Posted on Wednesday, 2nd April, 2020
Social distancing measures across the country due to COVID-19 are resulting in mass job losses and serious cutbacks to working hours for hospitality employees. From Thursday 27 March 2020, restaurants and cafés were prohibited from providing sit-down service. While businesses may still offer delivery and takeaway meals, some have chosen to close altogether.
Since it can be hard to quickly locate relevant industry-by-industry information, we’ve compiled an up-to-the-minute resource of assistance packages that are available to hospitality employees today.
- If you have lost work and aren’t already receiving social service support, apply to Centrelink for the Coronavirus (COVID-19) payment.
- Talk to your bank about a six-month loan repayment holiday and discuss rent relief with your landlord.
- Carefully consider the idea of accessing some of your superannuation.
- Check the COVID-19 response website for your state or territory and learn about the assistance being offered. To find out more, read this related article.
- Make sure you stay as active as possible to support your emotional wellbeing.
Starting from 27 April 2020 and for the following six months, the federal government will pay a new coronavirus supplement of $550 a fortnight to people eligible to receive the JobSeeker payment, youth allowance or parenting payment. The payment is automatic to those already receiving one of these allowances. Those not currently receiving a payment should contact Services Australia: www.servicesaustralia.gov.au/individuals/news/more-financial-support-people-affected-coronavirus.
Do this: Make a claim at Centrelink using your MyGov ID.
On 30 March 2020, the federal government announced its wage subsidy programme, JobKeeper. The scheme is designed to keep workers who have been laid off in a job by paying their employers a sum of $1,500 a fortnight to be passed on to each of their workers. Payments will be delivered in May but backdated to 1 March. The government expects the package to run for six months.Do this: If you have been laid off, this scheme requires you to do nothing as you will be paid in the normal way via your employer.
Do this: If you have been laid off, this scheme requires you to do nothing as you will be paid in the normal way via your employer.
As part of the expanded access to the coronavirus supplement, there is help for casual employees who can’t work as a result of falling sick or having to self-isolate. Details on how to apply can be found here: www.servicesaustralia.gov.au/individuals/subjects/affected-coronavirus-covid-19.
Do this: If you meet residence rules and income tests, apply now for a youth allowance, JobSeeker payment or parenting payment at Centrelink using your MyGov ID.
The federal government is allowing early access to superannuation for those who are unemployed, have been laid off or have had their working hours reduced by 20% or more.
Two sums of $10,000 are available, one in each of the current and upcoming financial years. To find out more, visit: www.ato.gov.au/individuals/super/withdrawing-and-using-your-super/early-access-to-your-super
Please note that accountants and superannuation experts are urging caution for people considering this option, as you could be cashing in your super at a time when your balance has already taken a hit due to falling markets. The advice seems consistent–only make a withdrawal from your super if absolutely necessary as you could be locking in losses.
Do this: Apply from mid-April to the Australian Tax Office via my.gov.au.
Mortgage or rental costs can be the biggest concern for an individual who has lost a job or is enduring a significant drop in their income.
For information related to rent relief in your state or territory, contact your local tenants’ union (the tenants’ union of New South Wales has links to services nationwide at www.tenants.org.au/blog/renting-and-covid-19-information.
It’s important to note that the National Cabinet has agreed to a moratorium on evictions for the next six months for residential tenants who are experiencing financial distress due to the impact of COVID-19.
Some banks have agreed to defer mortgage repayments on owner-occupied and investment loans, although this could be at a cost to borrowers. At this stage it is expected that the deferred interest will be added to the outstanding loan amount, and could also extend the term of the loan.
Do this: Talk to your landlord, local tenancy union or lender if you need relief on your home repayments or rent as a result of a change in circumstances due to COVID-19.