DO I qualify for the COVID Wage Subsidy?
There are a number of criteria that you need to meet to qualify for the subsidy, but the main consideration is whether or not your turnover (total income) is more than 40% down based on previous fortnights. Many clients seem likely to be locked down and unable to work for at least 1 week, so it would seem like common sense to say that you’d qualify for the subsidy, but it may not be that simple, and you do need to carefully consider your specific situation.
I’ve made some notes about specific industries below to try and give you some suggestions on how to work it out. Drop us a line if you think you have a curly situation that you want us to take a look at!
Hospitality and Retail
These industries are probably the easiest to calculate. Most takings are cash based through your till system. The best-case scenario we will have it if you’re able to open back up from Wednesday 25th August. If that happens you would expect to be down by 50% so would qualify.
If the lockdown is extended further, then you’ll be down even more than 50%.
This is more difficult to calculate, as many tradies work on projects that make take months to complete and only bill occasionally. In this case I would suggest that a good way to calculate things would be to add up the hours that you were able to work for the 2-week period and compare that to the hours you’d worked in the previous 2-week periods. If your two-week period only had 40 hours worked because we were locked down for 1 week, then you’d be 50% down – based on 80 hours in a usual fortnight.
Many professional firms will vary with their billing. For those that bill weekly then it shouldn’t be hard to calculate, but most wouldn’t bill weekly. If you’re billing monthly or based on projects, then it would be fairest to calculate based on hours worked during the two-week period in comparison to previous periods.
Consultants and Film Industry
Many consultants and film industry workers will now be working at home and may not have a reduction in turnover. If you’re one who is unable to work because of the lockdown, then use the “hours worked” versus “hours usually” worked approach discussed above for Tradies and Professional firms.
Real Estate Agents
Being a real estate agent often comes with very intermittent income. Many agents may work for months at a time before they land the next sale. For example, if you look at recent trading, you may have $0 income whilst in lockdown but may also have $0 income in the previous two-week periods. If this is the case for you, then I would suggest that you compare the income from the two-week period to the average fortnightly income over the last year.