Lockdown payments and support

Payments and support available for workers and businesses closed due to lockdown

Note: This article was updated on 20 July 2021

 

The highly infectious Delta COVID variant is triggering lockdowns across the country. We look at lockdown payments and support for those who are affected and how to access it.

 

FOR INDIVIDUALS:

There are two payments accessible to individuals: the COVID-19 Disaster Payment; and, the Pandemic Leave Disaster Payment.

You can apply for the COVID-19 Disaster Payment through your MyGov account if you have created and linked a Centrelink account. Apply for the Pandemic Leave Payment by phoning Services Australia on 180 22 66.

1. COVID-19 Disaster Payment

The COVID-19 Disaster Payment is a weekly payment available to eligible workers who can’t attend work or who have lost income because of a lockdown and don’t have access to certain paid leave entitlements. If you are a couple, both people can separately claim the payment.

Sole traders may apply for COVID-19 Disaster Payment if you are unable to operate your business from home. However, you will not be eligible if you are also receiving a state business grant such as the NSW 2021 COVID-19 Business Grant.

Timing of the payment

The disaster payment is accessible if the hotspot triggering the lockdown lasts more than 7 days as declared by the Chief Medical Officer (you can find the listing here).

However, the disaster payment will also be available:

  • In NSW from 18 July 2021, to anyone who meets the eligibility criteria. The requirement to be in a Commonwealth declared hotspot has been removed and the payment will apply to anyone in NSW impacted by the lockdowns who meets the other eligibility criteria.
  • In Victoria from 15 July 2021, to anyone who meets the eligibility criteria. The requirement to be in a Commonwealth declared hotspot has been removed and the payment will apply to anyone in Victoria impacted by the lockdowns who meets the other eligibility criteria. And, the 7 day requirement has been removed so that the payment will be made for the period from 15 July 2021 (paid in arrears from 23 July 2021).
Area Date of declaration Disaster payment accessible from
City of Sydney, Waverley, Woollahra, Bayside, Canada Bay, Inner West and Randwick 23 June 2021 1 July 2021
Greater Sydney including the Blue Mountains, Central Coast and Wollongong 26 June 2021 4 July 2021
All of NSW 18 July 2021
All of Victoria 15 July 2021 23 July 2021*

*Payment accessible from 23 July 2021 paid in arrears from 15 July 2021 (day 1 of the lockdown).

How much is the payment?

The COVID-19 disaster payment amount available depends on:

  • How many hours of work you have lost in the week, and
  • If the payment is on or after the third period of the lockdown.
Disaster payment amount Lower rate Higher rate
Weeks 2 and 3 of a lockdown* $325 $500
From week 4 of a lockdown onwards $375* $600

* Eligible Victorians will receive the higher rate from week one of the lockdown.

The payment applies to each week of lockdown you are eligible for and is taxable (you will need to declare it in your income tax return).

Eligibility

The COVID-19 disaster payment is emergency relief. It is available if you:

  • Live or work in an area that is subject to a state or territory public health order that imposes restriction on movement and is declared a Commonwealth COVID-19 hotspot, or
  • Have visited an area that is a Commonwealth COVID-19 hotspot and you are subsequently subject to a restricted movement order when you return to other parts of New South Wales or interstate.

And you:

  • Are an Australian citizen, permanent resident or temporary visa holder who has the right to work in Australia, and
  • Are aged 17 years or over, and
  • Have lost 8 hours or more of work or a full day of your usual work as a result of the restrictions – losing work includes being stood down by your employer, not being assigned any shifts for the week of restrictions and being unable to work from home. Losing a full day of what you were scheduled to work but could not work because of a restricted movement order. This includes not being able to attend a full-time, part-time or casual shift of less than 8 hours, and
  • Don’t have paid leave available through your employer (other than annual leave), and
  • Are not receiving income support payments, a state or territory pandemic payment, Pandemic Leave Disaster Payment or state small business payment for the same period. Income support payments include Age Pension, Austudy, Carer Payment, Disability Support Pension, Farm Household Allowance, JobSeeker Payment, Parenting Payment, Partner Allowance, Special Benefit, Widow Allowance, Youth Allowance and Income Support Supplement, Service Pension or Veteran Pension from the Department of Veterans’ Affairs.

A liquid assets test of $10,000 previously applied to the disaster payment but was removed from Thursday, 8 July 2021.

2. Pandemic Leave Disaster Payment

The Pandemic Leave Disaster Payment is for those who have been advised by the health authorities to self-isolate or quarantine because they:

  • Test positive to COVID-19;
  • Have been identified as a close contact of a confirmed COVID-19 cases;
  • Care for a child, 16 years or under, who has COVID-19; or
  • Care for a child, 16 years or under, who has been identified as close contact of a confirmed COVID-19 case; or
  • Care for a person who has tested positive to COVID-19.

How much is the payment?

The payment is $1,500 for each 14 day period you are advised to self-isolate or quarantine. If you are a couple, you both can claim this payment if you meet the eligibility criteria.

