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LIV Guide to COVID-19 Government Stimulus & Support packages

This guide is designed to provide practical guidance to legal practitioners on Commonwealth and Victorian government stimulus and support packages announce up to the date of publication in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) for businesses and individuals (updated 28 July 2020).

Introduction

This guide is designed to provide practical guidance to legal practitioners on Commonwealth and Victorian government stimulus and support packages announced in response to (COVID-19) for businesses and individuals.

This guide will be updated as additional information becomes available and new packages announced. Links to relevant government information is provided via each program.  Legal Practitioners are encouraged to examine their eligibility to access programs with their accountant.

Commonwealth Support for Business

Boosting cash flow for employers

The Government will provide tax-free cash flow boosts between $20,000 and $100,000 to small and medium businesses and non-for-profit entities that make eligible payments that are subject to withholding obligations.

First Cash Flow Boost program

The first Cash Flow Payments were made by the ATO for the periods from March 2020 to June 2020.  Under the first program eligible businesses, including not-for-profit organisations, sole traders, partnerships, companies or trusts will be provided a tax-free cash flow boost of between $10,000 and $50,000.

The “payment” is not actually a payment, but a credit that will be offset against the liabilities that appear on the business activity statement (BAS) and any debits in your running balance account (RBA).

Second Cash Flow Boost program

The Second Cash Flow Boost program is for the periods from June to September 2020 to entities that were eligible for the first cash flow boost.  Eligible businesses do not need to apply for payments. Payments will be delivered automatically when the business lodges its Activity Statement for the relevant period.

Your business is eligible if it:

  • held an ABN on 12 March 2020 and continues to be active
  • has an aggregated annual turnover under $50 million (generally based on prior year turnover), and
  • made eligible payments you are required to withhold from (even if the amount you need to withhold is zero).

Eligible payments include:

  • salary and wages
  • director fees
  • eligible retirement or termination payments
  • compensation payments
  • voluntary withholding from payments to contractors.

In addition, you must also have either:

  • derived business income in the 2018–19 income year and lodged your 2019 tax return on or before 12 March 2020
  • made GST taxable, GST-free or input-taxed sales in a previous tax period (since 1 July 2018) and lodged the relevant activity statement on or before 12 March 2020.

Your initial cash flow boost is based on the amount of your PAYG withholding.

Eligible businesses that withhold tax on their employees' salary and wages will receive a credit equal to 100% of the amount withheld - up to a maximum of $50,000. The minimum credit will be $10,000, even if the amount required to be withheld is zero. However, you will not be eligible to receive any more cash flow boosts until your PAYG withholding exceeds $10,000 over the relevant periods.

Monthly lodgers will receive a credit that is calculated at three times the rate (300%) in the March 2020 activity statement, to align with quarterly lodgers.

You do not need to apply for the cash flow boosts. If you are eligible, the boosts will be delivered as credits in the activity statement system from 28 April 2020.

The credit is available to:

  • quarterly lodgers for the quarters ending March 2020 and June 2020
  • monthly lodgers for the March 2020, April 2020, May 2020 and June 2020 periods.

Eligible entities who received initial cash flow boosts will receive additional cash flow boosts, for the periods June to September 2020, equal to the total amount of initial cash flow boosts received. This will be delivered in either two or four instalments depending on your reporting period.

Resources:

JobKeeper Payments

The Jobkeeper subsidy program commenced 30 March 2020 to support employees and businesses. The JobKeeper Payment is designed to help businesses affected by the Coronavirus to cover the costs of their employees’ wages, so that more employees can retain their job and continue to earn an income. Keeping Australians in work and businesses in business will lay the foundations for a stronger economic recovery once the Coronavirus crisis passes.

The original program was due to cease on 27 September 2020.  On 21 July the government announced proposed changes to JobKeeper to commence on 29 September 2020 targeting support to those businesses and not-for-profits which continue to be significantly impacted by the Coronavirus.

The proposed changes to the scheme will be brought into legal effect once the Treasurer registers a Legislative Instrument to amend and/or supplement the Legislative Instrument titled the Coronavirus Economic Response Package (Payments and Benefits) Rules 2020.

