This week, the Coronavirus was labelled a pandemic. In Australia we’ve seen the Grand Prix cancelled, Miley Cyrus cancel her tour and the AFL season in a state of flux. The US has postponed Coachella, paused the NBA and banned all travel to Europe. In Italy, the entire country is in lockdown.
So yes, we know you might be sick of hearing about it but it is crucial that you are planned for what happens if you, or your workplace, is affected by the Coronavirus.
This week, the Federal Government has announced a stimulus package focused on keeping Australians in work amidst the Coronavirus Pandemic. A primary focus of this package is to keep apprentices employed in small businesses, with up $7000 in wage subsidies being offered to small businesses with existing apprentices and trainees.
So, what does this mean for you?
If you are an apprentice or trainee, this means that nothing should change for you. The cash injection is designed to support the jobs of the approximate 120,000 apprentices and trainees working for small businesses. The key things to note are:
- The money will be paid directly to your employer
- The money will cover 50% of your wage for up to nine months for eligible employers
- Your salary should not be impacted by this subsidy
If your employer is not able to keep you on, this subsidy will be available to eligible businesses who agree to take you on as a new employee. Be sure to mention this in interviews if you do find yourself looking for a new job. You can also find some job hunting resources via the AAPathways website here.
“This won’t just help small businesses, it will assist the whole of Australia maintain economic health,” Council of Small Business Organisations Australia CEO, Peter Strong, said.
The stimulus package also includes a one-off $750 payment to around 6.5 million Australian’s, including those that receive ABSTUDY (Living Allowance), Austudy, Newstart Allowance and Youth Allowance. You can see all the eligible payment recipients here.
To be eligible for the payment you must have lodged a claim by 12 March, 2020 and payments will start from 31 March, 2020 – with majority of payments to hit bank accounts mid-April 2020.
What happens if you have to self-isolate?
It is a good idea to talk to your employer about the possibility of self-isolation, and request that a response-plan is put into place. Some workplaces may be able to offer a work from home option during isolation; however, it is important to consider that if you are unwell you may not have the capacity to work.