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./td>
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.
According to the ATO*, employers will be eligible for the JobKeeper payment if all of the following apply:
*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.
The fortnightly payment will be made available to employees who:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 and ME, the bank built and supported by Industry SuperFunds, 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.
ME’s well regarded financial wellness modules provide a free online course to help members manage their money better, providing useful tips in these times of uncertainty around money basics, budgeting and financial wellbeing.
We also encourage businesses with Employee Assistance Programs to assist their staff to engage with these important internal resources where appropriate.
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:
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.