Employers can continue to enrol for the JobKeeper Payment at any time until the program closes based on their eligibility.

Summary

The economic impacts of the Coronavirus pose significant challenges for many businesses – many of which are struggling to retain their employees.

Under the JobKeeper Payment, businesses significantly impacted by the Coronavirus outbreak will be able to access a subsidy from the Government to continue paying their employees. This assistance will help businesses to keep people in their jobs and re-start when the crisis is over. For employees, this means they can keep their job and earn an income – even if their hours have been cut.

The JobKeeper Payment is a temporary scheme open to businesses impacted by the Coronavirus. The JobKeeper Payment will also be available to the self-employed.

The JobKeeper Payment will support employers to maintain their connection to their employees. These connections will enable business to reactivate their operations quickly – without having to rehire staff – when the crisis is over.

30 March until 27 September 2020

  • $1,500 per fortnight per eligible employee. 

Employers (including non-for-profits) will be eligible for the subsidy if their business has a turnover of less than $1 billion and their turnover has fallen by more than 30 percent; or their business has a turnover of $1 billion or more and their turnover has fallen by more than 50 per cent; and the business is not subject to the Major Bank Levy.

28 September 2020 to 3 January 2021 (Subject to approval)

  • $1,200 per fortnight for all eligible employees who, in the four weeks of pay periods before 1 March 2020, were working in the business or not-for-profit for 20 hours or more a week on average, and for eligible business participants who were actively engaged in the business for 20 hours or more per week on average in the month of February 2020; and
  • $750 per fortnight for other eligible employees and business participants.,

From 4 January 2021 to 28 March 2021 (Subject to approval)

  • $1,000 per fortnight for all eligible employees who, in the four weeks of pay periods before 1 March 2020, were working in the business or not-for-profit for 20 hours or more a week on average and for business participants who were actively engaged in the business for 20 hours or more per week on average in the month of February 2020; and
  • $650 per fortnight for other eligible employees and business participants.

Eligibility

To establish that a business has faced a 30% (or 50%) fall in their turnover, most businesses would be expected to establish that their turnover has fallen in the relevant month or three months (depending on the natural activity statement reporting period of that business) relative to their turnover a year earlier.

If the business cannot satisfy the 30% turnover test, the First Commissioner has the discretion to consider additional information including when the business turnover is typically highly variable.  This test may allow the Commission to consider additional information such as budgeted, information, cashflow projects bad debt write-offs and redundancy costs.

Where a business was not in operation a year earlier, or where their turnover a year earlier was not representative of their usual or average turnover, (e.g. because there was a large interim acquisition, they were newly established or their turnover is typically highly variable), the Tax Commissioner will have discretion to consider additional information that the business can provide to establish that they have been adversely affected by the impacts of the Coronavirus. The Tax Commissioner will also have discretion to set out alternative tests that would establish eligibility in specific circumstances (e.g. eligibility may be established as soon as a business ceases or significantly curtails its operations). There will be some tolerance where employers, in good faith, estimate a greater than 30% (or 50%) fall in turnover but actually experience a slightly smaller fall.

Employers must elect to participate in the scheme. They will need to make an application to the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) and provide supporting information demonstrating a downturn in their business.  In addition, employers must report the number of eligible employees employed by the business on a monthly basis.

Eligible employers will receive the payment for each eligible employee that was on their books on 1 March 2020 and continues to be engaged by that employer – including full-time, part-time, long-term casuals and stood down employees. Casual employees eligible for the JobKeeper Payment are those employees who have been with their employer for at least the previous 12 months as at 1 March 2020. To be eligible, an employee must be an Australian citizen, the holder of a permanent visa, or a Special Category (Subclass 444) Visa Holder.

Eligible employers who have stood down their employees before the commencement of this scheme will be able to participate. Employees that are re-engaged by a business that was their employer on 1 March 2020 will also be eligible.

In circumstances where an employee is accessing support though Services Australia because they have been stood down or had their hours reduced and the employer will be eligible for the JobKeeper Payment, the employee should advise Services Australia of their change in circumstances online at my.gov.au or by telephone.

