COVID-19 Managing Business and Staff

COVID-19 Retail Recovery Protocol

The Guild and other Australia’s 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.

How to keep your business viable under COVID-19

Get government support

JobKeeper Webinar – as recorded

Noting the JobKeeper Scheme Payment deadline of 31 May 2020 for registering and claiming for April and May, the Guild held a webinar on 27 May 2020 to discuss the fundamental aspects of the program, with particular considerations for pharmacy owners, featuring Matt Strauch, a Partner and tax expert from PwC.  For those who couldn’t attend, you can view the webinar here.

The Australian Government JobKeeper payment has been extended, see the one page summary here. Originally eligible employers may be eligible as Legacy Employers if their GST turnover is still down by at least 10%.  Further details are available at the ATO and Treasury websites.

Of particular interest to members are

  • JobKeeper  has been extended to 28 March 2021, but with reduced payment amounts  from 28 September 2020 and then from 4 January 2021;
  • eligibility from 28 September will be based on the September quarter and from 4 January based on the December quarter; and
  • employees must have been employed on 1 July 2020 to be eligible for these extension periods.

Other Australian Government support can be found on Coronavirus information and support for business.

The latest government advice is here, the ACCI JobKeeper 2.0 Guide is here and the ACCI Legacy Employer Guide is here.

For your State and Territory Government support, see Australian Capital TerritoryNew South Wales, the Northern Territory QueenslandSouth AustraliaTasmaniaVictoria, and Western Australia. The Fair Work Ombudsman now has a Tools & resources during coronavirus page, available here.

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

Get your bank to help

Dedicated JobKeeper hotlines NOW OPEN  for discussions with the major banks about how they can help your business remain viable. To find out how your bank can help, please refer to COVID-19 support for further information.

CBA: 13 26 07 ANZ: 1800 571 123 NAB: 1800 JOBKEEPER Westpac:Westpac 1300 731 073, St George 1300 730 196, Bank of Melbourne 1300 784 873, Bank SA 1300 669 472

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.

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 as a result 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.

Commercial tenancies

The National Cabinet agreed that states and territories would implement the mandatory Code of Conduct (the Code), including via legislation or regulation as appropriate, to implement the principles agreed on Friday 3 April. For further information, please refer to the update provided by Prime Minister on matters including commercial tenancies.

The nation’s key retail industry groups have welcomed the Code of Conduct targeted at SMEs announced by the Prime Minister on 7 April, which reflects the spirit of the principles that the groups had put forward for National Cabinet consideration. For further information, please refer to the joint media release made by the Pharmacy Guild of Australia (PGA), Australian Retailers Association (ARA), National Retail Association (NRA) and Shopping Centre Council of Australia (SCCA).

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 members in entitlements, obligations, government support for COVID-19.

COVID-19 employer guides

The Guild's COVID-19 Employer Guide focuses on managing and protecting your employees and your workplace and answering some of the workplace relations and work healthand safety(WHS) questions that are coming up for employers. The ACCI JobKeeper 2.0 Guide is here and the ACCI Legacy Employer Guide is here.

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 PhARIA 2-6. 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 that 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. For further information, please refer to the media release from Beyond Blue Support Service.

Early access to superannuation

The Government is allowing individuals affected by the Coronavirus to access up to $10,000 of their superannuation in 2019-20 and a further $10,000 in 2020-21. For further information, please refer to the fact sheet provided by Australian Government.

Payments to support households

These payments will provide assistance to lower income Australians, including pensioners, other social security and veteran income support recipients and eligible concession card holders. For further information, please refer to the fact sheet provided by Australian Government.

Income support for individuals

The Government is temporarily expanding eligibility to income support payments and establishing a new, time-limited Coronavirus supplement to be paid at a rate of $550per fortnight.This supplement will be paid to both existing and new recipients of the eligible payment categories.These changes will apply for the next six months.For furtehr information, please refer to the fact sheet provided by Australian Government.

Providing support for retirees

The Government is helping retirees to manage the impact of volatility in financial markets on their retirement savings by temporarily reducing superannuation minimum draw down requirements. The Government is also reducing social security deeming rates in recognition of the impact of the low interest rates on savings. For further information, please refer to the fact sheet provided by Australian Government.

Page last updated on: 23 October 2020