ambulance and delivery of supplies, that regularly arrive into Australia from international ports
- people with critical skills (for example, medical specialists, engineers, marine pilots and crews) by exception
- diplomats accredited to Australia and currently resident in Australia, and their immediate family
- case-by-case exceptions for humanitarian or compassionate reasons.
Exemptions must be granted prior to travelling to Australia. The request for an exemption through Commissioner’s Discretion must be accompanied by:
- passenger details: name, DOB, visa type and number, passport number, Australian residential address, Australian telephone number)
- case information: why this case should be considered for Commissioner discretion/exemption
- supporting statement: the request should be accompanied by a statement and evidence of how the individual meets one of the grounds for an exemption or excise of the Commissioner’s discretion listed above.
It is important that all travellers provide evidence that they meet one of the exemptions above before travelling.
Depending on your reason for requesting an exemption, the evidence must be provided and could include:
- proof of ID
- marriage certificates
- birth certificates
- death certificates
- proof of relationship (for example, shared tenancy agreement, joint bank account etc.)
- visa status
- letter from a doctor or hospital indicating why the travel is necessary
- letter from an employer indicating why the travel is necessary or the work undertaken is critical
- letter from a related business or company
- any other proof you may have to support your claims.
All evidence supporting a travel exemption claim needs to be officially translated into English.
You should apply for an exemption at least 4 weeks, but not more than 3 months, before your planned travel.
If you are not granted an exemption, you should not continue with your travel plans. If granted an exemption, you must take evidence of that exemption decision to the airport.
Information for Refugee and Humanitarian (Class XB) visa holders
If you hold a Refugee and Humanitarian (Class XB) visa you are not considered to be a permanent resident unless you have already entered Australia.
If you have not already travelled to Australia on your Refugee and Humanitarian (Class XB) visa you are not able to enter Australia at this time unless you have applied for and been granted an exemption as detailed above.