Posted and relevant as at 10:00am 30th March 2020
Q1: If I shut down my business can my staff access payment through Centrelink?
A1: Yes. There are 2 elements to the benefits. The first one is what we know as “the dole’ which is about $550 per fortnight, that’s available to anyone who has lost their job (stood down) as a result of lack of work due to the economic downturn of in business in the salon.
Then about a week ago there’s been an additional payment known as the COVID-19 supplement added of $550/per fortnight – so making the total possible benefits, $1,100 / fortnight or $550 per week.
To be eligible to both these payments ($1,100.00 per fortnight) depends on your particular circumstances of you and your family’s income. So, we are unable to give you a specific individual answer. What you need to do is go onto Centrelink website and get a Centrelink number and that will allow you to get the specific information for you and what you can receive.
Q2: What about if I’m a sole trader?
A2: Sole traders can also look to access these same benefits. You go through the same process of getting a Centrelink number and then getting specific information for you.
Q3: Do I have to wait until the Government shuts down my business before my staff can access payment benefits?
A3: No, they don’t. If you stand down your staff, they can apply to access the benefits (as explained in A1.)
Q 4: What’s the difference between “standing down staff “and “terminating staff”?
A4: There’s a big difference. By standing down your staff, you’re saying to your employee – “I still want you as my employee, but we need to put your employment “on hold” because we don’t have enough business to employ you. But I’m hoping your employment will resume when we get through this once we get through this crisis.”
However, terminating an employee is totally different because you’re stopping their employment for good. If you do that, then you must immediately pay them any benefits they have accrued such as annual leave. So, it’s better not to terminate them. Instead, stand them down – and they can then apply to get unemployment benefits as explained above.
Q5: How do I go about “Standing down staff”
A5: First you have a conversation with them and explain the situation and let them know that you’re going to have to stand them down. Then you provide them with a letter to confirm your decision. You can send the letter to them in an email and it can be very simple. Please find a template for you to use here.
You must include the following 3 things in the letter:
– That you are notifying them they are being stood down
– Explain that the reason they are being stood down is because of the downturn in the business (add if possible, the % of downturn in the business) that has been due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
– And that you’ll be back in touch with them once we get through the crisis.
Note: Do not guarantee them they will get their job back once we get over this crisis because, you don’t know what is in the future. For example, you may decide to close your business by then. So standing down gives you more flexibility and it leaves you with more money to help you get your business going once the crisis has passed. However, bear in mind that if you end up closing your business, you’ll still have to pay the employee all their accrued benefits and entitlements accumulated from prior to their stand down.
Q6: Can staff still apply for benefits if they are working for me but with reduced number of hours either as apprentices, full time, part time or casual?
A6: Yes, they can apply for the COVID-19 part of the available benefits i.e. up to $550/ fortnight. But how much of the $550/ fortnight they get will depend on how much they earn and how much is the family income. So, again they need to get onto Centrelink and put in an application for COVID-19 and find out your individual situation.
Q7: If an employer has committed to pay some annual leave and then stands down an employee, when does the stand down start?
A7: Stand down starts the day the employee stops working and steps out of the business – i.e. when they go on that annual leave, not after they get back after annual leave.
Q8: What about apprentices? Do they have to be terminated and their apprenticeship cancelled in order for them to get benefits?
A8: No, absolutely not. Employers can apply for 50% of a wage subsidy up to $7K for each apprentice for each quarter from 1st Jan to 30th Sep i.e back dated from Jan2020 at $7K for each quarter to a total of $21K. Go to you AASN provider (MAS National Ph:1300 627 628 or MEGT Ph: (08) 8424 3200).
Q9: What about staff who have had they hours cut back (whether they were full, part time or casual and they decide they don’t want to work those reduced hours. Can they still apply for benefits?
A9: Yes, they can apply for the COVID-19 part of the available benefits. But how much they’ll get of the $550/ fortnight will be subject to a test eg if there’s other family income etc. So, again get onto Centrelink and put in their application for COVID-19 and find out their individual situation. Actually, it might be better for them to be given a Stand Down so they can access it as having no employment.
Q10: What about assistance to small business?
A10: The best place to go for information is to Commission of Small Business in SA (website) www.sasba.sa.gov.au
The Australian Government has also introduced a PAYG benefit. But it’s not a cash refund to the business.
The ATO will be contacting every business directly and will let you know how this will affect you. So, no need to do anything on this. Let them contact you.
Q11: What about getting rent assistance?
A11: Still waiting for answers from the National Cabinet. In the meantime you could choose not to pay it just yet until we hear from the PM.
Q12: What about my business loans?
A12: The big 4 banks have already given businesses a 6-month holiday from repayments on your loans, if you are deemed eligible. It means you won’t have to do any repayments for 6 months. But the interest still accrues over those 6 months and will then be spread evenly over the life of the loan.
