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The COVID-19 wage subsidy explained

March 31, 2020

Yesterday’s government announcement that all employees eligible under a brand-new scheme will receive a $1500 fortnightly subsidy has made massive waves. A lot of workers are asking questions, and at HSA, we want to get the facts straight. Here’s what you need to know about this new subsidy – and if you’re covered.

  • It applies to all businesses that meet the criteria.

Whether you’re working in a big salon with lots of staff, part of a chain store, or just a freelancer renting a chair – you are eligible for the subsidy provided your business has seen a 30% reduction in revenue since the 1st of March. If your business has had more than $1 billion in revenue, this is at 50%.

The hair and beauty industry has definitely seen a downturn since COVID-19, but check in with your employer to see if your salon is eligible, especially if you have been stood down without pay, and speak to HSA if you have any concerns.

  • It doesn’t matter if you’re stood down or still working – but it does if you’ve been made redundant.

As long as you were officially on the books as of March 1, 2020, then you’re eligible for the subsidy. The aim is to both support workers who have been stood down, and also make sure those people who are still working continue to have a job.

However, if you have been dismissed from your job since March 1, you will not be eligible for the subsidy unless you are put back on the books ASAP.

If this applies to you, you need to contact HSA immediately so we can help you become re-engaged with your employer.

  • The subsidy applies to full-time, part-time and casual workers, including sole traders.

All permanent full and part-time workers, as long as you were employed as of March 1, are eligible for the subsidy, Casual workers who have been employed for at least 12 months with their current employer are also eligible.

If you’re currently on maternity or paternity leave, you are still eligible, as long as you’re employed. Talk to your employer and reach out to HSA If you have any issues.

If you are a sole trader, you can also access the subsidy, but you’ll have to manage your own application.

  • Every eligible worker will receive the same amount.

You should receive the $1500 per fortnight as a minimum, no matter how many hours you usually work. Your employer cannot dock part of it if you are part-time or casual. If you are still at work and your fortnightly pay adds up to more than $1500, then your employer legally must pay the difference. You are also entitled to superannuation if you are still working, as well as all penalty rates and allowances.

The scheme is going to be administered through the ATO, and employers who want to stay up to date should enrol for updates here.

HSA understands this payment will make a huge difference to workers in the industry and we want to make sure that you receive your full, rightful entitlements. To protect yourself at work, become a member with HSA, and we will work one-on-one through issues you may have, such as re-engaging with your employer, receiving your full payments, or any workplace dispute. We’re here to back you all the way.

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