JobKeeper deadline extension welcomed, uptake slow
Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman Kate Carnell has welcomed the JobKeeper deadline push, as it’s revealed only 540,000 businesses have so far applied.
Just over half of the 900,000 businesses that registered their interest in JobKeeper have applied for the measure due to begin next week, with many holding back due to the difficulty of meeting the turnover threshold and concerns about cash flow.
Ms Carnell, however, believes that by giving them more time, the ATO has eased the burden on small businesses.
Small businesses that had concerns about paying their staff the $1,500 fortnightly JobKeeper payment for the first month prior to payments flowing in early May now have until 8 May 2020 to ensure those payments have been made to their eligible employees.
“This will come as a welcome relief for small businesses struggling with cash flow,” Ms Carnell said.
“Small businesses now have extra time to deal with cash-flow pressures as a result of any delays with their financial arrangements.
“It’s especially critical now that those small businesses that had chosen not to apply for JobKeeper because they were worried they couldn’t pay their staff by April 30, do so now.”
The ASBFEO also applauded the big four banks that have established JobKeeper helplines that are dedicated to ensuring small businesses have the funding they need to pay their staff.
“They are promising to fast-track these applications. There are also some fintechs that have released products to help small businesses with cash flow,” Ms Carnell said.
She reminded small businesses struggling to pay their rent that they are only covered by the Mandatory Commercial Tenancy Code of Conduct if they are eligible for JobKeeper.
“This could be essential to your business’ survival.”
Businesses have until 31 May 2020 to formally enrol to claim JobKeeper payments.
However, the sooner an employer pays their staff for April and enrols, the sooner the ATO can reimburse them the JobKeeper payments.