Eligibility

The Pandemic Leave Disaster Payment is available if you:

  • Are an Australian citizen, permanent resident or temporary visa holder who has the right to work in Australia; and
  • Are aged 17 years or over; and
  • Are unable to go to work and earn an income; and
  • Do not have appropriate leave entitlements, including pandemic sick leave, personal leave or carers leave; and
  • Are not getting any income support payment, ABSTUDY Living Allowance, Paid parental leave or Dad and Partner Pay. Income support payments include Age Pension, Austudy, Carer Payment, Disability Support Pension, Farm Household Allowance, JobSeeker Payment, Parenting Payment, Partner Allowance, Special Benefit, Widow Allowance, Youth Allowance and Income Support Supplement, Service Pension or Veteran Pension from the Department of Veterans’ Affairs.

The payment is taxable and you will need to declare it in your income tax return.

If you are uncertain of your eligibility, talk to Services Australia.

If you are concerned about the impact of disaster relief payments on you, talk to us.

Further help for NSW

1. Child-care gap fee

From 19 July 2021, the Government is enabling childcare services in NSW Local Government Areas subject to stay at home orders to waive gap-fees for parents keeping their children at home due to current COVID-19 restrictions. The gap fee is the difference between the Child Care Subsidy (CCS) the Government pays to a service and the remaining fee paid by the family.

The child-care gap fee waiver is only applicable where the childcare service opts in.

The current Local Government Areas are: Bayside, Blacktown, Blue Mountains, Burwood, Camden, Campbelltown, Canada Bay, Canterbury-Bankstown, Central Coast, Cumberland, Fairfield, Georges River, Hawkesbury, Hornsby, Hunters Hill, Inner West, Ku-ring-gai, Lane Cove, Liverpool, Mosman, North Sydney, Northern Beaches, Parramatta, Penrith, Randwick, Ryde, Shellharbour, Strathfield, Sutherland Shire, Sydney, The Hills Shire, Waverley, Willoughby, Wollondilly, Wollongong and Woollahra.

2. Eviction moratorium

The NSW Government will introduce a targeted eviction moratorium to protect residential tenants who have lost 25% of their income due to COVID-19.

Tenants who can’t pay their rent in full because they are impacted by the recent COVID-19 outbreak can’t be evicted between now and 11 September 2021.

3. Financial support for landlords

Residential landlords who decrease rent for impacted tenants can apply for a grant of up to $1,500 or land tax reductions depending on their circumstances. The land tax relief will be equal to the value of rent reductions provided to financially distressed tenants for up to 100% of the 2021 land tax year liability.

 

FOR BUSINESS:

 

New South Wales

The NSW and Federal Governments have announced a series of new measures to support business during extended lockdowns of four weeks or more.

You can streamline the process of applying for business support by ensuring:

1. 2021 COVID-19 Business Grant of up to $15,000

The previously announced small business grants have been increased to up to $15,000 and expanded to eligible businesses (including not-for-profits and sole traders) with annual wages of up to $10 million.

The value of the grant is determined by the impact of the lockdown on your turnover. Your business will need to prove a decline in turnover across a minimum 2 week period after the commencement of the major restrictions.

Decline in turnover Grant
70%+ $15,000
50% or more $10,500
30% or more $7,500

Eligibility

The 2021 COVID-19 business grant is available if you:

  • Have an active ABN; and
  • Can demonstrate that your business was operating in NSW as at 1 June 2021; and
  • Have had total annual Australian wages of $10m or less as at 1 July 2020; and
  • Have had an aggregated annual turnover between $75,000 and $50m (inclusive) for the year ended 30 June 2020; and
  • Have business costs for which there is no other government support available; and
  • Maintain employee headcount as at 13 July 2021; and
  • Have experienced a decline in turnover of at least 30% over a minimum 2-week period from 26 June 2021 to 17 July 2021, compared to the same period in 2019.  For businesses and not-for profits on the NSW border with Victoria impacted by lockdown orders that began on 27 May 2021, use the turnover period from 27 May 2021 to 17 July 2021 compared to the same period in May and/or June and/or July 2019.

GST concepts are used in determining whether the business has suffered a decline in turnover of at least 30%.

Businesses that are not able to meet all the eligibility criteria can still potentially qualify for the grant, but will need to contact ServiceNSW to discuss the situation before applying.

Businesses and not-for-profit organisations on the NSW border with Victoria impacted by the lockdown orders that began on 27 May 2021 may use a different comparison period to demonstrate a decline in turnover. For each of the 3 grant amounts, these businesses must demonstrate a decline in turnover over a minimum 2-week period from 27 May 2021 to 26 July 2021.

Non-employing businesses are not eligible to apply if persons associated with the business, and who derive income from it, have applied for, or are receiving, the Commonwealth COVID-19 Disaster Payment.

How to apply

Applications open on 19 July 2021 through ServiceNSW.

 

2. Cashflow Support of up to $10,000

A cashflow payment between a minimum of $1,500 and maximum of $10,000 per week based on 40% of the NSW payroll payments of your business (including not-for-profits).

Businesses without employees that meet the eligibility criteria such as sole traders, will be able to access a payment of $1,000 per week.

