COVID-19 INFORMATION FOR MEMBERS
COVID-19 SAFETY PLANS
WA Government COVID Safety Guidelines and Plans
National COVID-19 Coordination Commission: My business’s COVIDSafe plan
The ATO has now updated its website with additional information about the JobKeeper payment.
If you are interested in enrolling for the JobKeeper Payment:
- Register your interest and subscribe for JobKeeper payment updates.
- Check you and your employees meet the eligibility requirements.
- Continue to pay at least $1,500 to each eligible employee per JobKeeper fortnight (the first JobKeeper fortnight is the period from 30 March to 12 April). Ensure your payroll is right for the first fortnight ended 12 April.
- Notify your eligible employees that you are intending to claim the JobKeeper payment on their behalf and check they aren’t claiming JobKeeper payment through another employer. Send the JobKeeper employee nomination notice to your nominated employees to complete and return to you by the end of April if you plan to claim JobKeeper payment for April. Keep it on file and provide a copy to your registered tax agent if you are using one.
- From 20 April 2020, enrol with the ATO for the JobKeeper payment using the Business Portal and authenticate with myGovID. You must do this by the end of April to claim JobKeeper payments for April.
- In the online form, provide your bank details and indicate if you are claiming an entitlement based on business participation, for example if you are a sole trader.
- Specify the estimated number of employees who will be eligible for the first JobKeeper fortnight (30 March – 12 April) and the second JobKeeper fortnight (13 April – 26 April).
BDO have recommended that prior to 26 April you double check your pay run for the second fortnight ending 26 April and add any additional amounts to make up for the first fortnight, noting you can only do this for these first two fortnights – see details here.
Please note: You cannot claim the JobKeeper payment on behalf of employees who were not paid at least $1,500 before tax during each JobKeeper payment period and you cannot claim the JobKeeper payment in advance. The JobKeeper payment is a reimbursement from us to an employer in arrears, and cannot be paid in advance in any circumstances.
JOBKEEPER – CHANGES TO THE FAIR WORK ACT
On 9 April 2020, the Fair Work Act was amended to support the implementation and operation of the JobKeeper wage subsidy scheme (JobKeeper scheme) in Australian workplaces. These changes are temporary and will end on 28 September 2020.
The new provisions enable employers who qualify for the JobKeeper scheme, and who are entitled to JobKeeper payments for their employees, to give directions called ‘JobKeeper enabling directions’. In certain circumstances, this means that employers can temporarily:
- stand down an employee (including by reducing their hours or days of work)
- change an employee’s usual duties
- change an employee’s location of work
The new provisions also enable employers who qualify for the JobKeeper scheme, and who are entitled to JobKeeper payments for their employees, to make agreements with their employees to change their days and times of work and take annual leave in certain circumstances.
JOBKEEPER PAYMENT – FAQ
My business is a partnership. Can each partner receive a JobKeeper payment?
No. Only one partner can be nominated to receive a JobKeeper Payment along with any eligible employees, noting a partner cannot be an employee.
Can trusts receive the JobKeeper payment?
Trusts can receive the JobKeeper Payments for any eligible employees. Where beneficiaries of a trust only receive distributions, rather than being paid salary and wages for work done, one individual beneficiary (that is, not a corporate beneficiary) can be nominated to receive the JobKeeper Payment.
I am a company director that receives director fees. Am I eligible?
An eligible business can nominate only one director to receive the payment, as well as any eligible employees. Only one person in a director capacity may receive the payment and that individual may not receive the payment as an employee.
Do I have to put all of my employees on JobKeeper?
Under the provisions of the JobKeeper Payment, an employer that elects to participate in the JobKeeper scheme is required to include all of its eligible employees unless they have severed their employment relationship permanently.
Can I change my employees duties while they are on JobKeeper?
A qualifying employer can direct the eligible employee to perform any duties that are within their skill and competency so long as:
- the duties are safe (including having regard to the nature and spread of coronavirus)
- the employee has any required licenses and/or qualifications to perform the duties
- the duties are reasonably within the scope of the employer’s business operations
When an employee is subject to a JobKeeper enabling direction about location or duties, the employer must pay them either the JobKeeper payment or their usual pay for any hours that the employee works (whichever payment is higher). The employee’s hourly base pay rate cannot be reduced.
If a higher hourly base pay rate applies to the new duties an employee is performing, they must receive at least that higher pay rate while performing those duties.
Can I change my employees entitlements while they are on JobKeeper?
Any directions or agreements made under the new JobKeeper provisions can’t reduce minimum pay rates and other monetary entitlements under the Fair Work Act. Any terms and conditions not related to the direction or agreement (e.g. sick and carer’s leave) continue.
