There’s no sugar coating it. COVID-19 lockdowns can be tough on businesses. With lockdowns occurring throughout four states in recent weeks, many businesses are doing it tough.
Adapting takes time, money and energy. Caring for staff and clients becomes even more challenging. And keeping your head above water can take its toll on your mental health.
Today we are sharing some of the financial support and resources available for businesses affected by the pandemic and lockdowns. We hope this makes life a little easier for affected businesses and saves you trawling through pages of information.
Open to recipients of the JobKeeper payment between 4 January and 28 March 2021 and businesses that are operating in eligible local government areas (LGAs). Self‑employed individuals and non-profit businesses are also eligible. Participating lenders offer guaranteed loans of up to $5 million with a repayment holiday of up to 24 months.
A support payment for workers adversely affected by a state public health order. Some workers in NSW, QLD, VIC and SA may be eligible. Payments are delivered by the Federal Government through Services Australia.
There are detailed eligibility criteria including:
- Loss of income and no pandemic-related leave entitlements
- Living in or having visited a Commonwealth declared COVID-19 hotspot
- The person was unable to earn their usual income of eight hours or more.
Provides support if you can’t earn an income because you must self-isolate or quarantine, have a child who is a close contact or are caring for someone with COVID-19. This is a lump sum payment that covers the 14 day isolation period.
Eligibility varies from state to state but it is generally not available for people who have received income during this time or have leave entitlements available.
Sole trader support.
The Services Australia website recommends checking to see if you’re eligible for state or territory COVID-19 business support payment first. If not, you may be eligible for the COVID-19 Disaster Payment (see above).
Mental health support.
Beyond Blue has a dedicated service to provide support for mental wellbeing during the pandemic. It includes a phone support service (call 1800 512 348) and a 24/7 online chat service. There’s also an online forum where you can connect with others and share your experiences.
Phone and utility bills.
If you’re struggling to pay your bills on time, try contacting your provider. Many have financial hardship policies and may consider extending payment rates or offering a payment plan. It may also be worth exploring changing your plan to a cheaper plan, even for a short time.
Banks are offering a support package, available to all small businesses and home loan customers significantly impacted by current lockdowns or recovery from recent lockdowns, irrespective of location or industry.
Resources and support in New South Wales.
Businesses, sole traders and not-for-profit organisations impacted by restrictions may be eligible for a one-off grant of $7,500, $10,500 or $15,000.
The grant provides support for businesses that experienced reduced demand or had to close due to public health orders for the first 3 weeks of the greater Sydney lockdown (26 June to 17 July 2021). The grant can be used to cover business costs including wages, utilities, rent, marketing, financial advice and business or perishable goods. Applications close on 13 September.
JobSaver provides cash flow support to impacted businesses and not-for-profits to help maintain their NSW employee headcount. The payment will be equivalent to 40% of the weekly payroll for work performed in NSW up to $100,000 per week from 13 July 2021. Non-employing businesses, such as sole traders may be eligible for a payment of $1,000 per week.
Small businesses, sole traders or not-for-profit organisations with aggregated annual turnover between $30,000 and $75,000 may be eligible to apply for a fortnightly payment of $1,500 to cover business expenses during the greater Sydney lockdown. Eligible applicants can use the grant for business costs from 1 June 2021 if no other government support is available.
A qualified accountant, registered tax agent or registered BAS agent needs to apply for the above payments on behalf of your business. It is expected that some of these supports may become available to businesses in other locked down areas.
Sole traders, small businesses and not-for-profit organisations may be eligible for a small business fees and charges rebate of $1,500. Funds can be used to offset the costs of eligible NSW and local government fees and charges due and paid from 1 March 2021 including licensing, rates, local government fees, waste services, vehicle registration, business registration fees, food handling certificates and more. The rebate is available until 30 June 2022.
Resources and support in Victoria.
In Victoria, many of the programs that have been running throughout previous lockdowns have kicked into gear again with past recipients automatically receiving additional funds.
- Recipients of the Business Costs Assistance Program Round Two will receive an additional $2,800
- Some additional support is outlined below.
Provides $5,000 grants to businesses impacted by capacity limits due to restrictions. CBD businesses may be eligible for an additional $2,000.
Available for small and medium-sized businesses, where anyone suspected or confirmed to have COVID-19 has been on the premises or work site during their infectious period. Helps cover the cost of hiring professional cleaning services to conduct a ‘deep clean’ or ‘decontamination clean’. The rebate will cover up to 80% of the cleaning costs at each work site, capped at a grant of $10,000.
This scheme supports businesses that experience a decline in turnover of at least 30%. As of 28 July 2021, landlords will be required to provide proportional rent relief in line with a business’s reduction in turnover. An $80 million hardship fund has also been established to support landlords.
A free program providing mental health support for Victorians dealing with the challenges of running a small business during COVID-19. It includes a telephone hotline that operates seven days a week (phone 1300 375 330), access to financial counsellors and support from business advisors.
Resources and support in Queensland.
A new round of $5,000 Business Support Grants opens this month. Your business doesn’t have to be located in local government areas subject to lockdown restrictions but you must have experienced at least a 30% reduction in turnover as a result of recent lockdowns.
The grant process will be open for three months but demand is expected to be high so it’s best to get your application in early. The grants are open to small and medium businesses with a turnover of more than $75,000 per annum and annual payroll of up to $10 million.
COVID-19 cleaning rebate
Supports small and medium businesses and non-profit organisations listed as exposure sites by Queensland Health. The rebate helps cover professional cleaning expenses by providing a rebate of up to 80% of cleaning costs, capped at $10,000 (excluding GST) per incident, where a business is identified as a COVID-19 exposure site.
The QLD Government also has a Coronavirus business assistance finder that you can complete to see if you are eligible for any current grants.
Resources and support in South Australia.
For small and medium-sized businesses that suffer a significant loss of income or have been forced to close as a result of restrictions imposed from 20 July 2021. Grants of $3,000 for employing businesses and $1,000 for non-employing businesses are available if turnover has declined by 30% or more. Applications close 30 September 2021.
The State Government will provide a fully funded income support payment of up to $600 for eligible workers in regional SA, who live or work outside of the Commonwealth-declared ‘Hotspot’ local government areas. The $75,000 turnover test does not apply to this scheme and therefore many micro businesses will be eligible.
A number of payroll tax relief measures have been introduced including the exemption of all Commonwealth JobKeeper payments from payroll tax. A suite of other payroll tax relief has been introduced.
Resources and support in other states and territories.
Australian Capital Territory
Keep an eye on the ACT Government COVID-19 economic support for business page for any new support announced.
There are resources and support available to West Australian businesses via the State Government’s COVID-19 support for business page.
Take a look at the Business and Work – Coronavirus page for the latest resources and support.
Visit the COVID-19 Emergency Business Support, Grants and Loans page on the Tasmanian Government’s website for information and assistance.
Tax implications of grants and payments.
Unsure of how to record payments and grants received? Check out the Australian Tax Office information on what’s taxable and what to include in your tax return.
The Leap in! Crew is here to help.
With COVID-19 impacting many businesses, we understand that cash flow is more important than ever. Here at Leap in! we are working hard to get your invoices processed and paid as quickly as possible.
When you have clients who are Leap in! Members, you can access a unique link that can be used 24/7 to check the status of your invoices. You will have received an email from us with your unique link. Please get in touch if you need assistance.