COVID-19 Managing Business and Staff

Government Coronavirus information and support for business

See the latest COVID-19 government financial assistance and support for Australian businesses.

For your State or Territory Government support, see Australian Capital Territory, New South Wales, the Northern Territory , Queensland , South Australia, Tasmania , Victoria, or Western Australia.

The Fair Work Ombudsman has a Tools & resources during coronavirus page.

Any questions on this government business support, email nationalwr@guild.org.au.

State specific COVID-19 Lockdown Support

The Federal Government is working with states and territories to provide financial assistance to businesses affected by lockdowns and restrictions in COVID‑19 hotspots.

Further information at Treasury - Business and Employers or on respective State/Territory website links above.

ATO "one stop shop"

The Australian Taxation Office has established a “one-stop shop” about the income tax and GST consequences of government stimulus measures to assist Australians impacted by COVID-19, like grants and assistance from local, state, and federal governments.

See: Government grants and payments during COVID-19 | Australian Taxation Office.

COVID-19 Retail Recovery Protocol

The Guild and other Australian key retail industry groups have united to release a Retail Recovery Protocol for COVID-19 to assure the community, including retail employees and customers, that they can have confidence that retailers and shopping centres will continue to follow stringent public health guidelines, particularly as the community access essential services such as supermarkets, pharmacies and other goods and services. For further information, please refer to the Joint Media Release NRA SCCA SDA PGA ARA - Retail Recovery Protocol.

Commercial tenancies

A National Code of Leasing was developed by National Cabinet.

States and territories indicated a willingness to implement the code based upon their respective requirements.  The National Leasing Code intent has been implemented into some states and territories based upon impact of mandated ‘lockdowns’.

State specific information for small business tenants and lessors about support for retail and commercial landlords.

New South Wales, Victoria, Queensland, Tasmania, South Australia, Western Australia, Australian Capital Territory and Northern Territory.

PBS approvals and pharmacy closures

While it is preferable that pharmacies remain open during the COVID-19 crisis to ensure the community has ongoing access to PBS medicines, the Department of Health says it does not intend to cancel approvals if pharmacies need to close.

If pharmacies need to close for more than a couple of days because of COVID-19 related reasons they are asked to email the department at pbsapprovedsuppliers@health.gov.au with:

  • their approval number and location
  • the reason they need to close and their intended period of closure
  • details of how the community will access medicines during that period.

Pharmacies that need to significantly reduce trading hours are asked to supply the same information and the department will then work with the individual pharmacies to determine if a formal deactivation is appropriate.

This information will assist the department to determine risks to ongoing access to PBS medicines by the community and enable the department to take any action necessary to mitigate such risks.

Workplace relations and small business advice and guidance

The Guild's Workplace Relations and Small Business Advice and Guidance provides a range of workplace relations services to partner with members to assist with members entitlements, obligations, government support for COVID-19.

COVID-19 employer guides

The Guild's guidance on workforce vaccination

Federal and State/Territories Government has not released a public health order for COVID mandatory vaccinations to occur. Nevertheless, employers’ guides have been developed to assist and employer in determining whether mandatory are permitted as a ‘reasonable and lawful direction’ for their respective workplace.

See:

Expansion of Pharmacy Locum Services during COVID-19

Services to help community pharmacists who are going above and beyond to ensure patients continue to receive services and medications during the COVID-19 crisis have been expanded.

The Emergency Locum Service (ELS) and Rural Locum Assistance Program (Rural LAP) are two locum programs offering support for community pharmacists during COVID-19 – for emergency leave cover, or for other forms of planned leave.

Australia’s community pharmacists are working long and extended periods in their pharmacies to meet the needs of communities under very difficult and challenging circumstances.

It is important that these committed and dedicated community pharmacists take time to care for themselves, to keep healthy, strong, and resilient, and preserve their mental health and well-being.

Rural Emergency Locum Service (ELS)

The ELS is a valuable service which forms part of the Rural Support Programs of the 7th Community Pharmacy Agreement.

It provides support to pharmacies in rural and remote areas through access to locums in emergency situations such as illness, bereavement, or family emergencies. The service provides up to $2,500 to fund the travel costs of the locum and is only available to pharmacies in Modified Monash (MM) Category 3-7. Locums are usually provided within 24 hours, and for a maximum of seven days.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, the ELS has extended its maximum placement duration to 14 consecutive days when a pharmacist is required to self-isolate on the advice of a medical practitioner or is meeting the national triage protocol criteria due to a confirmed or suspected COVID-19 infection.

For more details about ELS, please contact Pharmacy Programs Administrator on 1800 357 001 or visit their webpage: Pharmacy Programs Administrator.

Rural Locum Assistance Program (LAP)

The Rural LAP is an Australian Government funded service established to support health professionals in rural Australia, including pharmacists, to take leave for recreation or CPD.

The service includes recruiting and placing locums and paying their travel, accommodation, meals allowance and incentives during their placement.

During the COVID-19 pandemic most health professionals are unable to take CPD or recreation leave and there is a need for additional professionals to fill vacant positions. The program has received approval to support rural and remote health services with vacant positions until 30 September 2020 (see - Rural LAP COVID-19 Vacant Position Support).

To be eligible pharmacies must be located within Modified Monash Categories (MMM) 2-7 (use the Health Workforce Locator to see your category – type in the address of the pharmacy and select MMM2019 in the filter).

Pharmacies in MMM categories 2-4 can seek cover for up to 14 days of leave for placements.  Pharmacies in MMM categories 5-7 can seek cover for up to 28 days of leave for placements.

Requests for locum support must be made two weeks prior to the commencement of a placement though short notice applications will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

All travel, accommodation arrangements and the contract of engagement for the locum are arranged by the Rural LAP recruitment adviser. For further information about Rural LAP support and eligibility criteria call 1800 787 255 27 or visit their website:  Rural Lap For Clients

Mental health service

A new, dedicated Coronavirus Mental Wellbeing Support Service is now available to support all Australians to manage the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on their mental health and wellbeing. The free service, funded by the Australian Government and delivered by Beyond Blue, is available around the clock, delivering clear, evidence-based information, advice and support specifically tailored to the mental health and wellbeing challenges raised by the pandemic.  Additionally, The National Mental Health Commission, in conjunction with the Mentally Healthy Workplace Alliance, has created a series of evidence-based, easy to use guides to support the mental health and wellbeing of Australian workers and to encourage mentally healthy workplaces during COVID-19.

These guides have been created by experts to provide practical tips and advice on helping employers and employees look out for the signs that someone may need support, and assist them to find help when they need it.

Energy is now even easier

Comparing energy plans has never been easier. The Australian Energy Regulator has improved its free and independent Energy Made Easy website, so consumers and small businesses can keep making informed energy choices.  You can now search for a new energy plan in more ways.  If you need information in another language, you can translate the information on the website into more than 30 languages.

So, if you’re after energy information or want to compare plans, go to Energy Made Easy.

Income support for individuals and households

Covid- 19 Disaster Payment

A support payment for workers adversely affected by a state public health order. This is a lump sum payment to help workers unable to earn income due to a COVID-19 state public health order. This may involve a lockdown, hotspot or movement restrictions. See COVID-19 Disaster Payment.

Pandemic Leave Disaster Payment

The Pandemic Leave Disaster Payment is a payment of $1,500 to provide financial support to individuals who cannot work and earn income because they are directed by a state or territory health official to self-isolate or quarantine as a result of COVID-19. See Pandemic Leave.