Another 24 hours, and again the landscape has changed. The Government continues to monitor and adapt to the economic conditions we are all facing – as must we.
Looking at the growth in Covid19 cases across Australia, including here in South Australia, and weighing those up against the measures to enforce social distancing here and around the globe, it is fair to say we will be in ‘lockdown’ sooner rather than later.
What ‘lockdown’ looks like, we don’t know. This will only become clear once the government puts those measures in place.
On 17 March the AICSA released a Covid-19 update that included advice on preparing to work from home. If you did not heed that advice then, I suggest you heed it now. When the government decides to ‘lockdown’ it will be quick and it will be complete. If you choose not to heed the advice then I believe you do so at your own peril.
The AICSA suggests you undertake the following to prepare yourself:
· Contact your IT provider and ensure you and your staff can work from home
· Speak to your staff about the importance of social distancing and hygiene
· Speak to your staff about alternate arrangements as to pay and hours to ensure the business can remain afloat
· Seek advice from a qualified professional as to your staff entitlements and your obligations under their contract or any award (See AICSA email dated 23 March which included an excellent starter guide from Business SA)
· Speak to your accountant and ask them to prepare a forward cash flow and P & L, taking into account the stimulus measures, so you have a clear picture of where your business sits and potential measures you may need to take to remain functioning over the coming months
· If you are a sole trader speak to your accountant – you may need to quickly rejig your structure to take advantage of the stimulus measures or you may be able to apply for the new Jobseeker Allowance (whilst still running your business)
· Don’t lay off staff yet – get a full picture of where your business is at. Speak to your staff, they will be happier to take a cut in hours and pay, say to 50% or 25%, than lose their jobs. Two staff taking a 50% cut to hours equals one redundancy, so take your time to think through all your options and keep your people well informed.
The AICSA does not hold the expertise to assist or provide advice on the above matters, you will need to seek out appropriately qualified professionals.
Social distancing – as the Prime Minister so rightly said, failure to not social distance is negligent. This is serious, deadly serious, and it’s time to ensure the safety of our community. There is a reason the pubs, restaurants, gyms etc. have been closed down – social distancing (4sqm per person) helps stop the spread, it is incumbent on all of us to ensure we play a significant and positive role in achieving this. This is a responsibility for every South Australian.
Again, I can’t stress that we are all small businesses in this together and we are all facing the same challenges and asking the same questions. The AICSA will continue to provide as much information as we can and will continue to ensure all our services, including the advice line, training and peer support are provided. We are completely ready to work from home and continue the provision of services throughout the coming months.
Letter to Premier – Today the AICSA has written to the Premier requesting a waiver of renewal fees for the 2020/21 renewal period along with a waiver of the requirement to undertake an audit. The letter is attached.
Chief Executive Officer