Coronavirus - Help for Business



There is not a corner of the world that is unaffected by the COVID-19 pandemic and the reality is that, at this stage, no one knows how long it is going to last and what the world will be like when it does finally end.


In past downturns, such as the Global Financial Crisis, the Recruitment/Staffing Industry has almost acted as the "canary in the coalmine" as it is often the first to feel any oncoming negative economic outlook and to some extent provides a glimpse of the future for the rest of the economy.


This crisis is very different indeed and just about every business has been hit at the same time (notably some sectors harder & faster than others). As each week has passed, things have got exponentially worse making it more or less impossible for any business to adapt to the changing landscape.


It is not easy to tell when things are going to be better, it may be in a few weeks, a few months or longer but one thing for sure is that when the worst of the virus is passed there is likely to be a significant upswing in business activity - in all sectors but particularly in the Recruitment/Staffing Industry.


Governments across Australia & New Zealand have announced a variety of economic measures to assist businesses throughout the crisis so that as many businesses as possible emerge on the other side ready and able to rebuild.


Below is a summary of Government help being currently being provided to businesses (such as Recruitment/Staffing Agencies) in Australia & New Zealand (click on each heading to see the details);



  • Providing up to $100,000 to eligible small and medium-sized businesses, and not for-profits (NFPs) that employ people, with a minimum payment of $20,000
  • temporary relief for directors from any personal liability for trading while insolvent, and providing temporary flexibility in the Corporations Act 2001
  • Increasing the instant asset write-off to $150,000 (and expanding the turnover threshold for this to businesses with a turnover upto $500 million)
  • A wage subsidy of 50 per cent of an apprentice’s or trainee’s wage for 9 months from 1 January 2020 to 30 September 2020 - Employers will be reimbursed up to a maximum of $21,000 per eligible apprentice or trainee ($7,000 per quarter)
  • Provide a guarantee of 50 per cent to SME lenders to support new short-term unsecured loans to SMEs - this is to enhance lenders' willingness and ability to provide credit

Further information is available on the Australian Government Treasury website.

  • To provide access to interest free deferrals of payroll tax commencing 1 July 2020 for all businesses up to a payroll threshold of $10 million

Further information is available on the ACT Government website.

  • The waiver of payroll tax for businesses with payrolls of up to $10 million for three months (the rest of 2019-20).
  • Bringing forward the next round of payroll tax cuts by raising the threshold limit to $1 million in 2020-21

See link for further information.

  • The payroll tax exemption for hiring Territory employees has been extended to 30 June 2021
  • All Territory businesses will be able to access a $10,000 grant, followed by an additional $10,000 grant if they contribute $10,000 of their own
  • Small Business Survival Fund - details to be announced

See link for further information.

  • A new $500 million loan facility, interest free for the first 12 months, to support businesses to keep Queenslanders in work
  • A refund two months’ worth of payroll tax for small and medium businesses (* just announced<)/li>
  • A three-month payroll tax holiday (* just announced)
  • 6-month payroll tax deferral will also be extended to all businesses across the State. This payroll tax relief means that businesses will not need to lodge or pay payroll tax returns until 31 July 2020

See link for further information on the QLD Government Job Support Loans.

To apply for a payroll tax deferral, click here.

SA Government has announced a $350 million stimulus package but as yet not provided details.

  • Businesses with payrolls of up to $5 million will be able to apply, based on the impact of virus, to have their payroll tax waived for April to June 2020

See link for further information.

  • Will fully refund 2019/2020 payroll tax paid for any business with a payroll of less than $3 million
  • Small & Medium businesses will be able to defer 2020/21 payroll tax until January 2021
  • $500 million fund to assist small & medium businesses

Further information is available on the Business Victoria website.

  • Payroll tax threshold increasing to $1 million from July 1, 2020, six months earlier than planned.
  • Payroll tax paying businesses with a payroll between $1 million and $4 million will receive a one-off grant of $17,500 to assist them to manage the impacts of COVID-19.

Further information is on the WA Government website.

New Zealand

  • Wage Subsidy Scheme - ($585.50 for people working more than 20 hours a week, $350 for people working less than 20 hours) - with no cap (was previously $150,000 per business).
  • COVID-19 Leave & Self Isolation Payments
  • Increasing the provisional tax threshold to $5,000 from 2020/21
  • Increasing the small asset depreciation thresholds

Further information is available on the NZ Government website.