COVID-19 Business Update – 12 August 2020

Welcome back to our Weekly Digest. We hope you and your family are safe and doing well. Read on for this week’s update.

Australian Borders Remain Shut

Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced that international border closures were unlikely to lift before Christmas, as the country reported a record single-day surge in COVID-19 deaths on Monday.

However, drastic lockdown measures in Melbourne appear to be working, as the rate of daily new infections in Victoria is slowing down to a near two-week low.

As Victoria and New South Wales battle second waves of the coronavirus, it’s clear that staying home is best, if possible. If you do need to travel, you can use this guide to see each state’s restrictions on travel.

Help for Victorian businesses

To support businesses impacted by the restrictions in Victoria, one-off grants are available to eligible businesses under the Business Support Fund. These include:

  • $10,000 for employing businesses in metropolitan Melbourne and Mitchell Shire in recognition of longer time under restrictions
  • $5,000 for employing businesses in regional local government areas (except Mitchell Shire)

Preparing for the end of JobKeeper

You probably heard the announcement that the JobKeeper wage subsidy scheme will be extended from September through to March next year, with some changes.

According to a recent survey over 40% of the respondents reported reliance on JobKeeper payments. 47% of SMEs indicated that the JobKeeper Scheme had provided the most relief.

So given the deep reliance on JobKeeper and the changes coming in September, now is the time to think about how your business will be impacted. If you’re still eligible for JobKeeper at the end of September, you will not be receiving the same amount as you are now. If you are no longer eligible, you will not be able to receive this wage subsidy support at all.

As a business owner relying on the relief from this scheme provides, the end of JobKeeper could create some concerns. Get in touch with us to chat about the next steps for your business.

Business Conditions Improving

NAB’s index of business conditions bounced to 0 in July, from -8 in June, as the service sector rebounded from a national lockdown.

However, a weekly survey of consumer confidence from ANZ showed sentiment had declined for seven consecutive weeks due to the latest lockdown and outbreak in Melbourne.

Its main index fell 2.4% last week to its lowest since late April, though it was still above the record low hit that month.

Eligibility for Victoria’s COVID-19 Leave Payment

If you are required to self-isolate in Victoria, but don’t have any sick leave entitlement to support yourself, you will be eligible for a $1,500 payment from the federal government.

This new disaster payment aims to remove the financial pressure of staying at home and encourage people not to break isolation rules. Workers in Victoria with no sick leave can apply for this disaster payment.

The following are the requirements to be eligible: you must be 17 or older, live and work in Victoria, be required to self isolate (or be the primary carer of someone under 16 who needs to self isolate), have been likely to work during the 14 day period, have exhausted any sick leave or pandemic leave entitlements your employer provides to be eligible. You’ll also have to do a 100-point ID check when you apply. More information can be found here.

Go Local First campaign has launched

The Council of Small Business Organisations Australia and the Morrison Government have introduced the Go Local First campaign to promote the vital role of small businesses in local communities and the national economy.

Superannuation Guarantee Amnesty

The Superannuation Guarantee Amnesty was introduced in March 2020 to allow employers to disclose and pay previously unpaid Super Guarantee Charges that they owe their employees from 1 July 1992 to 31 March 2018.

The benefits of the amnesty include:

  • Tax deductions for payments of the Superannuation Guarantee Charge
  • No administrative penalty of $20 per employee
  • No Part 7 penalties (which could otherwise be 200% of the SG Charge owing).

Employers need to apply for the amnesty by 7 September 2020. You can find more information on the ATO website.

Paying your employees’ super is a very important part of being an employer. So if you would like to discuss any issues you may have regarding this, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

Reinventing Your Business for Speed in the Post-COVID World

The pandemic has prompted business leaders to embrace technology and data, reinvent core processes, and adopt collaboration tools. In the post-COVID-19 era, there will be an increasing need for businesses to get things done fast without compromising quality. This McKinsey article talks about nine actions to unleash sustainable speed:

  • Speed up and delegate decision making.
  • Step up execution excellence
  • Cultivate extraordinary partnerships.
  • Flatten the structure.
  • Unleash nimble, empowered teams.
  • Make hybrid work, work.
  • Field tomorrow’s leaders today.
  • Learn how to learn.
  • Rethink the role of CEOs and leaders.

The coronavirus is one of the greatest challenges of our times. If you want to stay afloat, the time to build a business designed for speed is now. We can help you reimagine your business and reinvent the future so you can come back stronger as the economy gradually reopens.

On the Bright Side…

We’re now in the third quarter of 2020 and we are still in the grips of a global pandemic– leaving many scared, frustrated, and struggling. However, among the dire news, there have been a few bright spots, as this article points out, with a listing of 100 positive things that have happened so far in 2020. For example, drive-in movie theatres are showing a resurgence, adoption and fostering of homeless animals has risen, and museums around the world have opened for virtual tours.

We understand that this year seems incredibly hard, and it surely doesn’t feel like a moment when you can easily see the glass as half full or make lemonade out of lemons. While it’s okay to not be okay, we encourage you to find the silver linings.

Get in touch

Contact us if you have any questions or want to discuss the next steps for your business.

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