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Updates to NSW JobSaver & COVID-19 Business Grant

16 August 2021

Updates to the NSW JobSaver Payment and COVID-19 Business Grant

Service NSW have updated the rules surrounding eligibility for the NSW JobSaver Payment & COVID-19 business grant and have had a significant focus on educating business to ensure the rules are operating as intended. To follow is a broad summary of the key changes and messages that are being relayed.

General Background

The fundamental purpose of these programs is to ensure that businesses in NSW will survive through the current COVID-19 restrictions and be able to continue operating once the restrictions are removed.

The COVID-19 business grant is a one off grant of $7,500, $10,500 or $15,000 and is designed to support business that experienced reduced demand or had to close due to the public health orders through the first 3 weeks of the COVID-19 restrictions (26 June to 17 July 2021) to cover their business costs.  Applications for this grant will close after 13 September 2021.

The JobSaver payment was then introduced to provide continuing fortnightly cash flow support to business that experienced reduced demand or had to close due to the public health orders to cover costs incurred from week 4 of the COVID-19 restrictions (i.e. from 18 July 2021 onwards).

It is important to note that these programs are NSW based programs and JobSaver is not an extension of the former federal JobKeeper program, the rules are very different.

Service NSW have also been stressing that while these funds are available to support eligible business in NSW, there are limited funds and have asked businesses to only apply for the programs if they are really in need of the support.

 

Key eligibility changes

The main change to eligibility for both programs was the introduction of multiple comparison periods for the reduction in turnover requirement.

  • For the COVID-19 business grants, you will pass the turnover reduction requirement if you can demonstrate your business has experienced a decline in turnover of 30% or more due to the Public Health Order over a minimum 2-week period from 26 June 2021 to 17 July 2021 compared to:
    • the same period in 2019, or
    • the same period in 2020, or
    • the 2-week period immediately before the Greater Sydney lockdown commenced (12 June to 25 June 2021)
  • For the JobSaver payment, you will pass the turnover reduction requirement if you can demonstrate your business has experienced a decline in turnover of 30% or more due to the Public Health Order over a minimum 2-week period impacted by the current NSW Public Health Orders (commenced 26 June and due to end 28 August 2021), compared to:
    • the same period in 2019  
    • the same period in 2020, or
    • the 2-week period immediately before lockdown commenced (12 June to 25 June 2021).

The purpose of providing these additional comparison periods was to make it easier for impacted business to access the support by recognising that there have been many external factors impacting business in recent years and to provide further options for business to pick a comparison period that represents their typical level of turnover.

If your business was significantly impacted by the COVID-19 restrictions but does not satisfy the general rules, Service NSW still encourages you to contact them directly so they can consider your business's particular circumstances.

 

Key eligibility considerations that are often overlooked

  1. When assessing if your business passes the 30%, 50% or 70% reduction in turnover requirements, not only do you need to have experienced the necessary reduction, but you must be able to support that the required level of reduction was due to the Public Health Orders (i.e. that the restrictions that are in place were the cause of the reduction and it wasn’t caused by some other factor such as seasonal conditions, general timing of the receipt of income, general downturn etc).
  2. If you have restructured your business from one legal structure to another but the business itself has continued, Service NSW have provided that the business may still be eligible. You will however require additional support/evidence to be able to demonstrate that the fundamental business has remained largely unchanged.
  3. Where multiple business activities are conducted under a single ABN, you need to assess the criteria when considering all these activities as a whole (e.g. you need to add all of the activities turnovers together, you can’t isolate one activity under the ABN).
  4. Where you have multiple legal structures which may include separate trading and employment entities, Service NSW have clarified that it will be the employment entity that needs to pass the criteria and apply. Service NSW have assumed that if the trading entity has decreased demand for labour this will flow through to the labour entity charging the trading entity less. While this may not always be the case and you may not satisfy the eligibility requirements under these general rules, again, you are able to contact Service NSW to consider your specific business circumstances.

 

The above information certainly does not cover all of the eligibility requirements but full details on the programs including links to the guidelines, terms and conditions, answers to common questions and the application process itself can be accessed using these links:

 

Please contact your local Boyce representative for any help or assistance.

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