Allain Pool, a partner in Melbourne’s Press Print, says without a doubt the extended JobKeeper arrangement and increased flexibility around eligibility will keep many businesses from hitting the wall in the coming months but says saving now for when the support ends is crucial.
With Victoria now in renewed COVID-19 lockdowns, the federal government has extended JobKeeper until March 2021 and eased the rules around eligibility and turnover tests.
Under the new arrangements, staff that have been employed since July 1 can access JobKeeper, rather than the original March 1 cut-off.
JobKeeper itself will reduce from the current $1500 a fortnight to $1200 a fortnight by the end of September and then down to $1000 a fortnight from January 4, 2021.o
Businesses have been given a little extra grace when it comes to reporting. In order to continue receiving JobKeeper in the fourth quarter they need to report their 30 per cent actual revenue loss by September 28. A similar review will take place by January 4 for the first quarter of 2021.
Pool says Press Print, like many other print operations, has been hit significantly by COVID and expects the usual busy pre-Christmas busy period to be down so the extended JobKeeper lifeline is significant.
Save now for later
But he advises business owners to use this time that the JobKeeper scheme is covering wages to “save your bickies” for when the support ends.
“Absolutely, the extension of JobKeeper will have a dramatic impact. Firstly it means we can keep all of our staff and not jeopardise the company,” Pool told Sprinter.
“It’s guaranteed the safety of all staff and its given businesses another nine months to get their houses in order and save away money so that they can keep going beyond the time when the help stops.
“We are still pretty positive, but I think the key is to save all your bickies now, in spite of what the government is giving and in spite of all the other help that is around. You have got to be hiding money now, putting it away for when all the help does stop and you’ve got to stand up entirely on your own feet.
“A lot of businesses won’t be in a position to do this or they may not have the right mindset to do this.”
Pool believes a continuation of JobKeeper will be necessary beyond March 2021 but perhaps at a 20 per cent level to what is currently being provided.
“As JobKeeper goes down businesses are going to have to have enough money stored away to pay the difference,” he said.
“But I still hope that beyond March, the government tips in a very small amount of money and that will be just as business ramps up. It will be a year before business gets back to any sort of normality, but I don’t think we could ask anymore for what they have done.”
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