Self-employed individuals will be eligible to receive the JobKeeper Payment where they expect to suffer a 30 per cent decline in turnover relative to a comparable a period a year ago (of at least a month).

Where employees have multiple employers – only one employer will be eligible to receive the payment. The employee will need to notify their primary employer to claim the JobKeeper Payment on their behalf. The claiming of the tax free threshold will in most cases be sufficient notification that an employer is the employee’s primary employer.

Additional Turn-over tests from 28 September 2020

Additional turnover tests In order to be eligible for the JobKeeper Payment after 27 September 2020, businesses and not-for-profits will have to meet a further decline in turnover test for each of the two periods of extension, as well as meeting the other existing eligibility requirements for the JobKeeper Payment.

In order to be eligible for the first JobKeeper Payment extension period of 28 September 2020 to 3 January 2021, businesses and not-for-profits will need to demonstrate that their actual GST turnover has significantly fallen in the both the June quarter 2020 (April, May and June) and the September quarter 2020 (July, August, September) relative to comparable periods (generally the corresponding quarters in 2019).

In order to be eligible for the second JobKeeper Payment extension period of 4 January 2021 to 28 March 2021, businesses and not-for-profits will again need to demonstrate that their actual GST turnover has significantly fallen in each of the June, September and December 2020 quarters relative to comparable periods (generally the corresponding quarters in 2019).

Payment process

Eligible employers will be paid $1,500 per fortnight per eligible employee. Eligible employees will receive, at a minimum, $1,500 per fortnight, before tax, and employers are able to top-up the payment.  From 28 September new and differential rates will apply.

Where employers participate in the scheme, their employees will receive this payment as follows.

  • If an employee ordinarily receives $1,500 or more in income per fortnight before tax, they will continue to receive their regular income according to their prevailing workplace arrangements. The JobKeeper Payment will assist their employer to continue operating by subsidising all or part of the income of their employee(s).
  • If an employee ordinarily receives less than $1,500 in income per fortnight before tax, their employer must pay their employee, at a minimum, $1,500 per fortnight, before tax.
  • If an employee has been stood down, their employer must pay their employee, at a minimum,$1,500 per fortnight, before tax.
  • If an employee was employed on 1 March 2020, subsequently ceased employment with their employer, and then has been re-engaged by the same eligible employer, the employee will receive, at a minimum, $1,500 per fortnight, before tax.

It will be up to the employer if they want to pay superannuation on any additional wage paid because of the JobKeeper Payment.

Payments will be made to the employer monthly in arrears by the ATO.

Timing

The subsidy will start on 30 March 2020, with the first payments to be received by employers in the first week of May. Eligible businesses can apply for the payment online and are able to register online via ato.gov.au 

Resources:

Instant write-offs threshold increase

Under instant asset write-off eligible businesses / practices can:

  • immediately write off the cost of each asset that cost less than the threshold
  • claim a tax deduction for the business portion of the purchase cost in the year the asset is first used or installed ready for use.

Instant asset write-off can be used for both new and second-hand assets. Some exclusions and limits apply.

The instant asset write-off eligibility criteria and threshold have changed over time. You need to check your business's eligibility and ensure you apply the correct threshold amount.

On 22 March the Prime Minister and Treasurer announced that from 12 March 2020 until 30 June 2020 the instant asset write-off:

  • threshold is $150,000 (up from $30,000)
  • eligibility range covers businesses with an aggregated turnover of less than $500 million (up from $50 million).

On 9 June 2020, the government announced it will extend the $150,000 instant asset write off until 31 December 2020.  This proposed change is subject to parliamentary process and is not yet law.

Accelerated depreciation

Accelerated depreciation is a depreciation method whereby an asset loses book value at a faster rate than the traditional straight-line method. Generally, this method allows greater deductions in the earlier years of an asset and is used to minimize taxable income.

Measures introduced in March 2020 provide an incentive to businesses with aggregated turnover of less than $500 million for the 2019–20 and 2020–21 income years, to deduct the cost of depreciating assets at an accelerated rate.

For each new asset, the accelerated depreciation deduction applies in the income year that the asset is first used or installed ready for use for a taxable purpose. The usual depreciating asset arrangements apply in the subsequent income years that the asset is held.

