Business & Property

TGB launches free COVID-19 Commercial and Business helpline

With the economy in a state of shock, business owners need sound legal advice more than ever, and it’s our wish to provide as much free commercial law assistance to as many people as we can during this crisis.

To aid this, TGB Lawyers has established a COVID-19 Commercial and Business helpline to provide free essential information to those in need of urgent legal, corporate, commercial and business advice.

If you need help, please call (08) 8205 1271 or email TGB commercial partner John Caruso at jcaruso@tgb.com.au with a detailed outline of your problem and concerns and our COVID-19 response team will arrange an initial free ½ hour telephone appointment with one of our team.

We now provide a further update and latest information on COVID-19 for South Australian Business.

We also provide links to all our recent COVID-19 Commercial and Business updates at the end of this update.

Moratorium on rental evictions for six (6) months

Who this applies to – commercial and residential tenancies impacted by financial stress caused by COVID-19

What this means – commercial and residential landlords cannot evict their tenants for failure to pay rent due to financial stress caused by COVID-19.

Landlords and tenants are encouraged to agree to rent relief/reduction or waiver of rent and/or temporary amendment to lease for impacted tenants.

For commercial tenancies – if landlords receive benefits, these benefits should also be passed down to their tenants.

When does this come into force – now.

Note – this is only if you are suffering significant  financial stress due to COVID-19.  If you can pay rent, you will need to continue to pay the rent.  This is a safety net put in place for people who are struggling financially.

$1,500.00 per fortnight JobKeeper Payments for six (6) months

Who this applies to – employees of businesses who have lost 30% of their revenue (or 50% for businesses with annual earnings of $1 billion).  This includes full-time workers, part-time workers, causal employees who have been with their employer for at least 12 months, sole traders and New Zealanders on 444 visas.  It is applicable to employees who were on the books from March 1 2020.  It includes not-for-profits, charities and sole traders.

What this means – if your employer has lost at least 30% of their revenue due to COVID-19, they can register for the JobKeeper payments.  This means that the Government will reimburse $1,500.00 per fortnight per employee.  This is a flat rate and is not dependent on your earnings – everyone is eligible for this same flat rate.  If you earn more than $1,500.00 per fortnight it is up to your employer to pay the difference, if able to.  These payments will continue for six months.

When does this come into force – the payments will commence from May 1 2020, however will be backdated from 30 March 2020, being the date that the package was announced.

Note: You are not entitled to both the JobSeeker and JobKeeper payments.  It is recommended that you check with your employer to see if your employer is registering with the ATO for JobKeeper payments prior to discontinuing any JobSeeker application.  For more information regarding JobSeeker payments, see Centrelink.

How to access this – the employer must register through the ATO.  Further details regarding this will be released in due course.

Deferral of loan repayments for six (6) months

Who this applies to – small businesses, sole traders who have been impacted by COVID-19

What this means – the Australian Banking Association announced that they will defer loan repayments for six months

Temporary relief for financially distressed businesses

Who this applies to – small businesses facing insolvency or bankruptcy due to COVID-19

What this means – A temporary six (6) month increase to the threshold amount that creditors can take action against a company.  It has been increased from $2,000.00 to $20,000.00.  There has also been an increase in time that companies are able to respond to statutory demands, increased from 21 days t six (6) months

Temporary freezing of mortgage repayments

Who this applies to – people struggling to meet their home loan repayments due to the financial stress of COVID-19.  Banks are differing slightly in their approaches, so it is recommended that you get in contact with your bank manager to discuss what options are available to you.

Small business cash payments

Who this applies to – not-for-profits (including charities), small and medium sized businesses with an annual turnover less than $50 million

What does this mean- not-for-profits/small businesses can receive a tax-free cash payment of up to $100,000.00,with a minimum payment of $20,000.00 for eligible businesses.

Small business – Commonwealth guarantee for unsecured loans

Who this applies to – not-for-profits and small businesses with an annual turnover less than $50 million

What does this mean – the Commonwealth is offering to guarantee unsecured loans of up to $250,000.00 for up to three (3) year

Small business – apprentice and trainee wage assistance

Who this applies to – small businesses who employ fewer than 20 full-time staff, some of which are apprentices and/or trainees

What this means – you may be eligible for a wage subsidy to help retain your apprentices/trainees.  The wage subsidy is 50% of an apprentice/trainee wage paid from 1 January 2020 to 30 September 2020.  Employers can register for the subsidy from early April 2020.

Other SA Government Initiatives

Waiver of liquor licence fees for businesses that have been forced to close due to social distancing restrictions

With the uncertainty surrounding the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic we want to reassure our clients, friends, family, loved ones, business owners, tenants, landlords and the community at large that TGB Commercial team is here to provide you with any support and pragmatic advice you may require.

In these troubled times we are calm and ready to provide you with sensible advice for any legal or commercial crisis that you may be experiencing.

Communication is the key and we are ready – right here – right now to assist you with the things that are within your control and advise you and prepare for the things that are beyond your control.

Remember, if you need advice, we have established a COVID-19 Commercial and Business helpline to provide free essential information to those in need of urgent legal, corporate, commercial and business advice.

Please call (08) 8205 1271 or email TGB commercial partner John Caruso at jcaruso@tgb.com.au with a detailed outline of your problem and concerns and our COVID-19 response team will arrange an initial free ½ hour telephone appointment with one of our team.