COVID-19 update - 31 March

31 March 2020

Your latest regular update. JobKeeper Payment announced, apply for temporary changes to work hours to assist with social distancing, ensure your insurance covers site shutdown and more.

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 announced

Under the JobKeeper Payment the government will pay employers $1,500 per fortnight per employee for up to six months, with some criteria.  Generally it will be paid to employers whose turnover will be reduced by more than 30% relative to a comparable period a year ago (of at least a month).  Both employers and self-employed individuals are covered

Eligible employers can claim the payment for employees who are both employed now and were employed back on 1 March 2020. It includes those stood down, working full-time, part-time, and long-term casuals. A casual must have been employed on a regular basis for longer than 12 months as at 1 March 2020.

If an employee still gainfully employed ordinarily earns $1,500 or more per fortnight, before tax, they will continue to receive their usual income. If an employee ordinarily earns less than $1,500 in income per fortnight before tax, their employer must pay the employee a minimum of $1,500 per fortnight.

If an employee has been stood down, their employer must pay their employee, $1,500 per fortnight.

The subsidy will start on 30 March 2020, with the first payments to employers as a reimbursement, made at the beginning of May.

Find out more information on eligibility or apply to register your interest with the Australian Tax Office.

Extended working hours makes social distancing easier

To make it easier to comply with social distancing requirements, the Queensland Government has agreed to allow for extended operating times on Queensland building sites.

This will include longer hours during the week and working on both Saturday and Sunday.

Allowing seven day operations will make it easier to manage trades on site at any given time and comply with the social distancing requirements.

While local governments currently set the rules for operating times (to manage noise levels), this change will allow builders to apply to the Department of State Development for extended hours on a particular site.

You can apply for a temporary use licence by downloading the application form and submitting via email.

How to complete the form

  1. Section 3.1: Choose 'other restriction'.
  2. Section 3.2: Provide the description 'construction work hours'
  3. Section 4.4: Explain that you intend to extend construction working hours to enable staggered trades to comply with COVID-19 social distancing requirements.

Applications will be considered within 24 hours.

If you need assistance completing the application form, get in touch.

Insurance coverage for temporary shutdown

There may come a point where you need to temporarily shut down one of your sites. During any shutdown period it is essential that your building site is secure, clean and safe. Having the right insurance coverage is really important.

Most construction works policies include a Cessation of Works clause that will maintain insurance cover while a job site is shut down. The period of time allowable under a policy will vary depending on the policy.

Some are only for 30 days, however Master Builders policy provides for 60 consecutive calendar days - so it's vital you check the cover period provided by your policy, as you may need to request an extension.

If you're insurance is through Master Builders Insurance Services or if it's not and you'd like to talk through options, we urge you to get in touch to discuss the cover provided under your policy.*

*A division of Queensland Master Builders Association Industrial Organisation of Employers. Australian Financial Services Licence No 246834 ABN 96 641 989 386. Information contained herein is of a general nature and has not taken into account the particular insurance needs of any individual, business or person.

Lobbying update

It remains our number one priority to keep construction as an essential service for as long as possible.

To keep the industry open whilst ensuring workers remain safe, we've joined forces with the CFMEU Qld/NT to lobby the State Government.

Information you need

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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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