Government Financial Assistance

Changes

Both the Victorian Government and Federal Government have announced changes to existing financial support being offered.

BUSINESS SUPPORT – VICTORIAN GOVERNMENT

On 3 August 2020, and as a result of the further lockdown restrictions, the Victorian Government announced revisions to the Business Support Fund – Expansion Program.

Whereas the Victorian Government had previously announced in July 2020 a $5,000 grant was available to eligible businesses located in Metropolitan Melbourne and Mitchell Shire as a result of Stage 3 lockdown, the revised Business Support Fund – Expansion Program announced on 3 August 2020 has increased the amount of the grant available under the program to $10,000 for eligible businesses located in Metropolitan Melbourne and Mitchell Shire, and has now introduced a grant of $5,000 for eligible businesses located outside of Metropolitan Melbourne and Mitchell Shire that will be moving to Stage 3 lockdown.

Eligible businesses located in Metropolitan Melbourne and Mitchell Shire that have already applied for the $5,000 grant under the Business Support Fund – Expansion Program will automatically get the increased amount and do not have to apply. All other businesses will need to make an application for the grant.

Pursuant to the Business Victoria website, the conditions that a business needs to satisfy in order to apply for the Business Support Fund – Expansion Program are as follows:

  • The business must be located in Metropolitan Melbourne or regional Victoria.
  • The business must be a participant in the JobKeeper Payment scheme.
  • The business must have employees.
  • The business must be registered with WorkSafe on 30 June 2020.
  • The business must have an annual payroll of less than $3 million in 2019-20 on an ungrouped basis.
  • The business must be registered for Goods and Services Tax (GST) as at 30 June 2020.
  • The business must hold an Australian Business Number (ABN) and have held that ABN at 30 June 2020.

Part of the application process includes submitting the following:

  • a copy of proof of the business address eg utility bill, council rates notice, lease agreement.
  • the most recent JobKeeper Business Monthly Declaration Receipt ID or Enrolment ID generated from the Australian Taxation Office Business Portal.
  • The business Workcover Employer Number (WEN).

Applications for the program has been extended until 14 September 2020.

The Application process can be accessed by clicking on this link:

https://www.business.vic.gov.au/support-for-your-business/grants-and-assistance/business-support-package/business-support-fund

JOBKEEPER EXTENSION – FEDERAL GOVERNMENT

JobKeeper has been extended 6 months from 27 September 2020 to 28 March 2021.

In an earlier email we outlined the changes to the rate of JobKeeper that businesses will be entitled to. These have not changed. However, a step which businesses will need to do in the future is to break down the number of employees between those who:

  • work 20 hours or more a week on average in the four weeks of pay periods before either 1 March 2020 or 1 July 2020, and for eligible business participants who were actively engaged in the business for 20 hours or more per week on average; and
  • those employees who are employed for less than 20 hours per week.

What has changed is the turnover test to be eligible for the extension of JobKeeper. Businesses will need to assess their GST turnover for 2 separate periods to be eligible for the 6-month extension. It may be possible that businesses will only qualify for 3 months instead of the 6 months extension. The rules to be eligible for JobKeeper extension are as follows:

  • To qualify for JobKeeper payments for the December 2020 quarter (28 September 2020 to 3 January 2021), businesses will need to assess their actual turnovers for only one quarter of GST reporting, being the September 2020 quarter. If the business turnover for the September 2020 quarter has fallen by at least 30% compared to the September 2019 quarter.
  • To qualify for JobKeeper payments for the March 2021 quarter (4 January 2021 to 28 March 2021), businesses will need to assess their actual GST turnovers December 2020 quarter to determine whether their turnover for this quarter has fallen by at least 30% compared to the December 2019 quarter.

An important change in the rules has also occurred in the definition of who qualifies as an employee. Employees that commenced employment prior to 1 July 2020 are now eligible (i.e. rather than the 1 March 2020 date that the original JobKeeper program had). This will mean that JobKeeper payments may become available for employees of the business that did not previously qualify for the original JobKeeper program.

Employees are eligible in the extension period if they:

  • are currently employed by an eligible employer (including if you were stood down or rehired)
  • were for the eligible employer (or another entity in their wholly-owned group) either:
    • a full-time, part-time or fixed-term employee at 1 July 2020; or
    • a long-term casual employee (employed on a regular and systematic basis for at least 12 months) as at 1 July 2020 and not a permanent employee of any other employer.
  • were aged 18 years or older at 1 July 2020 (if you were 16 or 17 you can also qualify if you are independent or not undertaking full time study).
  • were either:
    • an Australian resident (within the meaning of the Social Security Act 1991); or
    • an Australian resident for the purpose of the Income Tax Assessment Act 1936 and the holder of a Subclass 444 (Special Category) visa as at 1 March 2020.
  • were not in receipt of any of these payments during the JobKeeper fortnight:
    • government parental leave or Dad and partner pay under the Paid Parental Leave Act 2010; or
    • a payment in accordance with Australian worker compensation law for an individual's total incapacity for work.