Eligibility

To be eligible to apply the accelerated rate of deduction, the depreciating asset must:

  • be new and not previously held by another entity (other than as trading stock)
  • not be an asset to which an entity has applied depreciation deductions or the instant asset write-off rules
  • be first held on or after 12 March 2020
  • first used or first installed ready for use for a taxable purpose on or after 12 March 2020 until 30 June 2021.

Under the measures, different rules apply depending on whether or not an entity is using the simplified rules for capital allowances for small businesses.

Small business entity

If you are a small business with an aggregated turnover of less than $10 million, and you use the simplified depreciation rules, those assets over the instant asset threshold which are eligible for the accelerated depreciation are added to the general small business pool. You can deduct an amount equal to 57.5% (rather than 15%) of the business portion of a new depreciating asset in the year you add it to the pool. In later years the asset will be depreciated as part of the general small business pool rules.

Temporary relief for financially distressed businesses (PDF)

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.  This includes temporary relief for directors from any personal liability for trading while insolvent and providing temporary and targeted relief from the provisions of the Act.

The elements of the package are:

  • A temporary increase in 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
  • A temporary increase in the threshold for a creditor to initiate bankruptcy proceedings, an increase in the time period for debtors to respond to a bankruptcy notice, and extending the period of protection a debtor receives after making a declaration of intention to present a debtor’s petition
  • Temporary relief for directors from any personal liability for trading while insolvent
  • Providing temporary flexibility in the Corporations Act 2001 to provide targeted relief for companies from provisions of the Act to deal with unforeseen events that arise as a result of the coronavirus health crisis.

The temporary changes were introduced on 23 March 2020 via the Coronavirus Economic Response Package Omnibus Act 2020 for a period of six months. The temporary changes were extended on 7 September 2020 until 31 December 2020.

The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) has tailored solutions for owners or directors of businesses that are currently struggling due to the coronavirus, including temporary reduction of payments or deferrals, or withholding enforcement actions including Director Penalty Notices and wind-ups.

Temporary higher thresholds and more time to respond to demands from creditors

A creditor issuing a statutory demand on a company is a common way for a company to enter liquidation. The Government is temporarily increasing the current minimum threshold for creditors issuing a statutory demand on a company under the Corporations Act 2001 from $2,000 to $20,000. This will apply for 6 months.

Not responding to a demand within the specified time creates a presumption that the company is insolvent. The statutory time frame for a company to respond to a statutory demand will be extended temporarily from 21 days to 6 months. This will apply for 6 months.

To assist individuals, the Government will make a number of changes to the personal insolvency system regulated by the Bankruptcy Act 1966. The threshold for the minimum amount of debt required for a creditor to initiate bankruptcy proceedings against a debtor will temporarily increase from its current level of $5,000 to $20,000. This will apply for 6 months.

Failure to respond to a bankruptcy notice is the most common act of bankruptcy. The time a debtor has to respond to a bankruptcy notice will be temporarily increased from 21 days to 6 months. The extension will give a debtor more time to consider repayment arrangements before they could be forced into bankruptcy. This will apply for 6 months.

When a debtor declares an intention to enter voluntary bankruptcy by making a declaration of intention to present a debtor’s petition there is a period of protection when unsecured creditors cannot take further action to recover debts. This period will be temporarily extended from 21 days to 6 months. This will give debtors more time to consider the options that are best for them. This will apply for 6 months.

Creditors, many of whom are themselves small businesses, will still have the right to enforce debt against companies or individuals through the courts.

Temporary relief from directors’ personal liability for trading while insolvent

Directors are personally liable if a company trades while insolvent. This can lead to boards of directors feeling under pressure to make quick decisions to enter into an insolvency process if there is any risk that the company will experience periods where it will be trading while insolvent.

To make sure that companies have confidence to continue to trade through the coronavirus health crisis with the aim of returning to viability when the crisis has passed, directors will be temporarily relieved of their duty to prevent insolvent trading with respect to any debts incurred in the ordinary course of the company’s business. This will relieve the director of personal liability that would otherwise be associated with the insolvent trading. It will apply for six months.

