Weekly Digest – 5 August 2020

Welcome back to our Weekly Digest. We hope you and your family are safe and doing well. Read on for this week’s update.

Support for Victorian businesses

As you have probably heard, the Victorian Government has announced updated restrictions for Melbourne and regional Victoria to help slow the spread of COVID-19.

  • Stage 4 restrictions started from 6pm on Sunday 2 August for metropolitan Melbourne.
  • Stage 3 restrictions are in place from 11:59pm on Wednesday 5 August for Regional Victoria, including Mitchell Shire.

These restrictions mean that many businesses will have to close or limit their operations.

To support businesses impacted by these restrictions, one-off grants are available to eligible businesses under the Business Support Fund. These include:

  • $10,000 for employing businesses in metropolitan Melbourne and Mitchell Shire in recognition of longer time under restrictions
  • $5,000 for employing businesses in regional local government areas (except Mitchell Shire)

Businesses who have already received a Business Support Fund – Expansion grant, or have applied for one, do not need to re-apply. Eligible applicants will automatically receive this additional allocation.

You can find more details here or contact us if you have any questions.

Eligibility for Victoria’s COVID-19 Leave Payment

If you are required to self-isolate in Victoria, but don’t have any sick leave entitlement to support yourself, you will be eligible for a $1,500 payment from the federal government.

This new disaster payment was launched to remove the financial pressure of staying at home and encourage people not to break isolation rules. From Wednesday, workers in Victoria with no sick leave can apply for this disaster payment.

According to Social Services Minister Anne Ruston, the following are the requirements to be eligible: you must be 17 or older, live and work in Victoria, be required to self-isolate (or be the primary carer of someone under 16 who needs to self-isolate), have been likely to work during the 14 day period, have exhausted any sick leave or pandemic leave entitlements your employer provides to be eligible.

QLD closed to NSW, VIC and ACT

This week the Queensland Premier announced the state is closed to travelers from NSW, ACT and VIC in an effort to hold back a second wave of the coronavirus.

An increase in cases in Melbourne has forced the state of Victoria to implement a curfew, tighten social restrictions, and shut down non-essential businesses. The government declared a COVID-19 disaster in Melbourne on Sunday.

Meanwhile, other states are imposing new restrictions of their own to prevent the spread from Victoria.

As Victoria and New South Wales battle second waves of the coronavirus, it is clear that staying home is best, if possible. If you do need to travel, you can use this guide to see each state’s restrictions on travel.

TPAR Reports Lodgement

A reminder that your TPAR (Taxable Payments Annual Report) is due on the 28th August 2020. The TPAR needs to be lodged for businesses in the following industries:

  • Building and construction,
  • Cleaning services,
  • Courier services,
  • Road freight services,
  • Information technology services,
  • Security, Investigation or surveillance and/or
  • mixed services (one or more of the services listed).

If you have questions regarding your TPAR report, feel free to get in touch with us.

Early Superannuation Access Extended

The Federal Government has extended the deadline for cash-strapped Australians to dip into their super and make ends meet. The early access superannuation scheme has been extended until 31 December.

The original scheme to allow cash to be drawn out of retirement funds permitted $10,000 before 1 July and a further $10,000 after that. Since April, 800,000 Aussies have made repeat transactions of up to $10,000 each.

Although Australians can always access super funds in cases of financial trouble, the pandemic has forced the government to relax eligibility policies.

We are more than happy to chat to you about this so you can consider all your options before making this leap.

JobKeeper Changes Coming in September

There has been an announcement that the JobKeeper wage subsidy scheme will be extended from September through to March next year, with some changes.

Please be aware there are still plenty of “unknowns” surrounding the next steps but we will update you as we get more details.

JobKeeper 2.0

The next phase of JobKeeper will start at the end of September at a reduced rate of $1200 per fortnight for full-time workers and those working for more than 20 hours per week, from $1500 per fortnight previously. Those working for less than 20 hours a week will receive $750 per fortnight.

JobKeeper 3.0

From 4th January 2021 the payments will further decrease to $1000 per fortnight for full-time workers, and to $650 per fortnight for those working less than 20 hours per week.

There are also eligibility tests and requirements. Contact us for all the details.

The government has announced last night it will be easier to access Jobkeeper 2.0 and 3.0, we are awaiting more detail.

Government-backed COVID-19 Loans Extended

The government is extending its small business COVID-19 loans scheme until June 2021. The second phase will kick off on October 1 with the following changes:

  • Loans will be provided for purposes other than working capital;
  • Secured loans (i.e. where collateral is presented) will be permitted in addition to unsecured loans;
  • The maximum loan size will increase four-fold to $1 million, up from $250,000 per borrower;
  • The maximum loan term will increase to five years, up from three years; and
  • Lenders will have additional discretion to offer repayment holidays.

If you need help to assess if you are eligible and apply for these loans, do not hesitate to get in touch with us at Cadenze.

Superannuation Amnesty for Employers

The amnesty allows employers to disclose and pay previously unpaid super guarantee charge (SGC), including nominal interest they owe their employees, for quarter(s) starting from 1 July 1992 to 31 March 2018.

Other benefits, if you are not up to date, include:-

  1. Eligible disclosures will not incur the administration component ($20 per employee per quarter) or Part 7 penalty.
  2. In addition, payments of SGC made to the ATO after 24 May 2018 and before 11.59 pm on 7 September 2020 will be tax deductible.

Employers who come forward from 6 March 2020 need to apply for the amnesty by 7 September 2020.

The ATO will continue to conduct reviews and audits to identify employers not paying their employees SGC. If the ATO identifies these employers before they come forward, they will not be eligible for the benefits of the amnesty. They will also be required to pay:

  • SGC shortfall
  • nominal interest (10%)
  • administration component ($20 per employee per quarter)
  • Part 7 penalty (up to 200% of the SGC).

In addition, payments of the SGC will not be tax deductible.

Paying super is an important part of being an employer. If you are not eligible for the amnesty, or you have unpaid super for quarters that are not eligible, you must still lodge an SGC statement.

Should you have any questions or concerns regarding any aspect of SGC or the Amnesty, please give us a call to discuss.

How to Manage an Under-performer Remotely

Although many businesses are re-opening and some people are returning to the office, the work from home setup will persist. As a business leader, you will be faced with new challenges such as managing an under-performer in your remote team. This Harvard Business Review article shares some tips on how to handle this situation effectively so your operations won’t be affected such as:

Revisit your expectations: Review your recent directives and check if you have communicated your expectations clearly and consistently from the beginning. Also, identify where the under-performer’s difficulties come from.

Learn more about them: Know their goals and what they care about. Learn about their remote set-up, schedule, and home obligations so you can adjust your management approach to match their needs.

Level with them and be specific: Provide feedback to give them an opportunity to actively make some changes in their practices that are not working.

Help them learn how to improve their own performance:  You can avoid micromanaging by using questions so they can self-assess, modify what needs to be improved, and project into their own future.

Stay in close enough contact:  Stay in touch regularly and keep them in the loop. If you feel like you’re not getting a good read on your team member’s state of mind because you communicate mostly via email or chat messages, plan some of your interactions by phone and listen intently. The tone of their voice will give you more clues about what needs intervention.

If you need more techniques to strengthen your relationship with your team, improve performance, and consequently boost your business results, feel free to get in touch with us.

State grants and support programs

Along with national assistance, each state and territory has announced various grants and assistance packages which you may be eligible for. You can find a roundup of these grants on the Government’s Business website. Alternatively, you can also contact us so we can discuss which options are most suitable for your business based on your eligibility.

Get in touch

Contact us if you have any questions or want to discuss the next steps for your business.