I’m here with the COVID-19 continuity update for Australian businesses on 11th August, and I’m talking about:
1. How to use JobKeeper to clear annual leave
2. JobKeeper stand down provisions – reminder
3. Victorian Government grants – update on payments
1. JobKeeper + annual leave
The Victorian Stage 4 restrictions will mean that some businesses who haven’t previously had to, will need to adjust their workforce to “right-size” for the reduced capacity in the short term.
With all the changes to keep up with, many business owners haven’t fully understood how to make use of JobKeeper to clear accrued annual leave. This is an important benefit to your business because it will reduce your leave liability in the long term.
1. How to use JobKeeper to clear annual leave
If you have insufficient amount of work for your team member, you can direct them to take paid annual leave. (Note, your employee must keep a balance of at least 2 weeks).
The advantage of using JobKeeper to direct employees to take their leave now while the work is slow is that, effectively, the JobKeeper pays for their annual leave. If you have a large amount of accrued annual leave, this can save you a significant amount of money in the future.
Be aware that annual leave is paid at the rate of your employee’s normal (non-“stand down”) wages. If their normal wage is above the JobKeeper payment of $1500 per fortnight, you will need to top up their pay for their annual leave.
You can also agree with your employee for them to take annual leave at half pay for twice the length of time (this must be agreed in writing). This would be an advantageous option to reduce costs for businesses that would be required to top up wages above the JobKeeper payment.
For more information, see this link to the FairWork website: https://coronavirus.fairwork.gov.au/coronavirus-and-australian-workplace-laws/pay-and-leave-during-coronavirus/jobkeeper-wage-subsidy-scheme/leave-the-jobkeeper-scheme#agreements-about-using-annual-leave
The ability to use this process to reduce hours and direct employees to use their annual leave only applies if you are in the JobKeeper program. If you are not in JobKeeper, then you will still need to comply with all aspects of FWA for changing hours.
If you’d like advice for your business and your situation, please speak to a Tenfold business coach.
2. JobKeeper stand down provisions
Some Australian businesses haven’t used the stand down provisions prior to Stage 4. I’ve provided a brief reminder here to make sure you follow the procedures for stand down – in short:
1. Notify your employees in writing that you are going to give them a stand down direction. You need to give them 3 days’ notice before you give the actual direction (unless the employee genuinely agrees to a shorter timeframe); then
2. Discuss with your employees the need to reduce hours or days to the level the business requires (including reducing to zero hours or days). You need to keep a written record of the consultation; then
3. Give your employee the stand down direction in writing.
For further advice on giving stand down directions, you can speak with a Tenfold business mentor, or refer to my update of 14th April (click here: https://tenfoldcoaching.com.au/covid-19-business-continuity-14th-april/) or visit the FairWork website: https://coronavirus.fairwork.gov.au/coronavirus-and-australian-workplace-laws/pay-and-leave-during-coronavirus/jobkeeper-wage-subsidy-scheme/jobkeeper-enabling-stand-down-directions
3. Victorian Government grants for businesses during coronavirus – update on payments
I know that some business owners are experiencing delays in receiving the $10,000 in grant monies from the Victorian Government.
We heard from Premier Andrews today that the $5k payments have been made to around 24,000 eligible businesses.
Those who have already received the payment will get the other $5k without having to reapply. Those who have already applied and have not yet received the funds will receive the full $10k payment soon. Unfortunately, no timeframe was provided.
If you haven’t applied yet, submit your application today here: https://www.business.vic.gov.au/support-for-your-business/grants-and-assistance/business-support-package/business-support-fund
As always, speak to a Tenfold business coach if you have any questions about how any of these matters relates to you. We’re here to help you protect your business, whether you’re in Melbourne, Sydney, Perth, Brisbane or anywhere in Australia.
Ashley Thomson B.Eng(Hons), Grad. Dip. Mgmt, MEI
Tenfold Business Coaching