JobKeeper + COVID-19 Update

JobKeeper updatesThe Covid-19 Pandemic is far from over. Like any other event that impacts the world, we don’t know what the future will be like, but we do know that the other side of this will require resilience and creativity from all of us. In the spirit of resilience, we have put together some useful resources to help you.

JobKeeper is all we have been thinking about and dealing with lately, so here are some recent updates on the JobKeeper scheme.

1. JobKeeper Alternative Eligibility Tests

Late last week the government announced alternative tests for businesses that don’t meet the basic JobKeeper eligibility test (a 30% decline in turnover). The alternative tests are good news for startups, those who have restructured, been affected by drought or have irregular revenue.

2. JobKeeper Deadline Extended

The ATO has extended the deadline for making JobKeeper payments and top ups to employees for the first two fortnights of April 2020. The time to enrol for the initial JobKeeper periods has been extended from 30 April 2020 until 31 May 2020.

If you enrol by 31 May you will still be able to claim 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.

If you have any questions about JobKeeper, please let us know. We are working hard to help many individuals and business owners through this time. We appreciate your patience and support.

3. How can I pay staff while waiting for JobKeeper?

If you are worried about finding the money to pay staff while waiting for JobKeeper to be paid by the government, chat to us. We’re not going to advise a ‘one size fits all’ approach, but you may need to speak with your bank to get an arrangement in place. Chat to us first to get some advice around your cashflow.  Banks are supposed to be providing special lending arrangements for business owners for JobKeeper purposes, but their are restrictions and turn around times can be more than 24 hours so best to get cracking.

4. Restrictions

Some state governments have announced plans to slowly start lifting coronavirus restrictions. The relaxed restrictions would potentially allow specific activities to begin again. PM Scott Morrison confirmed no national restrictions would be lifted until at least May 11, when they will measure key statistics.

It’s still early days but good news that our country has done well to ‘flatten the curve’.

5. Are you adapting? (I am so sick of the word “pivot”)

Businesses that use the Coronavirus setback as an opportunity to adapt, innovate and improve are the ones that will thrive. You may need to modify your offerings, look into offering online services and see what you can do differently.

We recommend you use this time to do those things you’ve been putting off because you didn’t have enough time. Can you improve some internal processes, conduct staff training, complete that new website project or look at your marketing efforts? How about developing a plan for when you can reopen?

So where is the good news?

The pandemic has caused many people to adjust. We have seen innovations born out of necessity, such as hands-free door openers and rapid development and manufacturing of ventilators and masks.  Those in the alcohol and beauty industry are working hard to create new sanitiser products, which I think will be in high demand for many months to come.

Business owners are taking stock of their situation, and using this period to update procedures, implement software to streamline services and online bookings – so when things return to “some kind of normal” they have a much greater chance of boosting immediate sales.

“You must also take care of yourself.  Coronavirus won’t just leave a financial impact, but a mental impact that will be long lasting.”

We know that this is a hard time. Everyone is throwing words around like “uncertain” and “unprecedented”, while business feels more stressful than ever. Please take time out today to look after yourself. It could be a simple walk around the block (not so possible in Ballarat weather), listening to music, meditation or an online fitness or wellbeing class.

We know JobKeeper and the Cash Flow Boost are not going to return our economy to “normal” overnight, but these economic stimulus packages are a start, and will keep our economy moving forward, all be it at a slower rate than what we are used to.