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COVID-19 Business Update

COVID-19 Business Update

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As Western Australia braces to open its borders to the rest of the country, a close eye has been kept on other states and their business operations in response to COVID -19.

A major cause for concern is the overwhelming staff shortages caused by isolation requirements, vaccination rates and falling ill with COVID-19.

Jim Stanford from the Centre for Future Work told ABC News that worker absenteeism in essential services like healthcare, childcare centres and aged care could present a “life-threatening catastrophe.”

“Shortages are affecting everything from your neighbourhood coffee shop or pub, up to major corporations, factories, transportation companies,” he said.

Mandatory vaccinations for WA workers

The WA state government released in December the mandatory vaccination health directions for critical business workers, affecting those in the retail, hospitality, and accommodation sectors.

Direction Summary

  • From 12:01am on 1 January 2022, a critical business worker, must not enter, or remain at, a critical business site if they have not received one dose of an approved COVID-19 vaccine.
  • From 12:01am on 1 February 2022, a critical business worker, must not enter, or remain at, a critical business site if they have not received both doses of an approved COVID-19 vaccine.
  • A critical business worker must receive their third vaccination within one month of becoming eligible for the booster.

Who is considered a critical business worker?

Under these Directions, a critical business worker is:

  • Employed to carry out activities or provide goods or services at a critical business site, including any voluntary or unpaid workers
  • An apprentice, cadet, trainee, or is on work experience at a critical business site
  • An owner, occupier, operator, or person in charge of a critical business site; and
  • A tradesperson who services a critical business site or a delivery driver delivering goods to a critical business site.

Information courtesy of the Small Business Development Corporation of WA

Can you reward staff for COVID 19 Vaccination?

There are opportunities to offer incentives to staff for getting their vaccination or booster dose.

Incentives and rewards may include:

  • Cash payments
  • Paid leave
  • Transport to and from the vaccination
  • Non-cash gifts, vouchers and gift cards
  • Work from home

If you are providing employees with a cash payment, you must:

  • include the payment in your employee’s salary and wages
  • withhold tax from the payment amount under pay as you go withholding
  • include the amount in your employee’s ordinary time earnings (for your super contributions for your employee.)

Australian Taxation Office – Small Business Newsroom

Fringe benefits tax (FBT) on non-cash benefits

According to the ATO:

“Rewarding employees in non-cash benefits like paid leave, vouchers and gift cards, and work from home options, could result in payment of FBT on these benefits unless an exemption – such as the minor benefits, work-related preventative health care or in-house benefits exemption – applies.”

More information? See the links below

For more information on incentives and rewards click HERE

For more information on your obligations as an employer click HERE

To find out what the approved forms of evidence of COVID-19 vaccinations are click HERE

To discuss financial and employee strategies for your business, contact the team at Elevate Accounting for an obligation free chat today.

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