This means that:
- if an employer reduces an employee’s hours or days of work under a JobKeeper enabling stand down direction, the employee needs to be paid their usual base pay rate for the work they’re still performing
- if an employer changes an employee’s duties, the employer must pay the employee the higher of the base pay rate that applies to their previous duties, OR the base pay rate that applies to the new duties the employee is performing
Directions and agreements under the new provisions are temporary measures connected to the impacts of the coronavirus pandemic. This means that when the provisions end on 28 September 2020, any directions or agreements made under them will also end, and employees’ terms and conditions will revert back to what they were without the directions or agreements in place.
What are the next steps I should be taking?
Employsure has put together a practical ‘JobKeeper – Your Next Steps’ document which outlines timeframes, next steps and offers templates to help you through the process of applying for and administering the payment.
RENT RELIEF FOR SMALL BUSINESSES WHO LEASE GOVERNMENT LAND
Below is further information following the State Government’s announcement (on 30th March) that, effective immediately, rent payments for eligible Land Administration Act leases for tourism and other small business operations will be waived for six months.
Businesses that will benefit from this rent relief are those operating tourism and small business operations on a general crown land lease and pastoralists who have a diversification permit for running tourism on their land.
In order to enact this financial relief, the Department of Planning, Lands and Heritage requires a declaration for your business.
The declaration must outline how your small business or not-for-profit meets the small business or not-for-profit criteria as defined in the Small Business Development Corporation Act 1983.
Small businesses include those:
- owned and operated by an individual, partnership or proprietary company; and
- with a small market share; and
- that are not a subsidiary of a larger business.
Not-for-profits include all charities and associations as defined on the ATO website.
If you hold a Pastoral lease (with a diversification permit for tourism use) then you must confirm on the declaration that you have a diversification permit for pastoral based tourism, or if a Crown lessee that the permitted purpose is tourism and/or small business purposes.
For further information please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call (08) 6551 8002.
If you require assistance to determine if you are eligible, or to complete the declaration please contact Halga James, Legal Counsel, Caravan Industry Association WA on (08) 9358 5622 or email@example.com.
STATE GOVERNMENT ASSISTANCE FOR SMALL AND MEDIUM BUSINESS
Electricity bills for around 95,000 small businesses will be reduced, with a one-off $2,500 credit available for Synergy and Horizon Power customers that consume less than 50 megawatt hours (MWh) per annum. The credit is available for current customers (as of March 31, 2020) and will be allocated from May 1, 2020 to reduce current and future electricity bills. The measure will provide some $236.8 million in relief to businesses such as cafes, delis, restaurants, beauticians and small retail stores that have been heavily impacted by recent trading restrictions to contain COVID-19.
Payroll tax will be waived for a four-month period between March 1, 2020 to June 30, 2020 for small-to-medium sized businesses with Australia-wide annual wages of less than $7.5 million in 2019-20. This will deliver around $165 million in relief to around 10,700 businesses that will not be required to pay payroll tax for this period. The payroll tax waiver announced today replaces the payroll tax deferral already announced for particular small-to-medium sized businesses.
$100.4 million has been allocated to waive a wide range of licence fees for small and medium‑sized businesses in COVID-19 impacted industries for the next 12 months. This includes licences for building services, plumbers and electricians; tourism businesses operating in national and marine parks; boat registration and mooring fees for tourism operators and commercial fishers; commercial fisheries licences; taxi booking service authorisation fees; settlement agent licence fees; and other statutory planning fees. Liquor licence renewal fees for 2020 will be waived and refunds provided for businesses that have already paid, benefitting around 5,500 businesses with a liquor licence.
Businesses impacted by COVID-19 can also apply for an interest-free payment arrangement and for late payment penalties to be waived for payroll tax, transfer duty, landholder duty, vehicle licence duty or land tax.
Power and Water
No small businesses facing financial difficulty due to COVID-19 will face power or water disconnections due to late payments. In addition, no interest will be charged on deferred bill payments. For electricity, this will apply to Synergy and Horizon Power customers who consume 50MWh or less.
UPDATE ON THE TOILET TAX – INFORMATION FOR PARK OPERATORS
CIAWA have written to the Premier and Minister for Water seeking removal of the “toilet tax” to assist caravan parks who are dealing with the impacts of COVIOD-19. More recently we have been in discussions with Vince Catania from the The Nationals WA who has been very sympathetic to the plight of caravan parks and other accommodation providers.
We are pleased to announce that today (20th April 2020), The Nationals WA have called on the State Government to immediately remove the Water Corporation service fee paid by businesses with multiple major sewerage fixtures – such as toilets or urinals – within a property.
Leader Mia Davies said the ‘toilet tax’ required regional caravan parks, hotels, motels, restaurants and cafes to pay significant fees to Water Corporation every month when most of these businesses were closed or operating in a limited capacity.
