COVID-19 update - 2 April

2 April 2020

Your latest regular update. JobKeeper Payment eligibility, Business Endurance webinar covering cashflow, cost control and government assistance, a national campaign to keep the building industry working, 2-person rule, plus relief for Group Training Organisations (GTOs) and apprentices...

This COVID-19 member update is unlocked and free to all in the interests of the building and construction industry. Did you know members have exclusive access to information and our team of experts who are on hand to assist in a range of ways? Need more specific COVID-19 advice relating to contracts, WHS, employment conditions or the relief measures? Members can contact us or learn how to join so you can speak with our experts and get free advice.

JobKeeper Payment eligibility

Business impacted by the Coronavirus will be able to access a subsidy (the JobKeeper Payment) to continue paying employees. The subsidy will be a fortnightly payment of $1500 per eligible employee from 30 March 2020 for a maximum of six months.

Is my business eligible? 

If your business has a turnover under $1 billion, is not a bank and will be reduced by more than 30 per cent relative to a comparable period a year ago (of at least a month), you’re eligible.

I don’t have employees, am I eligible? 

If you’re self-employed and your business is eligible, then you’re eligible, too. You will need to register and each month monitor that you’re still to eligible for the payments. Payments will be made monthly in arrears.

Are my employees eligible? 

Your employees are eligible if on 1 March 2020 they:

  • Are employed full-time, part-time or as a long-term casual (at least 12 months)
  • Are at least 16 years old, and
  • Are an Australian citizen, or hold one of these visa types – permanent, protected special category, non-protected special category (who’s been residing continually in Australia for 10 years or more), or subclass 444.

Employees can only receive a JobKeeper Payment from one employer and must declare this as income, which may affect their eligibility for other payments from Services Australia.

How to register

Visit the ATO's website and Register now for JobKeeper updates. Complete the form (you'll need your business name, ABN, contact name, email address and mobile number).

The ATO will contact eligible businesses when online applications open - you will then need to identify your eligible employees.

Good news for GTOs and apprentices

The Department of Employment has confirmed how the Apprentice Wage Subsidy and JobKeeper Payments will interact. While employers cannot claim both payments at the same time, they will be able to claim one and then transfer to another.

Eligible apprentices employed or hosted by an eligible small business can be registered for the apprentice wage subsidy. The employer/host will receive a 50 per cent reimbursement for January to March, the employer (including a GTO) can then transfer across to the JobKeeper Payment and from that point on, they will receive $1500 per fortnight for the apprentice – this is paid monthly in arrears (noting that the apprentice's wage will need to be increased to $1500/fortnight before tax).

Businesses and GTOs that are eligible for both initiatives should express their interest in the JobKeeper Payment on the ATO website and contact their local Apprenticeship Support Network tomorrow to register for the Apprentice Wage Subsidy.

Free Business Endurance webinars

We've developed a brand new webinar series covering industry specific topics that relate to keeping your business going during COVID-19.

This free live 45 minute webinar series will provide you with expert advice to help you through COVID-19 business challenges - particularly on topics like finance, HR, IT, contracts and health and safety.


Get expert business financial advice and strategies to help you through these turbulent times. Join Michael Renton, CEO of Xact Accounting, as he shares the information you need on:

  • Financial management during the COVID-19 crisis
  • Cost control and cashflow strategies, forecasting your cash and debt accumulation
  • Government grants and assistance.


Working slower is better than no work at all

As we continue our push to keep builders and tradies working for longer, Master Builders Australia has launched a national campaign to support the industry.

Not only are we busy lobbying at all levels of government to keep the industry open for business and staff employed, the campaign is also designed to reinforce why following the social distancing and hygiene rules are so important.

We know the measures slow you down, but the message at the moment is clear, it's better to be working slower than not working at all.

2-person rule

We've fielded many calls from members regarding the 2-person rule in homes. Currently, our understanding is that this doesn't apply to builder and tradies coming into a home to perform work. However, we are seeking clarity on this issue from the Queensland Government.

In the meantime, use our Notice to supply to clients and Health Disclosure Form to reassure your clients you are doing all the right things to protect everyone's health.


We're trying to make it easier with loads of resources available:

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Help and advice

As usual, our staff are here to help. Whether you've got a question about protecting your business contractually, an employment or a health and safety question, our specialists are here and available to talk you through the options - get in touch.

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