COVID-19 Business Update – 10 December 2020

Welcome back to our Weekly Digest. We hope you and your family are safe and doing well. Read on for this week’s updates and some ideas that will help us all overcome this crisis.

Australia Bounces Out of Recession As Economy Grows 3.3%

Australia’s economy grew by 3.3% in the third quarter as it rebounded from its first recession in nearly 30 years. This rebound in Q3 GDP reversed around 40% of the decline during the first half of the year and it is expected to return to pre-pandemic levels by mid-2021.

Australia Stocks Extend Rally to 6th Day

The Australian stock market finished higher for the sixth straight session on Tuesday, after an improvement in business sentiment. At closing bell, the benchmark S&P/ASX200 climbed 12.71 points, or 0.19%.

Business Confidence Hits 31-Month High

The results of the latest NAB survey revealed that Australian business confidence is at a 31-month high, as the economy reacts positively to improvements in the pandemic situation.

The index of business confidence jumped 9 points in November to +12, clocking its fourth straight monthly gain, while conditions surged 7 points to +9.

Western Australia has Removed Quarantine Requirements for More Travellers

WA began to allow travellers from Victoria and New South Wales to enter without having to quarantine for the first time in eight months, in the latest sign the country is returning to some kind of normalcy. The move comes as Australia’s two most populous states have seen little to no new cases in recent weeks.

Australia Extends Overseas Travel, Cruise Ship Restrictions

Australia has extended its international travel restrictions until 17 March 2021. During this period, cruise ships’ movement and outbound international travel will be limited, and retail stores at international airports in the country will be restricted.

Australians will still only be able to leave the country with specific exemptions.

JobMaker Hiring Credits Explained

The JobMaker Hiring Credits scheme involves wage subsidies for businesses that increase their number of staff by employing young workers aged 16-35 years old. Credits can be claimed for employees hired between 7 October 2020 and 6 October 2021, with businesses able to claim up to a total of $10,400 per eligible employee over the 1-year period for those aged 16-29 years old, and $5,200 for those aged 30-35 years old.

To be eligible, these new employees will have been receiving a government payment such as JobSeeker, Youth Allowance, or the Parenting Payment for at least two of the six fortnights before you hired them. Also, employees must work a minimum average of 20 hours per week during the JobMaker period.

The JobMaker hiring credits will be paid quarterly, starting February 1, 2021. You may register via the ATO website or contact us to assist you.

Changes in Casual Employment

There have been significant changes for Casual Employment, which involves overtime pay rates in some awards. If your award has been affected by these changes but you failed to update your systems, you run the risk of underpaying your staff.

You may check if your award was updated by accessing the Fair Work Commission’s Schedule of Determinations here.

If you find a mistake has been made, you need to work out how long the employee has been underpaid, how much was actually paid and should have been paid, and back pay the employee. Make sure to include the overtime, penalty rates, and superannuation when paying the variance.

Contact us if you have any questions.

COVID-19 Restrictions Outlined

The federal, state, and territory governments have put COVID-19 restrictions in place to prevent the spread of the virus. Details of the plan to ease these restrictions over time, domestic travel restrictions and remote area access, advice for international travellers, the framework for national reopening, and the Pandemic Health Intelligence Plan can be found here.

Financial Help and Free Mentorship For Online Businesses

Micro and small business operators can get financial assistance and free mentoring through a government-funded programme called New Enterprise Incentive Scheme (NEIS).

New entrepreneurs can access free mentoring for the first 12 months of participation in the program and receive financial assistance for up to the first 39 weeks of business operation.

Existing micro-businesses impacted by COVID-19 can access NEIS if they need help to keep their businesses running.

Also, people with part-time contracts, who are working up to 25 hours per week, can access NEIS if they are looking to start their own business.

You can learn more about this government assistance here. Alternatively, you can contact us so we can also help you evaluate other funding and business support options you may be eligible for.

Business Growth Fund Launched

The government-backed Australian Business Growth Fund has launched to ensure small- and medium-sized businesses have access to equity finance, as the country recovers from the COVID-19 crisis.

The fund will allow Australian businesses to apply for long-term equity capital investments between $5 million and $15 million, where they have generated annual revenue between $2 million and $100 million and can demonstrate three years of revenue growth and profitability.

If you need help assessing your eligibility or to consider other financing options, don’t hesitate to contact us for guidance.

Government-backed COVID-19 Loans Extended

The government is extending its small business COVID-19 loans scheme until June 2021. If you need help to access these loans or you want to find out if you are eligible, don’t hesitate to drop us a message.

Best Online Booking Systems to Check Out

As COVID-19 restrictions continue to ease and businesses start to reopen, having a reliable scheduling app could make the life of a business owner much easier. Here are some of the best online booking systems you might want to use for your business:

Acuity Scheduling

Who’s it for?

  • General businesses
  • Fitness studios
  • Education/ coaching
  • Salons and spas

Key Features

  • 2 minute set-up demo
  • Customers can view real-time availability
  • Self-booking
  • Time zone auto-adjust
  • Automatic reminders for customers
  • Stripe, Square, and PayPal integration

Calendly

Who’s it for?

  • General businesses

Key Features

  • Powerful integrations including: Zoom, GoToMeeting, Facebook, Google Calendar, Office 365, Stripe, and Paypal
  • Flexible meeting type options
  • Advanced analytics options
  • Intelligent scheduling with caps and buffers

Setmore

Who’s it for?

  • General businesses
  • Beauty and wellness
  • Salons and spas
  • Consulting/sales
  • Trades businesses

Key Features

  • One-click video appointments option
  • Free package comes with one to four staff logins
  • Integrations with other apps including: Facebook, Instagram, Slack, Google Calendar, Office 365, Xero, and QuickBooks
  • Weekly projected revenue reporting options

Mindbody

Who’s it for?

  • Salons and spas
  • Fitness studios
  • Beauty and wellness

Key Features

  • Subscription fee relief for specific businesses
  • Price increase suspended for 2020
  • Powerful peer business support through Mindbody One
  • Advanced marketing options
  • POS (point of sale) integration options

GigaBook

Who’s it for?

  • General businesses
  • Technology teams

Key Features

  • Multiple integrations including: Stripe, PayPal, Office 365, and QuickBooks
  • Advanced dashboard and reporting
  • Open API
  • Easy rescheduling
  • Automated reminders
  • Intelligent booking capacity tools

Get in touch

Contact us if you have any questions.

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