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Support for you and your employees.

The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic is changing the way many in our industries work and live. Businesses are adapting to new legislation and policies on an almost daily basis and have had to make difficult decisions during this uncertain time.

At Hostplus, we’ve made changes to the way we work so we can continue to service all our members. That includes keeping employers updated on how the unfolding situation might affect their business and offering information and support wherever possible.

We suggest you bookmark this page so you can easily come back for more information and updates. You can also find fact sheets to download and share with your employees at any time.

For key information for your employees please encourage them to visit hostplus.com.au/covid19

In March 2020, the Federal Government enacted the ‘JobKeeper’ scheme, to help keep more Australians in jobs and support businesses affected by the significant economic impact caused by the Coronavirus (COVID-19).

On 21 July 2020, the Government announced it is extending the JobKeeper Payment until 28 March 2021 and is targeting support to those businesses and not-for-profits who continue to be significantly impacted by the Coronavirus.

Eligible employers who elect to participate in the JobKeeper scheme can claim a fortnightly payment of $1,500 per eligible employee on their books as at 1 March 2020.

For each eligible employee (or business participant ) who worked 20 hours or more per week on average during the four weeks before 1 March 2020: The fortnightly payment of $1,500 will be reduced to $1,200 from 28 September 2020 and to $1,000 from 4 January 2021.

For each eligible employee (or business participant ) who worked less than 20 hours per week on average during the four weeks before 1 March 2020: The fortnightly payment of $1,500 will be reduced to $750 from 28 September 2020 and to $650 from 4 January 2021.

Employer eligibility is based on the size of the turnover of the business. Not-for-profit entities, including charities, and self-employed individuals (i.e. businesses without employees) that meet the applicable turnover tests are eligible to apply for JobKeeper payments too.

Eligible employers

According to the ATO*, employers will be eligible for the JobKeeper payment if all of the following apply:

  • On 1 March 2020, you carried on a business in Australia or were a not-for-profit organisation that pursued your objectives principally in Australia.
  • You employed at least one eligible employee on 1 March 2020.
  • Your eligible employees are currently employed by your business for the fortnights you claim for (including those who are stood down or re-hired).
  • Your business has faced a
    • 30% fall in turnover (for an aggregated turnover of $1 billion or less)
    • 50% fall in turnover (for an aggregated turnover of more than $1 billion), or
    • 15% fall in turnover (for ACNC-registered charities other than universities and schools).
  • Your business is not in one of the ineligible categories.

*Correct at 24 July 2020. Please refer to the ATO website regularly for the most up to date and relevant information. 

To determine if your business satisfies the “turnover test”, please visit www.ato.gov.au/General/JobKeeper-Payment/In-detail/JobKeeper-tests/Applying-the-turnover-test/

Employers will also have ongoing reporting obligations to the ATO as part of the JobKeeper scheme which are important to be aware of. You can find more information about these on the ATO JobKeeper website.

Employers do not have to be part of JobKeeper for the whole duration of the program. Employers can join at any time provided the employer enrols in the program prior to the end of the relevant fortnightly period from which they intend to participate and meet other requirements. If an employer is participating in the JobKeeper scheme, they must include all eligible employees.

Eligible employees

The fortnightly payment will be made available to employees who:

  • Were employed as at 1 March 2020 and are currently employed by the employer (including those who are stood down or have been re-hired).
  • Were aged at least 18 on 1 March 2020 (if they were 16 or 17 they can also qualify for fortnights before 11 May 2020, and continue to qualify after that if they're independent or not studying full time).
  • Are full-time or part-time employees, or casual employees who are employed on a regular and systematic basis for the previous 12 months from 1 March 2020.
  • Are Australian citizens, the holder of a permanent visa or a Special Category (Subclass 444) visa holder at 1 March 2020. Further information about eligibility relating to visa and residency is available on the  Treasury website

The above list is a guide only. Please visit www.ato.gov.au/General/JobKeeper-Payment/Employers/Your-eligible-employees/ for a complete and up to date list of requirements for eligible employees.

How to apply for the JobKeeper payment

Eligible employers who choose to elect to participate in the JobKeeper scheme can register their interest via the ATO website.

For further information on JobKeeper, including eligibility criteria, or how to apply, visit the Treasury website

Employers must continue to pay Superannuation Guarantee (SG) on employees’ ordinary earnings for any staff who continue to work regular or reduced hours, even if a portion of these earnings are funded by the JobKeeper payment. Accordingly, where an employee is paid more than $1,500 per fortnight for work performed, the employer’s superannuation obligations will not change. If an employee’s wages are topped up to $1,500 per fortnight by the JobKeeper payment (for example, where they are stood down or earn less than $1,500 for the work performed), it is up to the employer whether they want to pay SG on any additional amounts paid by the JobKeeper payment. This information is based on the ATO guidance currently available.

Example 1:

Bob continues to be employed and is working his regular (or amended) hours which results in wages of $2,000 per fortnight. His employer registers for the JobKeeper scheme and receives $1,500 per fortnight to subsidise Bob’s fortnightly earnings of $2,000. The employer will be required to pay SG on the full $2,000.

