FAQs - Coronavirus and your business

Support for your business


Where to get help for your business

During these difficult times it’s essential to make well informed decisions about your business and employees based on your current financial position. Staying up to date on legislative changes relating to coronavirus can help minimise the impact on you and your employees.

To help business owners manage the disruption to your business you can find information on several of the Australian governments COVID-19 related measures below.

The Government has introduced the JobKeeper Payment, which will allow eligible businesses that have been impacted by coronavirus to keep paying wages to certain employees. If you’re eligible for this payment, you will be able to pay $1,500 per fortnight (before tax) to your employees from 30 March 2020 for up to six months. The Government has advised that the first payments will be available from the first week of May.
Employers will be eligible for the subsidy if:

  • your business has a turnover of less than $1 billion and your turnover will decrease by more than 30 per cent; or
  • your business has a turnover of $1 billion or more and your turnover will be decrease by more than 50 per cent; and
  • you are not subject to the Major Bank Levy.
     
To determine how much your revenue has decreased, you’ll need to measure your current revenue against a comparable period of at least a month from a year ago.
 
Not-for-profit entities, including charities, and self-employed individuals that meet the turnover tests that apply for businesses can also apply for JobKeeper Payments.

In order to receive the fortnightly payment, you’re employees will be eligible if:
  • are currently employer by your (including those stood down or re-hired);
  • Were employed by you on 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.

 
Your employees must report a JobKeeper Payment as income, as it this may affect their eligibility for other payments from Services Australia.
 
You will need to identify your eligible employees and will have to provide monthly updates to the ATO. You will also be required to ensure your eligible employees will receive, at a minimum, $1,500 per fortnight, before tax. It will be up to you if you want to pay superannuation on any additional wage paid because of the JobKeeper Payment.
 
You can register your interest in applying for the JobKeeper Payment and read through more information at ato.gov.au.

You may be able to receive up to $100,000 if you are an eligible small, medium and not-for-profit businesses.  This is to help you with your cashflow so you can keep paying your rent, electricity and employees. To qualify, your aggregated annual turnover needs to be less than $50 million and you need to employ people.

If you have fewer than 20 full-time employees, which includes apprentices or trainees, you can apply to have the Government pay 50% of your apprentice’s or trainee’s wage for up to nine months, from 1 January 2020 to 30 September 2020, to a maximum of $21,000 per apprentice or trainee. This subsidy will also be available to businesses of any size that takes on an apprentice or trainee who has been let go by another business.

As businesses go through a tough time, the Government has decided to increase the threshold for creditors to issue a statutory demand on a company from $2,000 to $20,000, and the minimum amount of debt required for a creditor to initiate bankruptcy proceedings will increase from $5,000 to $20,000.  Both of these measures will apply for the next six months.

If you are facing challenges due to disrupted cash flow and fixed costs, you may be able to seek support from the coronavirus SME guarantee scheme. To be eligible, you need to have a turnover of up to $50 million and will be able to borrow a maximum of $250,000 over three years, with no repayments due for the first six months. These short-term loans will be unsecured, with the Government guaranteeing half of the loan value.

If you have been impacted by the coronavirus, it’s a good idea to contact your bank who may be able to defer repayments on any existing loans for up to six months. Your bank may also be to help you with waiving fees and charges, organizing interest-free periods or interest rate freezes and debt consolidation to make debts more manageable.

If you were looking to potentially invest or bring forward investment in, business assets it may be helpful to know that the Government is increasing the instant asset write-off threshold from $30,000 to $150,000. It is also be expanded to all businesses with aggregated annual turnover of less than $500 million (up from $50 million) until 30 June 2020.

To support small and medium-sized enterprises affected by coronavirus, the Australian Government introduced a mandatory Code of Conduct for Commercial Tenancies. The Code provides a proportionate and measured burden share between two parties while still allowing tenants and landlords to agree to tailored, bespoke and appropriate temporary arrangements that consider personal circumstances.

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