Suntax COVID-19 Information
We hope you are well and are managing to work through what we can only call a challenging time for all.
Here at Suntax we are conscious of the concern in our community from a health perspective as well as the very real concerns within our business community.
Please be aware the full Suntax Team will continue to be available to provide support and help regardless of what happens with the COVID-19 Virus. We have implemented technology that allows everyone to work from any location and will be available via both phone and/or video appointments.
With the unprecedented amount of information that has been issued in relation to COVID-19 we understand that it can be difficult to identify what is and is not relevant to us as business owners.
Therefore we have attempted to filter the information and provide a summary below for you. Please take the time to read it and if you require any further clarification do not hesitate to get in touch.
We would like to start on an extremely positive note for small businesses. Today the Australian Banking Association has announced that they will defer loan repayments for up to 6 months for small businesses that have been impacted by the COVID-19 Virus. This will have enormous positive impacts for most of our business clients. Kudos needs to go out to the Australian Banking Sector.
More information can be found here: Small Business Loan Deferral
What Are Your Responsibilities as An Employer In Relation To COVID-19?
At this stage if you are unable to provide work for your Casual Employees their hours can be reduced or stopped depending on the business requirements. For Full Time and Part Time Employees there are different rules and regulations depending on the situation:
Employees with the COVID-19 Virus
- If a part time or full time employee is sick or contracts the COVID-19 virus they MUST be paid sick leave up to their entitlement allowance
Business Mandated Shutdown (As A Precaution)
- If a Business decides to shutdown as a precaution and staff CAN work from home then it is business as usual and staff are paid as usual.
- If staff CANNOT work from home because the employee cannot be usefully employed then the business is required to continue paying their staff.
- Note: While technically an employer cannot enforce an employee to take annual leave during this time, you may be able to negotiate this with the employee. If you do so, it must be documented and signed off by both parties.
Government Mandated Shutdown
- If the Government mandates a shutdown and your employees are not allowed to attend work, things are different.
- If staff CAN work from home then it is business as usual and staff are paid as usual.
- If staff CANNOT work from home because the employee cannot be usefully employed then the options are:
a. You could use Section 594 of the Fair Work Act 209 to Stand Down employees.
This means that employees are NOT fired but they are told to stop work. Employees are NOT paid during the period they are not working. Employees restart work when business resumes and they start being paid again from that point
b. You could make employees redundant.
This will not be an option for most businesses as they will not be able to afford redundancy packages at this time
Our best suggestion would be to consult with the relevant Fair Work guidelines
Note. A Redundancy is a CESSATION of employment with the business.
c. You could arrange with employees to draw down on their annual leave
This will need to be negotiated with staff and staff are not required to accept this
However, if the employee does not accept this, most businesses will have no option other than to stand the employee down with no pay
We believe where possible, paying annual leave for an employee will be the best option for the continuity of the business.
We advise business owners to seek legal advice before instigating any of these steps.
What is The Australian Tax Office (ATO) Doing To Help?
The ATO are providing an option to defer your payment date for 4 months from the original due date. This applies to Income Tax payments and BAS (GST, PAYG I & PAYG W) payments. Zero Interest will be charged on these deferred payments.
This deferral does not happen automatically and must be requested directly with the ATO. Again, this is a great initiative that will help small businesses.
What is Available to Your Business Under The Federal Government Stimulus Package?
The Federal Government announced a Stimulus Package on the 12th of March to assist in Cashflow for businesses.
Businesses can receive a payment from $2,000, up to $25,000, tax free. This payment will be the equivalent of 50% of a business’s PAYG Withheld from employees salary. The payments will be distributed as a credit from April the 28th 2020 after the March 2020 BAS has been lodged.
For businesses who employ Apprentices and Trainees, employers can apply for a 50% wage subsidy with a maximum value per apprentice of $21,000 or $7,000 per quarter. To receive this, businesses must employ more than 20 full time staff and the apprentice must have been working as of the 1st of March 2020.
This subsidy will relate to any wages paid during 1st of January 2020 to the 30th of September 2020. Business will be able to register for this stimulus from early April 2020 by contacting the Australian Apprenticeship Support Network.
On behalf of the team at Suntax, please know that we will continue to offer our support to you, your families and your businesses as much as we can. We understand that it is at times like these that we need to take care of each other and our communities so please reach out to us if we can help in any way. Stay health and safe.
The Suntax Team