Example 2:

Jenny continues to be employed and is working regular (or amended) hours which results in wages of $1,000 per fortnight. Her employer registers for the JobKeeper scheme and receives $1,500 per fortnight to fully subsidise Jenny’s fortnightly earnings of $1,000. Jenny will be paid the full $1,500 per fortnight. The employer will be required to pay SG on the payment of $1,000. SG will not be required (under current guidance) on the additional $500.

Example 3:

Sue has been stood down from her role, however her employer maintains her employment, albeit with no working hours. Her employer registers for the JobKeeper scheme and receives $1,500 per fortnight to provide Sue with an income. Sue will be paid the full $1,500 per fortnight. The employer (under current guidance) is not required to pay SG on the $1,500 paid to Sue.

Legally, Hostplus can't extend the due date to pay SG for employees.

Please contact the ATO on 13 10 20 or visit the ATO website for more information and access to a SG contributions calculator.

Eligible small, medium and not-for-profit businesses that employ staff may be able to receive up to $100,000 in temporary cashflow support. This can go towards rent, utilities and retaining staff. For more information or to apply, visit the Treasury website.

Eligible small businesses employing fewer than 20 employees who retain an apprentice or trainee may be eligible for a wage subsidy of 50% of the apprentice’s or trainee’s wages paid during 9 months from 1 January 2020 to 30 September 2020. Employers will be reimbursed up to a maximum of $21,000 per eligible apprentice or trainee ($7,000 per quarter). Final claims for payment must be lodged by 31 December 2020. For more information visit the Federal Government’s Business website.

There is a temporary increase to the threshold at which creditors can issue a statutory demand on a company, and the time companies have to respond to statutory demands they receive. The threshold for creditors issuing a statutory demand on a company will increase from $2,000 to $20,000, and the threshold for the minimum amount of debt required for a creditor to initiate bankruptcy proceedings will increase from $5,000 to $20,000. For more information visit the Federal Government’s Business website.

The Federal Government will provide a guarantee of 50% to small and medium enterprise (SME) lenders for new unsecured loans to be used for working capital. This aims to enhance these lenders’ willingness and ability to provide credit, with the intention it will result in SMEs being able to access additional funding to help support them through the upcoming months. To be eligible to receive these loans, businesses need to have a turnover of up to $50 million. For more information, including as to the terms of the loans issued by eligible lenders that will be guaranteed by the Federal Government, visit the Federal Government’s Business website.  

There are a range of resources available to help employers and their staff during these uncertain times, a few of which are listed below.

In addition, Hostplus has partnered with its group life insurer, MetLife to provide our members and their contributing employers with a suite of helpful tools to assist and support them.

MetLife’s fact sheet below provides information on identifying and understanding the symptoms of mental ill health so that we can better support each other and stay connected as best we can.

We also encourage businesses with Employee Assistance Programs to assist their staff to engage with these important internal resources where appropriate.

Financial Advice for your employees

We understand the COVID-19 pandemic and related business and social disruption has led to a deal of anxiousness, and in some cases significant financial stress, for some of your employees. And while the longer-term need to plan for retirement is important, we recognise that for some people there are more immediate needs and requirements.

Hostplus Superannuation Advisers licensed by Link Advice Pty Ltd and Hostplus Financial Planners licensed by Industry Fund Services Ltd are here to help them. The experienced team can provide timely, personal, advice to help Hostplus members with guidance and support, whether it is an immediate, short-term cashflow or budgeting need, or a longer-term objective, including:

  • budgeting advice including fixed vs flexible expenses
  • options for deferral or temporary relief, including loans and utilities
  • Services Australia (Centrelink) eligibility, including JobKeeper, JobSeeker benefit
  • financial product advice recommendations, including eligibility for special COVID-19 related early access to super.

Contact a Hostplus Superannuation Adviser or Financial Planner

To arrange a discussion with a Superannuation Adviser or Financial Planner, your employees can simply complete the Contact a Financial Planner form and select the ‘COVID 19 cash flow assistance’ option for the ‘How can we help you?’ question.  

Consider the relevant Hostplus Product Disclosure Statement (PDS) available at hostplus.com.au and your objectives, financial situation and needs, which are not accounted for in this information, before deciding if Hostplus is appropriate for you. Hostplus has engaged Industry Fund Services Limited (IFS) ABN 54 007 016 195, AFSL 232514 to facilitate the provision of personal financial advice to members of Hostplus. Advice is provided by financial planners who are Authorised Representatives of IFS. Fees may apply. Further information about the cost of advice is set out in the relevant IFS Financial Services Guide, a copy of which is available from your financial planner.

Hostplus Superannuation Advice Consultants are Authorised Representatives of Link Advice Pty Ltd ABN 36 105 811 836, ASFL 258145 and facilitate the provision of limited personal advice about Hostplus products to Hostplus members through Super Adviser.  Please call 1300 734 007 to obtain a Link Advice Financial Services Guide. Link Advice is responsible for any advice obtained through Super Adviser.

 

 
 

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