COVID-19 coverage and response hub

As governments move rapidly with their COVID-19 responses involving businesses, we’re building tools, product updates and support articles in each region to assist you with navigating it all. Our COVID-19 coverage and response hub will help you with understanding legislative changes thoroughly and implementing these changes efficiently in KeyPay.

KeyPay product updates

The tools and product updates KeyPay has introduced that assists businesses with managing legislative changes released by the government.

Latest updates in Australia

Small Business Support Program

If your business has suffered a decline in turnover of 40% or more in January and the first 2 weeks of February 2022 (compared to 2020 or 2021), you may be eligible for a grant.

This one-off payment will be equivalent to 20% of your weekly payroll, and can be applied for through Service NSW.

More information

Small Business Rebate

The Small Business Fees and Charges Rebate has been increased to $2,000.00 per eligible business. It is available until 30 June 2022 for certain businesses (and sole traders) who:

  • Have total Australian wages below the NSW 2020-2021 tax threshold of $1.2 million
  • Have an Australian Business Number (ABN) registered in NSW, and/or have business premises located and operating in NSW

More information

JobMaker Hiring Credit Scheme

Update: 21 January 2022

The claim periods for the JobMaker Hiring Credit scheme have now closed. The JobMaker Hiring Credit scheme will end on 6 October 2022.

10 February 2021

The JobMaker Hiring Credit Scheme is an incentive that provides businesses rebates when they employ additional young job seekers. With the commencement of the scheme, we have released a few features with the aim of helping users navigate the process:

  • JobMaker Eligibility Report: Assists in determining the eligibility of employees;
  • JobMaker Employee Notice: This allows you to send, record and keep JobMaker notices for eligible employees;
  • Processing JobMaker in the pay run: In order for employers to receive the incentives under the scheme, both nominations and JobMaker periods must be reported via STP. As such, we have added a new JobMaker pay run action with the intent of simplifying the reporting process for employers as much as possible whilst keeping in line with ATO specifications.

Please note that employers have until 30 April 2021 to claim for JobMaker Period 1.

Click here to access a list of support articles that will help you navigate the JobMaker process.

Read more on the scheme and key dates in our blog post.

Payroll Tax

The Australian Payroll Association has provided the summary below regarding stimulus packages concerning payroll tax for each State/Territory. 


*KeyPay users can utilise the Payroll Tax Report to provide a breakdown of earnings and super that are (a) subject to payroll tax and (b) payroll tax exempt. 


ACT

Last updated: 21 january 2022

Wages paid to apprentices or trainees employed after 1 August 2020 are exempt from payroll tax for the period from the start of the employment until 30 June 2022. Read more.

15 April 2020

Payroll tax payments waived for six months from April to September 2020 for employers operating in the categories that have been announced as prohibited business activity in the ACT. More info.

NT

Last updated: 15 april 2020

Business relief measures under the Jobs Rescue and Recovery plan. More info


NSW

Last updated: 21 january 2022

The due date for lodgement and payment of the 2021 Payroll Tax Annual reconciliation was extended to 14 January 2022. After lodging the 2021 annual reconciliation, customers may be eligible to establish a Support Payment Arrangement. This option will be available until 28 February 2022. Read more.

15 April 2020

Employers whose total grouped Australian wages for the 2019/20 financial year are over $10 million, will have the option of deferring the payment of payroll tax for up to six months. Employers whose total grouped Australian wages for the 2019/20 financial year are no more than $10 million will have their annual tax liability reduced by 25% when they lodge their annual reconciliation, which is due on 28 July. Additionally, no payment for the months of March, April or May 2020 will be required for these employers. More info.

VIC

Last updated: 21 january 2022

Late payment interest waiver ends on 31 December 2021. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the Commissioner of State Revenue announced that late payment interest would not be applied on outstanding taxation debts during the pandemic. From 1 January 2022, any outstanding taxation debts that have not been paid will once again be subject to late payment interest calculated from the date of the tax default. Read more.


Waiving of 2020-21 and 2021-22 payroll tax for eligible employers after applying the New Jobs payroll tax credit - announced in the 2020-21 Budget on 24 November 2020. Read more.

15 April 2020

Businesses with annual Victorian taxable wages up to $3 million will have their payroll tax for the 2019-20 financial year waived. More info


QLD

Last updated: 15 april 2020

Employers with < $6.5 million in Australian taxable wages, refunds of your payroll tax for 2 months (November and December 2019) and no payroll tax to be paid) for 3 months (January to March 2020). Employers with > $6.5 million in Australian taxable wages and have been negatively affected by coronavirus can apply for a refund for Jan and Feb 2020 and a deferral up to June 2020. More info.


SA

Last updated: 21 january 2022

On 31 December 2021, the Government announced the introduction of a range of COVID-19 business support measures including a payroll tax deferral for the tourism and hospitality sector and gyms/other businesses impacted by the COVID-19 trading restrictions announced on 27 December 2021. Read more.

15 April 2020

Employers < $4m in Australia wide wages will receive a 6-month payroll tax waiver from April to September 2020 (i.e March returns – August returns do not need to be paid).