“These businesses continue to be charged for each toilet fixture despite these utilities being unused, there’s not a toilet being flushed,” Ms Davies said.
“The impact is compounded in many regional areas where businesses are also paying significantly higher prices per kilolitre for water use.”
In Parliament today Ms Davies asked if the Government would remove the service charge for the duration of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The Treasurer said that work was currently being done by Government but would not guarantee when or how it might be introduced,” she said.
“The Water Corporation has a very healthy balance sheet and returned $545 million to the State coffers last financial year so they should be directed to cease this charge immediately to relieve the pressure on businesses already stretched to the limit.”
Water Corporation’s service charge is based on the number of major sewerage fixtures, including toilets or urinals, within a property.
The Nationals small business spokesperson Vince Catania said regional businesses and tourism operators had been raising concerns about the ‘toilet tax’ for some time and said the situation had become urgent since COVID-19 restrictions came into effect.
“Continuing to charge the service fee is unconscionable in these difficult times and Government needs to move fast to remove any unnecessary fees and charges,” he said.
“The State Government needs to intervene and alleviate the financial pressure struggling businesses are already facing. This is particularly relevant to businesses that rely on seasonal visitation to drive revenue but will miss out due to travel restrictions and forced closures.
“Right across the State there are hotels, motels, caravan parks, cafes and restaurants with no guests, no income and no sign of relief.
“It’s time for the State Government to flush the toilet tax and support regional economies battling this crisis.”
REGIONAL TRAVEL BANS – INFORMATION FOR PARK OPERATORS
We have put together a series of questions relating to these travel bans. If you require further advise, please contact our office on 9358 5622 and request to speak with Halga James, Legal Counsel.
Can I accept a traveller to stay at my park who has no fixed address?
Yes you can. Provided the traveller does not have a fixed address in WA, you can accept a traveller.
Is it okay for a traveller with no fixed address to move on into another region?
No. The prohibition of travelling between regions applies to everyone in WA. Travellers with no fixed address should be encouraged to stay in one place unless they have no choice but to move. Unless they have a valid reason, they must not move from one region to another region.
Can I accept a traveller who is travelling to get home to their fixed address?
Yes this would be reasonable, but only for one night.
Can I accept a traveller that has a fixed address but lives in the same region?
Whilst this is not banned under the probation on travel between regions it is inconsistent with the advice of the Federal Government and State Government to stay at home. For this reason we encourage you not to accept these travellers.
Travel exemptions will apply in circumstances including employment purposes; medical or veterinary reasons; delivery of essential services including health or emergency services; people living across regional boundaries, who may not have access to groceries or supplies immediately within their region; transport of goods; compassionate grounds; a family member has primary care responsibilities; for school, TAFE or tertiary study reasons; to escape domestic violence or due to an emergency.
Can I accept any of these travellers?
Yes. If a traveller is in the region for one of these purposes then it is reasonable for a caravan park to allow them to stay, but only for as long as is necessary in the circumstances. We would strongly encourage caravan park owners to obtain clear information and documentation from travellers about their reason for being in the region if they do not live in the region.
Why Do We Need a Guest Declaration?
CIAWA is encouraging all parks to get anyone new coming into their park to sign a guest declaration.
This form will allow you to determine why the guest wishes to stay and if they are ineligible, it provides you with information about the likelihood they have come into contact with COVID-19 or are supposed to be in self-isolation/quarantine and allows you to collect information about their travels for the purpose of contact tracing.
Download Guest Declaration Form COVID-19
REGIONAL TRAVEL BANS – TRAVEL LETTER FOR STAFF
If you need to provide an employee a travel letter, please see example from Chamber of Commerce and Industry WA below.
UNPAID PANDEMIC LEAVE AND ANNUAL LEAVE FLEXIBILITIES NOW AVAILABLE
An entitlement to two weeks’ unpaid pandemic leave has been introduced for private sector state system employees. New flexibility provisions enabling employers and employees to agree to an employee taking twice as much annual leave at half pay or to agree for the employee to take annual leave in advance have also been implemented.
These new provisions are effective from 14 April 2020.
The new provisions were implemented through the COVID-19 General Order issued by the Western Australian Industrial Relations Commission to assist private sector employers and employees address the impacts of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic on their workplaces.
The COVID-19 General Order applies to private sector award free employees and private sector employees covered by WA awards or registered industrial agreements.
ADVICE AND INFORMATION ON HAND FOR SMALL BUSINESSES
The Small Business Development Corporation (SBDC) is providing practical information and guidance to help small businesses in the WA tourism industry during the coronavirus pandemic. Owners can get information by:
- Visiting the dedicated SBDC website page and following the blog for regular updates;
- Calling 133 140 or emailing to get confidential advice from an experienced business adviser;
- Joining the Facebook group ‘I’m a small business owner in Western Australia’ to access support and advice from more than 8,000 local small business owners;
- Registering for a free webinar covering key business topics to cope with disruption;
- Accessing regional WA support through the SBDC’s Business Local service.
