The COVID-19 Pandemic is an unprecedented time for those of us in business. Times are tough, confusing and uncertain. While there are plenty of resources available to assist, they can be difficult to find, which is why we've created this resources page as a support to our clients and contacts - it's a central point of reference with links to key information associated with managing staff, government assistance, working from home,  work health and safety and more. We hope you find it to be of value.

If you have any suggestions for additional or updated resources/links, please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Of course, call us if you need assistance - ph. 1300 783 211 or book an online consultation.

Please note that this page was last updated 22 July 2020. You should undertake your own checks to ensure the accuracy and currency of information. Information provided should not be considered legal advice, nor should the following list of resources/information be considered exhaustive.

Click on the buttons below to "shortcut" to relevant information:

Managing Your Employees

Government Subsidies and Assistance (including JobKeeper)

Working Remotely / Work from Home

Mental Health and Wellbeing

Work Health and Safety / General Health-Related Info

NSW Public Health Orders - What you can and can't do


MANAGING EMPLOYEES - Business Closures and Downturns, Stand Downs and Redundancies, Leave Arrangements and Award Variations

Information relevant to managing staff during the pandemic is being updated every day or two, so we recommend either seeking professional guidance (from us or a similiarly-qualified and experienced service provider), or reviewing the information currently published by the Fair Work Ombudsman: 

Coronavirus and Australian Workplace Laws - Fair Work Ombudsman

A few specific points of note relating to managing employees at this time:

  • Stand-downs and redundancies should be considered an option of "last resort"
  • A period of business downturn is generally not sufficient in itself to automatically permit an employer to stand down employees without pay
  • Redundancies need to be genuine (in that the employer no longer requires the job to be done by anyone), there needs to be a process of consultation, and a minimum period of notice (or payment in lieu of notice) needs to be provided
  • A series of temporary changes have been made to the Fair Work Act. The changes apply to employers who have qualified for the JobKeeper scheme and their eligible employees. Once an employer has qualified for the JobKeeper scheme, the new provisions enable (1) employers to make temporary and partial stand downs in certain circumstances, (2) employers to temporarily alter employees’ usual duties and locations of work in certain circumstances, (3) employers and employees to agree on altering an employee’s days and times of work and use of annual leave in certain circumstances. These changes are reasonably complex and there are are restrictions relating to their exercise that must be considered, so if as an employer you are thinking of utilising these new provisions it is recommended that you seek our or other professional support. Refer here for further details relevant to the changes
  • The Fair Work Commission recently made determinations to vary 99 awards for a temporary period, to provide for 2 weeks unpaid Pandemic Leave and to allow employees and employers to agree to the taking of annual leave at half pay (check here for details)
  • Specific temporary changes have been made to the Clerks Award, the Restaurant Award, the Hospitality Award and the Educational Services (Schools) General Staff Award, to increase flexibility in terms of managing employees covered by these awards (click this link for further details)
  • Temporary changes have also been made to Long Service Leave legislation in NSW, to provide more flexibility for employers and workers to access long service leave in advance during the ongoing COVID-19 crisis (check here for details).

GOVERNMENT SUBSIDIES AND ASSISTANCE

JobKeeper Payments:

NOTE: Changes to the JobKeeper scheme were announced 21/07/20 - check out this blog post for details.

For more information on the Federal Government’s JobKeeper payment package, including eligibility criteria, click here. Further information, including details of how to register for the payment, can be found on the ATO website - here.

Note the following if you are an eligible employer with eligible employees and you intend to apply for JobKeeper payments: (these are key points only - refer to the ATO website link immediately above for full details)

  • You can now enrol with the ATO for the JobKeeper payment using the Business Portal and authenticate with myGovID. 
  • You must notify your eligible employees that you are intending to claim the JobKeeper payment on their behalf and check they aren’t claiming JobKeeper payment through another employer or have nominated through another business. You are required to send the JobKeeper employee nomination notice to your nominated employees to complete and return to you before paying them in accordance with the scheme. Keep it on file and provide a copy to your registered tax agent if you are using one.
  • You need to re-start or continue to pay your eligible employees at least $1,500 a fortnight. If you usually pay your employees less frequently than fortnightly, the payment can be allocated between fortnights in a reasonable manner.
  • You should pay your employees for each JobKeeper fortnight you plan to claim for. The first fortnight was from 30 March – 12 April and each JobKeeper fortnight follows after that .
  • NOTE that the JobKeeper payment is a reimbursement from the ATO to eligible employers in arrears, and cannot be paid in advance in any circumstances.

Other Assistance:

The Federal Government has also made available a range of other assistance including the following (click here for details):

  • temporary cash flow support for small and medium businesses
  • temporary relief for financially distressed businesses
  • support for business investment, and
  • support for small businesses to retain apprentices and trainees.

The NSW Government is also providing support by way of the Small Business Support Fund (includes grants of up to $10,000). Click here for details of this and other assistance available to NSW businesses.

For information on JobSeeker and other payments and assistance for individuals impacted by the pandemic, click here to visit the Services Australia website.

WORKING REMOTELY / WORKING FROM HOME

Many businesses and individuals have changed the way they work, to a remote or home-based approach, where possible. There are things that you as a business leader need to do to ensure your staff are productive, engaged and safe during this time. If you are able to facilitate remote working, you should ensure you have a Working from Home Policy in place, as well as asking each employee to complete a Working from Home WHS Checklist. Click below to access a complimentary Working from Home checklist. We can also assist in drafting a Work from Home Policy suitable for your business - contact us for details.

Work from Home WHS Checklist

MENTAL HEALTH AND WELLBEING

Your employee’s (and your own) health and wellbeing are paramount during this time. Click on one or more of the links below to access information and ideas on ways you can promote health and wellbeing for your team.

Mental Health Commission

Life in Mind Australia

If your business has an Employee Assistance Program in place, now is a great time to remind your employees of this service. If you think your employee (or you) need more specific and specialised support please encourage them to seek support from Beyond Blue or a similar organisation. Click here for details.

An important part of looking after yourself and others is KEEPING IN TOUCH with our work colleagues, even when we're not directly working together. Check out Margot's latest blog article here, for a few tips.

WORK HEALTH AND SAFETY / GENERAL HEALTH-RELATED INFO

There is a range of information available to help you continue to meet your obligations to, insofar as possible, provide a safe and healthy workplace for your employees and others. Check out the links below for more information.

Safe Work Australia

Safe Work NSW

Australian Government - Dept of Health

NSW PUBLIC HEALTH ORDERS

Click the link below for details of how NSW public health orders affect where you can go and what is open, closed or restricted.