Temporary relief from personal liability for insolvent trading will apply with respect to debts incurred in the ordinary course of the company’s business. Egregious cases of dishonesty and fraud will still be subject to criminal penalties. Any debts incurred by the company will still be payable by the company.

Under the provisions of the Corporations Act, the 3 owners would be personally liable if the business took on further debt without entering an insolvency procedure like voluntary administration or liquidation.

Providing the Treasurer with an instrument making power under the Corporations Act

The impact of the coronavirus and the health measures in place to limit its spread, in particular social distancing, is giving rise to unprecedented issues for businesses’ ability to comply with the provisions of the Corporations Act.

The Australian Securities & Investment Commission (ASIC) has the power to offer relief from some provisions or to take no action for not complying with some provisions. But this can require companies to make individual requests to ASIC, which takes time. Importantly, it can still leave companies open to legal action from others, such as shareholders or creditors.

Companies are needing to make very quick decisions in the context of very uncertain trading conditions. To encourage business to make the hard decisions, it is important that the Government can provide regulatory certainty and provide it as quickly as possible. And the unprecedented nature of the coronavirus health crisis makes it difficult to predict what regulatory issues will arise.

To deliver regulatory certainty at a time when Parliamentary sittings will also be disrupted, the Treasurer will be given a temporary instrument‑making power in the Corporations Act 2001 to temporarily amend provisions of the Act to provide relief from specific obligations or to modify obligations to enable compliance with legal requirements during the crisis. The instrument‑making power will apply for six months. Any instrument made under this power will apply for up to six months from the date it is made.

Government credit guarantee for unsecured SME borrowing

The Government, Reserve Bank of Australia and the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority have taken coordinated action to support the flow of credit in the Australian economy, in particular for small and medium enterprises (SMEs).

Under the Scheme, the Government will provide a guarantee of 50 per cent to SME lenders for new unsecured loans to be used for working capital.

Across the economy, many otherwise viable small and medium sized businesses are facing significant challenges due to disrupted cash flow. At the same time, businesses retain fixed obligations including rent, utilities, and employee expenses.

SMEs with a turnover of up to $50 million will be eligible to receive these loans. The Government will provide eligible lenders with a guarantee for loans with the following terms:

  • Maximum total size of loans of $250,000 per borrower.
  • The loans will be up to three years, with an initial six-month repayment holiday.
  • The loans will be in the form of unsecured finance, meaning that borrowers will not have to provide an asset as security for the loan. Loans will be subject to lenders’ credit assessment processes with the expectation that lenders will look through the cycle to sensibly take into account the uncertainty of the current economic conditions.

As part of the loan products available, the Government will encourage lenders to provide facilities to SMEs that only have to be drawn if needed by the SME.

This will mean that the SME will only incur interest on the amount they draw down. If they do not draw down any funds from the facility, no interest will be charged, but they will retain the flexibility to draw down in the future should they need to.

The Scheme will commence by early April 2020 and be available for new loans made by participating lenders until 30 September 2020.

Making the process of accessing business finance quicker

The Government is providing an exemption from responsible lending obligations for lenders providing credit to existing small business customers. This exemption is for six months, and applies to any credit for business purposes, including new credit, credit limit increases and credit variations and restructures. Responsible lending obligations do not currently apply to lending which is predominantly for a business purpose, but it can take time and effort for lenders to be satisfied that the money borrowed meets this test. By providing a temporary exemption from responsible lending obligations, this reform will help small businesses get access to credit quickly and efficiently.

Other programs

Oher programs include a Reduction to the social security deeming rate, an Apprentice and trainee wage subsidy program, Support from the Reserve Bank to encourage lending, and Support for small lenders.