CHAMBER OF COMMERCE AND INDUSTRY WA
As a member of the Caravan Industry Association of WA, you also have membership to the Chamber of Commerce and Industry WA. They have developed a website named ‘Responding to COVID-19’ which offers businesses practical advice and assistance for businesses.
SAFE WORK AUSTRALIA RESOURCES TO SUPPORT BUSINESS
Safe Work Australia has released a range of resources to support your business including FAQs, guides and printable material for workplaces, including checklists, infographics, fact sheets for industry and posters on handwashing, hygiene and physical distancing.
- Preparing workplaces for COVID-19
- Preparing workers for COVID-19
- What to do if a worker has COVID-19
- Business Resource Kit and Checklist COVID -19
SIMPLIFIED WORKING FROM HOME DEDUCTIONS
The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) has announced special arrangements this year due to COVID-19 to make it easier for people to claim deductions for working from home. The new arrangement will allow people to claim a rate of 80 cents per hour for all their running expenses, rather than needing to calculate costs for specific running expenses. Multiple people living in the same house can claim this new rate. For example, a couple living together could each individually claim the 80 cents per hour rate. The requirement to have a dedicated work from home area has also been removed.
A message from CommBank:
As the coronavirus continues to affect the economy, we know many businesses are facing unprecedented and extraordinary pressures.
We’re doing our very best to support businesses and acknowledge it’s a rapidly changing environment.We’re working around the clock to ensure we have dedicated teams to help you through this and to respond to your queries.
Our Commbank website is being regularly updated to keep all of our customers up to date with the latest information regarding our assistance packages and how we can help you.
We’re supporting our business customers and community groups
As new measures are introduced to support all Australians, we have developed a Financial support guide. We regularly update this guide to make it easy for customers to find out what options are available.
We encourage any customer that needs help to contact us. If you have a question or need to access support please speak to your Commonwealth Bank Relationship Manager. Otherwise, you can contact our dedicated Business Financial Assistance team on 13 26 07, who are available 24/7.
For all information on support that we can provide to your business during these uncertain times, please visit commbank.com.au/coronavirus.
BUSINESS RELIEF PACKAGE – BANKS
If your business has been adversely impacted by COVID-19 your bank will allow you to defer principal and interest repayments for all loans attached to the business for a period of six months.
The Australian Banking Association advises that while you won’t make any principal or interest payments for the six months, interest will continue to be accrued, it can then be paid off over the life of the loan once repayments begin again, or the length of the loan can be extended.
RELIEF FROM TELSTRA AND OPTUS
Both Telstra and Optus have made a commitment to support those facing hardship as a result of COVID-19.
The offer from each of these organisations varies slightly however if you have an account with either company it would be worth getting in touch to see what they can do for you:
As with all of your suppliers, we strongly recommend that if your business is suffering financial hardship you contact these businesses to see what support or assistance they can provide you with.
MAINTAINING YOUR GUEST LAUNDRY DURING COVID-19
Our friends at Dependable Laundry Solutions have put together a guide on managing your guest laundry during COVID-19, both maintaining a laundry open for essential use and hibernating your equipment if you close your laundry.
All of their suggestions will work for any brand of commercial washers and dryers.
CARAVAN INDUSTRY ASSOCIATION OF AUSTRALIA
Caravan Industry Association of Australia continues to engage with the Federal government to ensure industry is represented at a national level. We are monitoring this situation closely and will continue to provide updated resources and information as required.
They have formulated a website page which provides members with a range of information.
ATEC ROAD TO RECOVERY TUTORIAL SERIES
The Australian Tourism Export Council (ATEC) has developed a Road to Recovery tourism tutorial series – a 12-week program designed to provide the tourism industry with the necessary tools to bounce back after the impacts of COVID-19. The tutorial series will cover a range of topics, including tools to adapt and innovate, marketing in a digital world, and improving commercial relationships. The 45-minute Road to Recovery tourism tutorials are free of charge and will be hosted every Thursday at 12 noon (WST).
MENTAL HEALTH AND WELLNESS
These are hard times for everyone. In addition to the business and economic support services, there are also a range of support services for your health and wellbeing. We encourage you, your families and employees to reach out these services for support.
- Lifeline on 13 11 14
- beyondblue on 1300 224 636
- MensLine Australia on 1300 789 978
- Suicide Call Back Service on 1300 659 467
- Kids Helpline on 1800 551 800
- Headspace on 1800 650 890
- QLife on 1800 184 527