The cashflow support will cease when lockdown restrictions are eased or when the Commonwealth hotspot declaration is removed.

The cashflow support payments will be made weekly.

Eligibility

  • Annual turnover between $75,000 and $50 million
  • Demonstrate a 30% decline in turnover
  • Maintain your full time, part time and long term casual staffing level as of 13 July 2021
  • Impacted by the current Greater Sydney COVID-19 restrictions

How to apply

Applications for the cashflow support have not yet opened but you can register your interest from 14 July 2021 through ServiceNSW.

 

3. $1,500 Micro Business Grants

A new grant for micro businesses (including sole traders) providing $1,500 per fortnight while lockdown restrictions apply. The grants are available from week one of the lockdown until restrictions are eased.

Eligibility

  • Annual turnover of more than $30,000 and less than $75,000
  • Demonstrate a 30% decline in turnover
  • The business provides the primary income source for a person associated with the business
  • Impacted by the current Greater Sydney COVID-19 restrictions

How to apply

Applications for the cashflow support have not yet opened but you can register your interest through ServiceNSW.

 

4. Payroll tax relief

Payroll tax and lodgement deadline deferred

NSW payroll tax has been deferred for July and August 2021 until 7 October 2021 for all businesses. The due date for the 2020-21 annual reconciliation has also been deferred until 7 October 2021. Previous payroll tax deferrals and payment arrangements for 2020-21 due in July 2021 have not been deferred.

25% payroll tax waiver for businesses between $1.2m and $10m
Businesses with Australian wages of between $1.2 million and $10 million that have experienced a 30% decline in turnover, will be provided with a 25% payroll tax waiver in 2021-22. Further details of the reduction will be available by the end of August from RevenueNSW.

 

5. Rent protections and grants

Commercial and retail rent protections will be reinstituted.

 

6. Eviction moratorium

Legislative amendments will be introduced shortly providing a short-term eviction moratorium for rental arrears where a residential tenant suffers loss of income of 25% due to COVID-19 and meets certain other criteria. The moratorium applies to tenants with an annual turnover of $50 million or less.

Commercial and retail landlords will need to attempt mediation before recovering a security bond, or locking-out or evicting a tenant impacted by Public Health Orders.

 

7. Land tax relief

Land tax relief equal to the value of rent reductions provided by commercial, retail and residential landlords to financially distressed tenants will be available for up to 100% of the 2021 land tax liability.

 

8. Specific sector based support:

Arts community

A $75 million support package will be provided to the performing arts sector to be administered by Create NSW.

The package will be delivered in two stages:

  • Immediate support to provide relief to eligible organisations who were staging performances during the period covered by the Public Health Orders.
  • Funding available to support eligible organisations to reschedule performances once it is safe for restrictions to ease.

Eligible organisations include performing arts organisations with heavy reliance on box office income, including not-for-profit performing arts companies who were staging, or scheduled to stage performances during the lockdown period, commercial producers and some live music venues.

Organisations will need to provide evidence of performances scheduled, venues and average ticket prices.

CreateNSW will open applications from 23 July 2021.

Accommodation sector

A $26 million support package will be provided to the accommodation sector.

No further details are available at present.

 

Victoria

The Victorian Government has announced new cash grants for businesses impacted by the lockdown declared on 15 July 2021.

The cash grants will be paid automatically to businesses that successfully received a grant from the Business Costs Assistance Program Round Two or the Licensed Hospitality Venue Fund 2021 (including regional businesses).

  Top-up amount
Licensed Hospitality Venue Fund $3,000
Business Costs Assistance Program $2,000

 

You will not need to take any further action. The grant will automatically be paid. The payment will be processed from mid-July.

I did not apply for the original grants but would like to apply for the top-up?

BusinessVictoria has stated that more information is coming shortly on this question. The first step is to ensure that you were eligible for the original grants.

 

Northern Territory

The Territory Business Lockdown Payment Program provides a payment of $1,000 to eligible Territory enterprises with less than 20 full time equivalent staff.  Applications close on 16 July 2021.

 

Queensland

A Small Business COVID-19 Adaption Grant of between $2,000 and $10,000 is available to eligible regional Queensland businesses. The grant requires your business to have suffered a decline in turnover of at least 30% because of COVID-19 for at least one month since 23 March 2020. The grant is accessible to businesses with less than 20 staff.

 

Western Australia

A second round of Small Business Lockdown Assistance Grants of $3,000 are available to eligible businesses in Perth, Peel and regional WA impacted by recent lockdowns. Applications are not yet open but you can register for updates. Specific industry assistance is also available.

 

South Australia and ACT

Direct grants and funding to South Australian and ACT businesses are applicable when extended lock-downs are imposed.

 

Further help:

We will continue to provide details on government assistance as soon as the information is available. Should you have any questions about how these measures affect you or your business, please contact us and we can work with you to help you understand your position.

You can find out more about working with Marsh & Partners here. As your Absolute.Account.Ability partner we’re on a mission to make your business life better. We’ll help you set goals for your business, devise an Action Plan to make them happen and meet with you regularly to ensure you stay on track.

 

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