Victorian Government Response

  1. Statement from Premier Daniel Andrews: Victoria to return to COVIDSafe settings (26 February 2021)

  2. Statement from Premier Daniel Andrews (17 February 2021)

  3. Statement from Premier Daniel Andrews (12 February 2021)

  4. Summary of COVIDSafe Summer Restrictions (6 December 2020)

  5. COVIDSafe Summer – How we work in Victoria (6 December 2020)

  6. Premier Daniel Andrews: Government To Act On All Recommendations Of Royal Commission Into The Management Of Police Informants (30 November 2020)

  7. Premier Daniel Andrews: Victoria Poised To Abolish The Crime Of Public Drunkenness  (30 November 2020)

  8. Premier Daniel Andrews: New Check-In System For Businesses Across Victoria (30 November 2020)

  9. More Survival Support for Victorian Businesses (10 July 2020)

The Victorian Government has launched a new $534 million Business Support Package, providing more support to help businesses and workers through to the other side of the coronavirus pandemic.

On 21 March 2020 the Victorian premier announced a $1.7 billion package to support a business and jobs survival package. See media release.  This package included:

Payroll tax refunds and deferrals

Businesses with annual taxable wages up to $3 million will have their payroll tax for the 2019-20 financial year waived.

Eligible businesses must continue to lodge returns but do not need to make further payments for this financial year.

The State Revenue Office (SRO) will directly contact eligible businesses in relation to reimbursement for payroll tax already paid in the financial year.

These businesses can also defer paying payroll tax for the first quarter of the 2020-21 financial year.

The Victorian Government announced on 10 July 2020 that the program will be extended and expanded. Eligible businesses with payrolls up to $10 million can defer their liabilities for the first half of the 2020/21 financial year.  Details of these announcement are still pending.

More information about the administration of these relief measures will be sent directly to eligible businesses by the SRO.

New business support fund Expanded Program 

The original business support program which offered funding of $10,000 per business wasavailable to small businesses that employ staff, have a turnover of more than $75,000 and a payroll of less than $650,000 and have been subject to closure or are highly impacted by Victoria’s shutdown restrictions.  This first program closed on 1 June 2020.

On 10 July 2020 the Victorian Government announced a Business Support Fund – Expansion program which provides $5,000 grants to support business through the renewed restrictions. This program is in addition to the first round of the Business Support Fund

Businesses within metropolitan Melbourne and Mitchell Shire that are affected by the return to Stay at Home restrictions may be eligible for a one-off, $5,000 grant under the Business Support Fund - Expansion program.

Applications for the Expanded program close on 19 August 2020.

Eligibility requirements

Businesses are eligible to apply for a grant through the Fund if they meet the following criteria:

  • Operate a business with an address located in one of the 31 metropolitan Melbourne LGAs and Mitchell Shire subject to the return to Stage 3 ‘Stay at Home’ restrictions; and
  • Be a participant in the Commonwealth Government’s JobKeeper Payment scheme;
  • Employ people and be registered with WorkSafe on 30 June 2020; and
  • Have an annual payroll of less than $3 million in 2019-20 on an ungrouped basis; and
  • Be registered for Goods and Services Tax (GST) on 30 June 2020, and
  • Hold an Australian Business Number (ABN) and have held that ABN at 30 June 2020; and
  • Be registered with the responsible Federal or State regulator.

Owners of businesses that do not employ people (non-employing businesses) are not eligible for funding through this Fund.

Resources:

If you require further assistance please call 13 22 15 or email: info@business.vic.gov.au

Working for Victoria Fund

Under the Working for Victoria Fund, displaced workers will be eligible to apply for different types of work. This presents opportunities for paid work and an opportunity to contribute to Victoria’s ability to manage this event and support the community.

Some displaced workers will have skills that can be readily transferred to new roles. The Government can also assist skills development or help people in obtaining immediate accreditation to commence work.

The Government will work across the public sector, local government, the not-for-profit sector and key private sector employers to facilitate job matching. Businesses that need workers can get in touch at business.vic.gov.au.

To register your interest in receiving more information, please provide your contact register online.

Deferral of land tax payments of eligible small business

Land owners due to pay 2020 land tax that have at least one non-residential property and total taxable landholdings below $1 million have the option of deferring their 2020 land tax payment until after 31 December 2020.

The State Revenue Office will contact all taxpayers who are eligible for this deferral.

Payments of all outstanding supplier invoices

To alleviate the financial pressures now facing Victorian businesses, the state government will pay all outstanding supplier invoices within five business days.