Note i) this benefit applies to all business linked loans including Visa, car loans, house loans etc. So, get in touch with your bank manager asap.
Note ii) Second tier lenders to date do not have these benefits – but it is hoped this will change.
Note iii) Go to https://treasury.gov.au/ for more information on loans and small businesses
Q13: What about businesses that are not eligible for don’t receive Payroll tax refund?
A13: All states now have these provisions. Contact your SA Treasury or Premier’s Department
www.treasury.sa.gov.au or www.dpc.sa.gov.au
Q14: Are Company Directors eligible for benefits?
A14: Yes, if your business has closed or been put into suspension and you don’t have an income, you should also go to Centrelink and get a number and see if what benefits you’re eligible for. Note: income test would apply.
More websites that are valuable to keep you up to date:
9:00am Thursday 26th March 2020
Dear hairdressing and barbering community,
Effective immediately, the 30 minute appointment rule has been lifted. Please see media release from the Prime Minister below. The one person per four square meter rule still applies. We will continue to keep you updated if anything changes.
26 Mar 2020
Following the receipt of feedback on the practical implementation of measures announced regarding barbers and hairdressers it was agreed by Premiers and Chief Ministers at National Cabinet last night that the instruction regarding 30 minutes per patron will be lifted (effective immediately), but that the 4sqm rule per person must be strictly observed within the premises and that personal contact during the patron’s visit should be minimised wherever possible.
Also it was noted that in hardship cases, States and Territories can provide exemptions in relation to attendance at funerals, but only at the margin.
National Cabinet will meet again on Friday, March 27.
Information provided is relevant as at 10am Wednesday 25th March 2020
To our members, their staff and the hair & beauty community,
New information and guildelines regarding COVID-19 have been released, which effects our industry.
From midnight tonight (12:00am 26/03/20) the following applies:
– All beauty therapy, tanning, waxing, nail salons, spas, massage and tattoo parlours will not be allowed to operate
– Hairdressers and barber shops can operate, but the service can only last for 30 minutes and the customer must not be on the premises for more than 30 minutes. This does NOT mean you are able to have them in the salon for 30 minutes, send them outside or to the toilet and then let them back in for a further 30 minutes.
Clients are only allowed to be in the salon for 30 minutes total, this includes the time it takes to greet clients at the start of a service and pay for the service at the end. The 1 person per 4 square meter rule still applies. We understand that this is very challenging.
SAHBA Members, could you please send us an email (firstname.lastname@example.org) with your views on the current situation and guidelines so that we can advocate on your behalf.
As you’re aware, the situation continues to change each day and we will keep you as up to date as we possibly can. Please refer to this website for the most up to date information www.aus.gov.au
Become a SAHBA member today and receive emails on the latest notices and information on the COVID-19 ; Free assistance – when you need it; Access to our Solicitor – first 30 minutes is free with 10% off any legal fees; Access to our exclusive members business portal which includes templates, letters, notices and much more to help run your business. IT’S EASY TO JOIN – sign up here
9am – Monday 23rd March 2020
To our dear members, their staff and the wider hair and beauty community.
Firstly, we wanted to advise everyone again that there is no one at the office as Jordan and I are working from home, so please send us an email to email@example.com and we’ll respond to you asap.
Here is some important information…..
1 – Some of our members have already made the decision to close their salons. However, the latest information is that the Government has not shut down salons. Of course we’ll keep you informed if and when this changes.
2 – To everyone, please regularly go to www.health.gov.au – the Australian Government Department of Health website for the latest information and alerts on COVID-19. You can also go to the SA Government’s Health Department website www.health.sa.gov.au – though it seems the Australian Government’s website has the more up to date information.
3 – At this time SA hair and beauty salons can still trade. We know our members will be practising the best hygiene in their salons. To assist, the Department of Health has provided some COVID-19 training through Aspen Medical. We recommend you do this training, and to do so please go to https://covid-19training.gov.au/
4 – We’re all getting lots of information from various sources that be useful to pass on. The latest is to be extra careful when filling up at petrol stations – handling the pumps and keeping your distance etc.
This pandemic will pass and the craziness will revert to normalcy. And when things get back to normal, our services will be in greater demand than ever before. So, stay strong, take care of yourselves and your loved ones.
Rose, Jordan and the SAHBA Board.
16th March 2020
We would like to provide you with up to date and relevant information regarding COVID-19 (Coronavirus). Please refer to the below links from Safework SA and SA Health, which will continue to be updated with the most relevant information for you. We understanding that this is a challenging time for our industry.
If you have any questions, please call Rose on 0408 843 992
Please note: our office landline phone is currently not working so please use the above number.
Safework SA – https://www.safeworkaustralia.gov.au/doc/coronavirus-covid-19-advice-pcbus
SA Health – https://www.sahealth.sa.gov.au/wps/wcm/connect/public+content/sa+health+internet/health+topics/health+topics+a+-+z/novel+coronavirus