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24 April 2020

Small businesses impacted by COVID-19 urged to apply for JobKeeper

The Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman Kate Carnell is concerned by reports many small businesses may not be applying for the JobKeeper payment because they can’t pay staff by April 30.

“Small businesses that believe they are eligible to apply for JobKeeper really must do so quickly,” Ms Carnell says.

“There have been reports that some small businesses, particularly in the tourism and hospitality sectors, have not applied for JobKeeper because they cannot pay $1,500 for each eligible staff member per fortnight.

“The big four banks have established JobKeeper help lines that are dedicated to this issue alone. There are lines of credit that are readily available so that you can pay your staff in the lead up to the initial payment from the ATO at the start of May, which will be a month in arrears.

“The banks are promising to fast-track these applications, so you can get the necessary funds you need to pay your staff.

“It’s especially critical that small businesses that are struggling to pay their rent apply for the JobKeeper payment for their staff because you are only covered by the Mandatory Commercial Tenancy Code of Conduct if you are eligible for JobKeeper. This may be essential to your business’ survival.

“Above all, we want to see small business survive this difficult time, so they can thrive on the other side. JobKeeper provides the practical financial support small businesses need as we wait for this health crisis to pass.”