COVID-19 Business Update – 11 November 2020

Welcome back to our Weekly Digest. We hope you and your family are safe and doing well. Read on for this week’s updates and some ideas that will help us all overcome this crisis.

No locally acquired cases for the first time since Feb!

Great news this week for Victoria who recorded 12 days with no new COVID-19 cases, and the rest of the country as Australia recorded its third day without a locally acquired case nationally for the first time since late February.

COVID-19 Vaccine Breakthrough

Results from Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine trials are exciting, immunology and infectious diseases experts say, as early data showed it may be 90% effective in stopping the transmission of the virus. Like many vaccines, Pfizer’s requires super-cold storage until just before it’s administered, so there is still a long way to go to build a global distribution network

Australian Business Confidence Highest Since 2019

Australian business confidence in October rose to its highest level since mid-2019 as the economy showed more encouraging signs following the steep decline brought by the pandemic.

According to NAB’s monthly business survey, business conditions edged one point higher in October from September to 1 index point, while confidence rose nine points to 5 index points.

This recovery comes as Victoria, which accounts for about 25% of the economy, eased stringent COVID-19 restrictions after containing the second wave of the virus.

Employees May Need to Give Employees More Super Choices

A change to the law means that you may need to offer employees more choice in relation to the super fund that you pay their compulsory superannuation contributions to.

All workplace determinations and enterprise agreements made on or after 1 January 2021 must give employees the right to choose their super fund.

Once a new determination or agreement is in place, you’ll need to give a Superannuation standard choice form to:

  • existing employees who request to choose their super fund
  • all new employees.

You must then pay employees’ compulsory super to their nominated fund. We will keep you informed of the updates but please feel free to chat to us if you have any questions.

Upcoming Key Dates and Deadlines

Please keep in mind these key dates:

  • 23 November 2020 – October monthly BAS due
  • 30 November 2020 – September quarter SG charge statement due

Business Growth Fund Launches

The government-backed Australian Business Growth Fund has launched to ensure small- and medium-sized businesses have access to equity finance, as the country recovers from the COVID-19 crisis.

Initially, the Australian Business Growth Fund will have an initial investment capacity of $540 million, with a goal to grow the fund to $1 billion.

The government is making a $100-million investment, while major banks including ANZ, Commonwealth Bank, NAB, and Westpac have also committed $100 million each.

The fund will allow Australian businesses to apply for long-term equity capital investments between $5 million and $15 million, where they have generated annual revenue between $2 million and $100 million and can demonstrate three years of revenue growth and profitability.

If you need help in assessing your eligibility or to consider other financing options, don’t hesitate to contact us for guidance.

$800m Digital Business Plan to Drive Economic Recovery

The Australian Government has announced a Digital Business plan to enable businesses to take advantage of digital technologies to grow their businesses and create jobs in the wake of COVID-19. PM Scott Morrison and Treasurer Josh Frydenberg announced the almost $800 million scheme on Tuesday that will facilitate doing more business online in a post-pandemic world.

Under the plan, the rollout of Australia’s 5G network will be accelerated, the digital capacity of the agriculture, manufacturing, mining, logistics and financial services will be boosted, and Australians will be able to start a new business in 15 minutes using online government services.

If you need our expert advice on how you can start a business or pivot to adapt to the crisis, don’t hesitate to message us.

Major Overhaul to Bankruptcy Laws

After the major changes to the JobSeeker and JobKeeper programs, Australia’s bankruptcy laws have been overhauled, throwing a lifeline to struggling businesses amid the COVID-19 crisis.

Under the proposed changes, businesses with liabilities of less than $1 million will be able to keep operating while they come up with a debt restructuring plan, rather than be placed in the hands of administrators.

The new rules which will become effective from 1 January 2021 follows the government’s decision earlier this month to extend its temporary insolvency and bankruptcy protection rules until the end of 2020.

Supporting Apprentices and Trainees Wage Subsidy Extended

The Supporting Apprentices and Trainees wage subsidy has been expanded and extended to include medium-sized businesses who had an eligible apprentice in place from 1 July 2020.

Eligible employers will receive a wage subsidy of up to 50% of the wages paid until 31 March 2021 worth up to $7,000 per quarter, per eligible apprentice or trainee, to manage their cash flow challenges. 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.

This may be of particular interest to employers who are not eligible for the JobKeeper extension. For professional assistance in applying for this wage subsidy or any other funding assistance, feel free to contact us.

Government-backed COVID-19 Loans Extended

The government is extending its small business COVID-19 loans scheme until June 2021. If you need help to access these loans or you want to find out if you are eligible, don’t hesitate to drop us a message.

Adapting Your Leadership Style in the Post-Pandemic World

COVID-19 has changed the business landscape now and for the foreseeable future. As a business leader, you need to adapt your leadership style and strategies accordingly to fit the new work environment in the post-pandemic world.

Below are four key things you can do to adapt your approach:

  • Improve your emotional intelligence
    These are difficult times for everyone. As your employees face new challenges, it is important for you to recognise these struggles and exercise empathy and flexibility.
  • Foster trust and communication
    Now, more than ever, business leaders must communicate to ensure staff are on board and they trust their leaders’ guidance. Keep your communication lines open, as well take time for one-on-one sessions and team discussions.
  • Get your team members involved
    Make your employees feel that they have a voice in the company. Involve them on company decisions, especially on matters that will concern them such as work arrangements.
  • Keep an eye on the future
    As we navigate the post-pandemic world, there will surely be more uncertainties ahead. Your role as a business leader is to be ready to quickly adapt to those future changes by staying on top of what’s gonna happen next.

Do you want to run your business better? Drop us a message so we can schedule a one-on-one consultation.

Remembrance Day Poppy Appeal

This year many Remembrance Day services were virtual so traditional poppy sales had to be cut back. RSLs around the country are urging Australians to consider donating to the online Poppy Appeal this year.

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