Sydney employers affected by stay-at-home orders need more financial support

Published June 25, 2021 -
Syd Lockdown 2.0

More financial support for Sydney employers affected by the latest lockdown will be needed to help alleviate the stress and mental health toll that comes with running a business.

From 11:59pm, the local government council areas of Woollahra, Waverley, Randwick and the City of Sydney will be locked down until 11:59pm Friday 2nd July. This affects residents in the affected areas, as well as those who work there.

The state government has told business owners in the affected areas who are not considered essential that they must close to help stop the spread of the latest COVID-19 cluster.

During Victoria’s recent fourth lockdown, the federal government announced a temporary COVID disaster payment to help eligible workers who have their hours of work and income significantly affected due to state lockdowns, while the Victorian government provided a small support package for employers.

Employsure, Australia’s largest workplace relations, is calling for similar employer support for small business owners affected by the latest Sydney lockdown, as well as continued collaboration between state leaders and their federal counterparts to ensure greater support is provided to SMEs where, and when, it is needed

“There is no disputing that action is required to stop the spread of the virus, particularly given the highly contagious nature of the strain. However, it is imperative that the government understand the cost of operating a business runs far deeper than simply paying staff a wage, and small business owners will feel this financial pressure over the coming week,” said senior employment relations advisor Michael Wilkinson.

“There is high the cost of rent, stock, electricity, internet, equipment, and more to consider, as well as the entitlements employees still accrue, like annual leave. When businesses are forced to close because of a lockdown, it doesn’t automatically stop these costs from accumulating.”

Regardless, non-essential employers who are told to close must abide by the rules. Not only will they incur a fine if they fail to do so, but they risk the health of their staff, customers, and clients. If an employee or independent contractor tests positive to COVID-19 over the coming days, and has physically been in the workplace while infected, their employer must notify health authorities as soon as they become aware.

For essential employers who can remain open in a limited capacity, they must follow all protocols correctly. If they have workers or customers coming into the workplace, they must ensure they’re meeting their health and safety responsibilities and complying with their legal obligations, as well as following any specific government directions.

State governments hold all the cards when it comes to public health directions, and it is their decision on whether or not to go into lockdown when there is a COVID-19 outbreak. 

“More support means less hardship for both employers and their staff. But if employers do not have that extra support, it has a flow on effect to workers, as they eventually won’t have a place of employment to go back to,” concluded Mr Wilkinson.

Further enquiries:

Matthew Bridges

[email protected]

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