Rent relief for commercial tenants in government buildings

No further information currently available to reference on the date of publication of this guide.

Commonwealth Support for Individuals

Early access to your superannuation

You can only have early access to your super in very limited circumstances. 

The government is allowing individuals affected by COVID-19 to access up to $10,000 of their superannuation in 2019–20 and a further $10,000 in 2020–21. Individuals will not need to pay tax on amounts released and the money they withdraw will not affect Centrelink or Veterans’ Affairs payments.

From mid-April eligible individuals will be able to apply online through myGov to access up to $10,000 of their superannuation before 1 July 2020. They will also be able to access up to a further $10,000 from 1 July 2020 until 24 September 2020.

To apply for early release, you must satisfy any one or more of the following requirements:

  • You are unemployed.
  • You are eligible to receive a job seeker payment, youth allowance for jobseekers, parenting payment (which includes the single and partnered payments), special benefit or farm household allowance.
  • On or after 1 January 2020, either
    • you were made redundant
    • your working hours were reduced by 20% or more
    • if you are a sole trader, your business was suspended or there was a reduction in your turnover of 20% or more.

Alert:  Be aware that some promoters claim to offer early access to your super by transferring your super into a self-managed super fund. These schemes are illegal and heavy penalties apply if you get involved.

Victorian Government Support for Individuals

Worker support payments (COVID-19 Test self-isolating)

The Victorian Government is providing a $300 Coronavirus (COVID-19) Test Isolation Payment to support Victorian workers, including parents and guardians, who are required to self-isolate while you wait for the results of your coronavirus (COVID-19) test. 

To be eligible for the $300 Coronavirus (COVID-19) Test Isolation Payment, you must: 

  • be 17 years and over 
  • have been tested for coronavirus (COVID-19) or are the guardian or carer of someone who has been tested for coronavirus (COVID-19) 
  • currently reside in Victoria 
  • be likely to have worked or undertaken paid work during the relevant period of self-isolation and are unable to work as a result of:
    • the requirement to self-isolate following the test for coronavirus (COVID-19)  
    • to care for someone who is required to self-isolate and stay in isolation following a test for coronavirus (COVID-19) 
  • not be receiving or have not received any income, earnings or salary maintenance as a result of not being able to work during the period of self-isolation; and 
  • have exhausted sick and/or carers leave entitlements including any special pandemic leave or have no entitlement to such leave 
  • not be receiving Australian Government income support such as the Jobseeker payment or be an employee subject to the JobKeeper payment during the period of self-isolation. 

Resources

Worker support payments (COVID-19 Self-isolating or in quarantine)

The Victorian Government is providing one-off payments to financially support Victorian workers, including parents and guardians, who are required to self-isolate or quarantine due to coronavirus (COVID-19).

To be eligible for the one-off $1500 Coronavirus (COVID-19) Worker Support payment you must:

  • Have been instructed by the Department of Health and Human Services to self-isolate or quarantine at home because they are either diagnosed with coronavirus (COVID-19) or are a close contact of a confirmed case.
  • Have been instructed by the Department of Health and Human Services that a child aged under 16 in your care needs to self-isolate or quarantine at home because they are either diagnosed with coronavirus (COVID-19) or are a close contact of a confirmed case.

To receive the payment you must be:

  • 17 years and over
  • currently living in Victoria (including people on Temporary Protection Visas and Temporary Working Visas 457 and 482)
  • in continuing employment, likely to have worked during the period of self-isolation or quarantine and are unable to work as a result of the requirement to stay at home.
  • You must not be receiving any income, earnings or salary maintenance from work.
  • You must have exhausted sick leave entitlements including any special pandemic leave.
  • You must not be receiving the JobKeeper payment or other forms of Australian Government income support

Workers include those that are permanent, casual, part-time, fixed term, and self-employed. You don’t need to be a citizen or permanent resident to be eligible.

The coronavirus (COVID-19) worker support payments recognise the requirement to self-isolate or quarantine at home can have a financial burden for some individuals and families.

Providing financial support can help reduce this burden, making it easier for people to stay at home while they wait for their test result.

Guidelinesand the registration process for this program are still be finalisation. 

Resources: