Think Ahead: COVID – 19

IMPORTANT COVID-19 UPDATES

Key points from today’s (30th March) announcement on the Commonwealth Government’s third stimulus package:

The Commonwealth Government released its Third Stimulus Package in response to the COVID-19 pandemic this afternoon.

The centrepiece is a $130 billion measure over 6 months to provide wage subsidies to businesses, including not-for-profits, that are significantly affected by COVID-19.

The JobKeeper payment will be a flat $1,500 per full-time or part-time employee employed as at 1 March 2020.  Casual employees who have been employed for at least 12 months as at 1 March 2020 will also be eligible.  Employers will be able to reemploy employees who were on the books as at 1 March 2020 but who have since been dismissed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

  • To be eligible, businesses will need to have suffered a 30% or greater fall in turnover due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Payments will commence from 1 May 2020 backdated to 30 March 2020.
  • Employers will apply through the ATO to register themselves and their employees.
  • The ATO will also be using the Single Touch Payroll system to ensure compliance by employers in passing the JobKeeper payments to their employees.

In the meantime, services can register with the ATO to receive JobKeeper updates at https://www.ato.gov.au/general/gen/JobKeeper-payment/

An information for employers fact sheet is available at https://treasury.gov.au/sites/default/files/2020-03/Fact_sheet_Info_for_Employers_1.pdf

An information for employees fact sheet is available at https://treasury.gov.au/sites/default/files/2020-03/Fact_sheet_Info_for_Employees_1.pdf

A general information on JobKeeper fact sheet is available at https://treasury.gov.au/sites/default/files/2020-03/Fact_sheet_supporting_businesses_2.pdf


 

Key points from (22nd March) announcement on the Commonwealth Government’s second stimulus package:

Boosting Cash Flow for Employers

  • Not-for-profit entities, including charities, will be eligible for the Boosting Cash Flow for Employers The measure is designed to support entities that retain employees during the current COVID-19 crisis.
  • The Boosting Cash Flow for Employers measure provides up to $50,000 for the period March – June 2020, with a minimum of $10,000. The payment is delivered by the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) as credits to the entity upon lodgment of their activity statements (i.e. BAS / IAS). The payments are based on 100% of the PAYG Withholding withheld from employee’s wages during the period.
  • If the entity continues to be active in the period July – October 2020, it will receive further credits over that period equal to the total of the Boosting Cash Flow for Employers amounts received for the period up until June 2020.  This means that entities remaining active and employing staff until at least October 2020 can receive up to a total of $100,000, with a minimum of $20,000.
  • As the payments are made as credits against activity statements, it is important that entities observe the lodgment schedule for their activity statements.  However, be aware that the ATO is also offering extended payment dates for activity statements.  Entities should pay particular attention to the payment dates for individual BAS / IAS, as well as monitoring their ATO Integrated Client Account for offset of Boosting Cash Flow for Employers amounts against amounts owed to the ATO.  This will assist entities to ensure they optimise their cash flow by not making unnecessary payments when credits have been applied.
  • The only cash payments made under this measure will be refunds resulting from the application of the measure to a particular activity statement.  Refunds are expected to be paid by the ATO within 14 days.
  • The Australian Government’s Economic Response to the Coronavirus Fact Sheet – Cash flow assistance for businesses provides examples of how payments will be calculated and made, depending on the amount of PAYG Withholding and the activity statement schedule of the entity.

Supporting Apprentices and Trainees

  • This measure is focused on employers with fewer than 20 full-time employees who retain an apprentice or trainee.  The trainee must have been in training as at 1 March 2020.
  • Eligible employers can apply for a wage subsidy of 50% of a trainee’s wage paid during the period 1 January to 30 September 2020, up to a maximum of $21,000.
  • Employers can register for the subsidy from early April 2020.  For further information on how to apply for the subsidy, including information on eligibility, contact an Australian Apprenticeship Support Network (AASN) provider.  AASN providers can be searched for on the Australian Apprenticeships

 

Planning for impacts on your operations

CCSA’s Member Support team is here to help guide you to respond to potential impacts from COVID-19. Our support supplements the Health Department advice and fact sheets already communicated to you in CCSA eAlerts.

There are many different ways your service could be affected, so it pays to “Think Ahead” by considering what you might need to have in place to continue to effectively manage your operations. We have compiled some examples to get you started:

  • ensure your contact list for families is up to date
  • ensure your staff contact list is up to date, including emergency contact details
  • check the status of your casual pool
  • consider adding elements to your health policy that cover this particular health alert
  • determine how you will communicate information to families
  • determine how you will respond to various scenarios
  • consider whether essential functions can be performed off site, for example processing payroll
  • check that employees’ leave accruals are up to date
  • check your cash flow and financial status to ensure leave entitlements and other payments can be covered if necessary.

