? Health News
– Greater Sydney (including the Wollongong region, Blue Mountains and Central Coast) continues to be under more strict restrictions than the rest of NSW at the moment – see here for more details: https://www.nsw.gov.au/covid-19/what-you-can-and-cant-do-under-rules/greater-sydney If you have been in this area, be vigilant for symptoms, get tested straight away and wear a face mask indoors. Face masks must now also be worn in all NSW airports and on domestic commercial flights into and out of NSW.
– Restrictions remain the same outside of Greater Sydney – we are encouraged to wear face masks indoors, maintain hygiene and get tested even if for the mildest of symptoms. NSW Health is also recommending delaying non-essential travel between Greater Sydney and rural and regional areas.
– Victorian state borders have now opened to rural and regional NSW (everywhere outside of Greater Sydney), with a permit required. Restrictions remain in place for the NSW-Queensland border.
ℹ COVID in the Workplace Update
– A reminder that electronic recording of patrons is now mandatory for a variety of businesses in NSW to ensure ease of COVID tracing – visit this website for the list and how to set it up: https://www.nsw.gov.au/covid-19/being-covid-safe/check-in
– Make sure your COVID-Safe plan is in place, and you are still adhering to it!
– Are you prepared for how a new outbreak of COVID-19 in your area might affect your business? It’s essential to have a disaster management plan in place, as demonstrated over the Christmas break by the outbreak in Sydney’s northern beaches.
– The government still intends to end the JobKeeper assistance scheme on 28 March 2021. Make sure you are planning accordingly and maintaining communication with your employees.
– Are you an SME with apprentices or trainees? If you haven’t already applied for the Supporting Apprentices and Trainees wage subsidy, you still can. Visit https://treasury.gov.au/coronavirus/businesses/apprentices-and-trainees for the details.
– Not sure what government support you might be eligible for? Review the Treasury fact page about coronavirus support for business here: https://treasury.gov.au/coronavirus/businesses
? In Business & Employment News:
– Uber has avoided a landmark ruling in the federal court by settling a case against a delivery driver who claimed she was unfairly dismissed. The settlement comes amid debate as to whether those working for “gig employers” like Uber should be reclassified as employees rather than independent contractors.
– A group of Australian Unions has sought leave to appeal to the High Court over a landmark judgment on how JobKeeper payments can be applied. Many Qantas staff are paid their regular wages in one fortnight and any overtime in the next; if they are stood down or don’t work in the second fortnight, their overtime payments are partially or fully absorbed into their JobKeeper payment for that fortnight, effectively forfeiting the full value of the overtime they worked in the previous fortnight. Qantas is also facing legal challenges from unions relating to access to sick leave and outsourcing of ground-handling work.
– The Small Business Ombudsman is proposing a system of HECS-style loans for small businesses to help them avoid financial strain after JobKeeper ends. Under this system, low or zero interest loans could be provided to struggling business to be repaid when they reach a certain level of revenue.