March 30 - COVID-19 Update: Federal wage subsidy and new social distancing measures announced
Federal Government Announces $130 Billion Wage Subsidy
Today the Prime Minister announced a $130 billion wage subsidy. The JobKeeper Payment is a subsidy to businesses, which will keep more Australians in jobs through the course of the coronavirus outbreak.
The payment will be paid to employers, for up to six months, for each eligible employee that was on their books on 1 March 2020 and is retained or continues to be engaged by that employer.
Where a business has stood down employees since 1 March, the payment will help them maintain connection with their employees.
Employers will receive a payment of $1,500 per fortnight per eligible employee. Every eligible employee must receive at least $1,500 per fortnight from this business, before tax.
The program will commence today, 30 March 2020, with the first payments to be received by eligible businesses in the first week of May as monthly arrears from the Australian Taxation Office.
Eligible businesses can begin distributing the JobKeeper payment immediately and will be reimbursed from the first week of May.
Eligible employers will be those with annual turnover of less than $1 billion who self-assess that have a reduction in revenue of 30 per cent or more, since 1 March 2020 over a minimum one-month period.
Eligible employers include businesses structured through companies, partnerships, trusts and sole traders. Not for profit entities, including charities, will also be eligible.
Full time and part time employees, including stood down employees, would be eligible to receive the JobKeeper Payment. Where a casual employee has been with their employer for at least the previous 12 months they will also be eligible for the Payment. An employee will only be eligible to receive this payment from one employer.
Eligible employees include Australian residents, New Zealand citizens in Australia who hold a subclass 444 special category visa, and migrants who are eligible for JobSeeker Payment or Youth Allowance (Other).
Self-employed individuals are also eligible to receive the JobKeeper Payment.
Eligible businesses can apply for the payment online and are able to register their interest via ato.gov.au.
More information on this announcement can be found here.
New Social Distancing Measures Announced
After meeting last night, the National Cabinet has announced further measures to slow the spread of Coronavirus. These new measures include limiting both indoor and outdoor gatherings to two persons only. This does not apply to construction sites.
The ACT Chief Minster, Andrew Barr released a statement which summarises the ACT’s new restrictions which can be read here.
It is important to note that building and construction sites are still permitted to operate, however it’s vital that worksites continue to comply with the necessary social distancing and hygiene measures.
The continued operation of the industry is in your hands. Safe Work Australia have release a Fact Sheet targeted at minimising exposure to COVID-19 for the building and construction industry.
Clerks – Private Sector Award CHANGES
On 28 March 2020, the Fair Work Commission made amendments to the Clerks – Private Sector Award 2010 in response to the escalating COVID-19 crisis.
These amendments apply to all clerical and administrative employees covered by the Clerks – Private Sector Award 2010, and give extended flexibility to both employees and employers during this unprecedented crisis. The Commission noted that the amendments strike a balance between providing additional flexibility to employers, but also ensuring that employees are treated fairly.
You can read about the specific amendments here.
If you require further information, please contact our Industrial Relations and Legal Adviser on 02 6175 5900 or via email email@example.com.
Call for Round 2 ACT Stimulus Measures
Master Builders ACT has joined other industry associations to write to the ACT Chief Minister, Andrew Barr calling for:
- Immediately implement a Rate Relief Scheme which provides a cash rebate equal to six months of the rates paid by building owners in the last available assessment.
- Expansion of the six month waiver of payroll tax to all ACT businesses with Group Australia-wide wages of up to $10 million from March to September 2020.
- A 50% reduction in power and water bills from back-dated from 1 January to 30 September 2020;
- A six month waiver of land tax and stamp duty;
- A six month waiver of Lease Variation Charge for any project that can demonstrate it will commence construction within six months (as was adopted in 2014); and
- A Mr Fluffy building program, whereby the ACT Government engages local companies to design and build single houses (and dual occupancies where permitted) on vacant unsold Mr Fluffy blocks. This will serve as both an industry stimulus measure and aid to dispose of the currently unsold blocks.
To view the letter in full and see what other measures we are calling for, click here.
Letter from the Chief Minister to the ACT Infrastructure Sector
The ACT Government has today expressed their commitment to infrastructure investment during the COVID-19 Pandemic in a letter addressed to the ACT Infrastructure Sector.
The letter acknowledges the importance of the ACT Government’s infrastructure program for the community, for the wellbeing of those employed in the ACT infrastructure sector and their families, for the survival of local businesses and for the long-term economic recovery.
The letter also states that further targeted economic support, including tax relief and new infrastructure spending, will be provided by the Territory and Federal Governments in the coming weeks, months and years.
View the letter here.
We will continue to keep our members informed on COVID-19 related issues, if you would like to speak to the team at Master Builders ACT, please contact us on (02) 6175 5900 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.