CCSA has been representing our members in discussion with the Department of Education regarding the response to COVID-19 in the early childhood sector. If you have any concerns please call the department.

Things you can do NOW include:

  • ensure your health and hygiene practices are maintained
  • follow your policies and procedures and maintain the usual best practice approach across all of your services
  • stay updated with health alerts and follow your health notification procedures
  • apply a risk assessment process to any new scenarios and maintain regulations, compliance and common sense
  • contact CCSA  Member Support if you require help or have questions.

IMPORTANT LINKS

DEPARTMENT
OF HEALTH
ADVICE (Federal)

The Australian Government Department of Health is providing daily updates on the latest medical advice and official reports.

We recommend that you regularly refer to this health alert page daily to ensure you are up to date.


Department of Health Coronavirus (COVID-19) Official Health Alert Page

Department of Health Coronavirus (COVID-19) resources

Department
of HEALTH
ADVICE (State)

NSW Health is providing updates on the latest medical advice and official reports.


Guidance for early childhood education and care services

Coronavirus resources, guides, videos and posters

DEPARTMENT
OF EDUCATION
ADVICE (Federal)

Coronavirus (COVID-19) information for schools and early childhood education and care services, students and parents.

Advice from the Department of Education, Skills and Employment can be found here.


 

Australian Government –  Department of Education, Skills and Employment 

Early Childhood Education and Care Relief Package payments from 6 April 2020.

Letter from Dr Ros Baxter, Deputy Secretary, Early Childhood and Child care, outlining the Department’s response to impacts of the CIVID-19 virus

COVID-19 Information sheet for child care providers and services

Coronavirus Frequently Asked Questions
Includes information about in-home care, rations, exclusions, fees and absences.

Community Child Care Fund Special Circumstances Grant Opportunity
Grants to support continuity of child care, in particular in disadvantaged or vulnerable communities, where service viability is affected by an unforeseen factor outside the control of the service.

Absences from child care due to a local emergency –Child Care Benefit and Child Care Rebate

Child Care Finder
Ensure that your vacancy and fee information is up-to-date in Child Care Finder as demand for childcare may increase.

Subscribe here to receive emails from the Australian Government Department of Education, Skills and Employment.

DEPARTMENT
OF EDUCATION
ADVICE (State)

Coronavirus (COVID-19) information for schools and early childhood education and care services, students and parents.

Advice from the NSW Department of Education can be found here.


Frequently Asked Questions

NSW Department of Education – COVID-19 Information
Includes:

  • information sheet for parents and carers
  • information sheet for educators and staff
  • COVID-19 and excursions
  • practicing good hygeine
  • further support resources for services.


Online Roadshows
Department of Education March Roadshow Livestream

Notifications|
As per the National Law and Regulations governing all early childhood education and care services, you must report outbreaks of infectious disease to:

  • Your local Public Health Unit on 1300 066 055
  • The NSW Regulatory Authority – for reporting requirements visit the Notifications and Reporting page or call 1800 619 113

Learning from Home
A resources page designed to support parents and educators to deal with the closure of a preschool

 

ATO and FINANCE
ADVICE

The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) will implement a series of administrative measures to assist Australians experiencing financial difficulty as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak.


ATO support (for those affected by COVID-19)

The ATO will implement a series of administrative measures to assist Australians experiencing financial difficulty as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak.

ATO Information and Assistance 
Information and assistance if you have been affected by COVID-19 outbreak


Other financial information and assistance.

Australian Government Business
Find financial assistance, eligibility and timing for the new government support for Australian businesses.


Cash Flow Assistance for Businesses
An Information sheet to help businesses to manage cashflow challenges and help businesses retain their employees.


COVID-19 Consumer and Business Rights
An overview of consumer rights from NSW Fair Trading

HUMAN
RESOURCES
ADVICE

Find out your employment obligations here.


 

Fair Work Ombudsman – Novel Coronavirus and Australian Workplace laws

EDUCATION
COUNCIL
PRESS
RELEASES

Press Release Education Council – 27th March 2020 Link here

Working from Home

If your service closes or if an employee is unable to attend the workplace due to the impacts of COVID-19, there may be an opportunity for some employees to work from home. Consider the following:

  • Suitability of work requiring to be done. You must ensure that the work you are requiring the employee to be done is appropriate for the employee’s classification.
  • A working from home policy
  • A working from home agreement to vary an employee’s location and/or hours of work
  • A check list outlining the requirements around equipment/environment etc

CCSA has prepared Working from Home templates that you may adapt for use in your service. (Ensure you are logged in first).

Mental Health

Resources for educators, children and families to help respond to the mental health impact of the COVID-19 outbreak.


 

Be You

Beyond Blue

Black Dog Institute

Lifeline