Welcome to our October 2021 special edition of the StewartBrown newsletter. Some important announcements have recently been made concerning the COVID-19 support payments and these are summarised for you below.
PHASING OUT OF JOBSAVER & MICRO-BUSINESS GRANT
New applications for the JobSaver payment & the Micro Business Grant will close on 18 October 2021.
The NSW Government has announced the phasing out of the JobSaver payment and Micro-business Grant as vaccination rates in NSW reach the 70% and 80% targets allowing government restrictions to be eased. These changes are set out below.
At 70% Double Vaccination Rate (16 years and older):
- Payments will reduce from 40% to 30% of weekly payroll
- Minimum weekly payment will be $1,125
- Maximum weekly payment will be $75,000, and
- Weekly non-employing business payment amount will reduce to $750
- No changes
On 30 November:
Both JobSaver and the Micro-business grant programs will end. These payments will continue to be paid on a fortnightly cycle until 30 November. Reconfirming your eligibility will be required until the end of the program (see further details below).
JOBSAVER FOR NOT-FOR-PROFIT ENTERPRISES
After more than a month of waiting the guidelines were announced last week for changes to the eligibility rules for certain Not-For-Profit (“NFP”) organisations. The JobSaver program has now been extended to charitable NFP organisations that have experienced a turnover decline of at least 15% and less than 30% as a result of the public health orders.
NFPs are eligible for this program if they are charitable and their primary purpose, under Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission classifications, is to:
- advance social or public welfare (including disability and health social support services), or
- prevent or relieve the suffering of animals (for example, animal welfare organisations)
Whilst a lot of the eligibility requirements are the same as for the existing standard (30% decline) JobSaver payment, there are some subtle differences and so we would encourage you to discuss these new guidelines with your StewartBrown Manager or Partner should you need assistance with these new measures.
COVID BUSINESS ASSISTANCE - ONGOING ELIGIBILITY TESTING
If you’re receiving the JobSaver payment or the Micro-business Grant, you’ll need to reconfirm your eligibility each fortnight to continue receiving payments. Service NSW will send you fortnightly reminders via email. Each fortnight Service NSW will ask you to confirm that you:
- have continued to experience a decline in turnover of 30% or more, compared to:
- the same period in 2019, or
- the same period in 2020, or
- o the 2-week period immediately before any NSW restrictions – 12 June to 25 June 2021 (inclusive)
- are maintaining your employee headcount stated in your application.
How to choose a comparison period
You will need to use one of the following three options to compare your decline in turnover with the current eligibility period. As an example, the eligibility period shown here is 13 September to 26 September 2021. You must use the same option each time you confirm your eligibility for future payments.
Note: If your business is closed during the 2-week eligibility period and cannot trade because of the public health order then you do not need to use any of these options.
Option 1: Same year, corresponding fortnight
If your initial comparison period (in your original application) was in 2019 or 2020, you must use the same year when you confirm your eligibility. Use the fortnight from that year that corresponds to the current eligibility period. For example:
- In your JobSaver or Micro-business Grant application, you compared 26 July to 8 August 2019 with 26 July to 8 August 2021
- To confirm your eligibility, you now compare 13 September to 26 September 2019 with 13 September to 26 September 2021
Option 2: Same year, same comparison fortnight
If your initial comparison period was in 2019 or 2020, you must still use the same year when you confirm your eligibility. However, using a corresponding fortnight (Option 1) may not show a decline in turnover. Reasons for this can include your business being affected by bushfires, floods, illness or other factors at that time. If this is the case, you can use the same comparison fortnight you used in your application. For example:
- In your original application, you compared 26 July to 8 August 2019 with 26 July to 8 August 2021
- To confirm your eligibility, compare 26 July to 8 August 2019 with 13 September to 26 September 2021
Option 3: 12 June to 25 June 2021 as comparison period
If 12 June to 25 June 2021 was your initial comparison period, you must use this same period when you confirm your eligibility. For example:
- In your original application, you compared 12 June to 25 June 2021 with 26 July to 8 August 2021
- To confirm your eligibility, you must compare 12 June to 25 June 2021 with 13 September to 26 September 2021
COVID-19 DISASTER PAYMENT TO BE PHASED OUT
The Federal Government has officially announced its plan to transition away from the COVID-19 Disaster Payment as States reach their vaccination targets. The changes are as follows:
70% Vaccination Rate (16 years and older)
The payment will cease to automatically renew. Individuals must reapply each week to confirm their eligibility. Payment amounts remain the same.
80% Vaccination Rate (16 years and older)
The payment will step down over two weeks from the first week after the target is reached.
Flat payment of $450 for those who have lost more than 8 hours of work. The supplement for those on income support decreases to $100 from $200 currently.
Flat payment of $320 (same as JobSeeker) for those who have lost more than 8 hours of work. The supplement for those on income support is removed. After the two-week phase out, individuals will need to look at other social security payments if necessary.
Click here to download a PDF copy of the October 2021 StewartBrown Newsletter.
If you have any queries regarding this report or on any of our audit and assurance or consulting services, please do not hesitate to contact our office on (02) 9412 3033 or call 0429 680 785.