Businesses with Australian grouped wages >$4 million that can demonstrate they have been significantly impacted by COVID 19 will, upon application, be able to defer payroll tax payments for the six months from April to September 2020 so the payments for these periods will need to be paid in October. More info


WA

Last updated: 15 april 2020

Payroll tax will be waived for March to June for employers who have Australian taxable wages of less than $7.5 million at 30 June 2020. More info


TAS

Last updated: 21 january 2022

Employers may be eligible to qualify for the waiver of payroll tax for wages paid or payable to eligible employees between 1 July 20221 and 31 December 2021. Applications for the The Payroll Tax Waiver must be lodged by 31 December 2022. Read more for information eligibility and how to apply.

15 April 2020

Payroll Tax waiver Australian Group Wages of up to $5.0 million annually (March – June) where it can be demonstrated the coronavirus has affected the business. Full year payroll tax waiver for certain industries. A 12-month payroll tax rebate to approved employers for new youth employees (aged 24 years and under) employed between 1/4/2020 and 31/12/2020. More info


Award flexibility during COVID-19

Last updated: 21 January 2022

The Fair Work Commission has extended the entitlement to unpaid pandemic leave under schedule X in many awards from 31 December 2021 until 30 June 2022. The extension applies to 74 awards. Read for more info.

9 April 2020

On April 8, Fair Work made determinations that varied 99 awards. These provided temporary changes to these awards, providing employees with:

  • 2 weeks unpaid pandemic leave
  • the ability to take twice as much annual leave at half their normal pay if their employer agrees

See here for Fair Work's overview on the latest determinations due to COVID-19.

A number of these awards are available for automation in KeyPay, and we're pleased to announce that they have all been updated accordingly.


3 April 2020 - award flexibility during COVID-19

Due to impacts the Coronavirus is having on workplaces, a number of unions and employer associations are applying to Fair Work to increase award flexibility. See the Fair Work Website for the most recent updates.

The awards currently varied are:

  • Restaurant Industry Award (2010)
  • Clerks Private Sector Award (2010)
  • Hospitality (General) Industry Award 2010

All of the variances in these awards have been updated in KeyPay, compliant with Fair Work.


Read an overview of the awards affected during COVID-19 and how KeyPay helps.

JobKeeper Program

On 30 March, the Federal Government revealed the JobKeeper Program in an effort to incentivise employers to keep workers in employment for as long as possible. See the Government’s Treasury website and the ATO website for a complete overview. 


Last Updated: 21 january 2022

The JobKeeper Payment scheme finished on 28 March 2021. The JobKeeper Payment scheme has been amended so JobKeeper Payments can be made to some entities in limited circumstances after 31 March 2022. More info here.

24 September 2020

We have updated our JobKeeper pay run actions in accordance with the new requirements of the JobKeeper extension - ie JobKeeper 2.0. The updates include:

  • The addition of start and finish fortnights 14 to 26;
  • The addition of tiers 1 and 2 which need to be reported (once) for each eligible employee;
  • The ability to correct a tier if it has been initially reported incorrectly.

Read our support article for more detail on the updates.

Update: 7 August 2020

On 7 August 2020, the Australian Government announced changes to the JobKeeper Payment program. Effective 3 August 2020, the relevant date of employment will move from 1 March to 1 July 2020, to increase employee eligibility for the existing scheme and the extension. From 28 September 2020, businesses will be required to reassess their eligibility with reference to their actual GST turnover in the September quarter 2020 to be eligible for JobKeeper Payments from 28 September 2020 to 3 January 2021.  From 28 September 2020, lower payment rates will apply for employees and business participants that worked fewer than 20 hours per week in the relevant reference period.

Update: 21 July 2020

On 21 July 2020, the Australian Government announced it will be extending the JobKeeper payment until 28 March 2021.

  • Existing JobKeeper payments will remain unchanged until 27th September 2020.
  • Businesses seeking to extend JobKeeper payments will need to reapply on 28 September for payments until 3 January with evidence of continuing decline.
  • Businesses seeking further JobKeeper support from January 4 until 28 March 2021 will need to reapply once again with evidence of previous quarters.  
  • The payment rate will be reduced each quarter from 28 September. For further details, check out the Treasury website.

KeyPay will be working on updating its existing tools and reports to help ease the workload. This includes updating the JobKeeper employee eligibility report and extending the JobKeeper start/fortnight periods in the pay run, as required.


Update: 24 April 2020

KeyPay has released more helpful features that have further streamlined the overall management process: 

  1. Employee Nomination Notices: 

Once you’ve identified eligible employees, it is required that employees obtain and record employee consent before commencing JobKeeper payments. 

To assist employers with this, we have created a mechanism where users can bulk publish nomination notices to employees via email. Refer to our JobKeeper Employee Nominations support article for a detailed walkthrough of the setup process.

*Businesses have until 30 April to notify employees and receive completed employee notification forms to be able to claim JobKeeper payments for the month of April.


  1. Processing JobKeeper Payments in Pay Runs

We added a new pay run action - "Add JobKeeper Payment" - that allows users to perform the 3 JobKeeper options: JobKeeper top-up, JobKeeper start and JobKeeper finish, available via a context panel. The system will then create the relevant JobKeeper pay categories based on the actions performed, thereby ensuring pay category settings are configured in accordance with the ATO's requirements. 

Refer to our support article for more details. 


update: 14 April 2020

The ATO recently announced special conditions required to report JobKeeper payments via Single Touch Payroll. We've updated our support article on managing JobKeeper payments to reflect the announcement.

update: 9 April 2020

We’ve updated the JobKeeper Eligibility Report, allowing employers to include employee visa information. If you record employee visas using the qualifications feature, you can now add this to the report parameters. The report will then incorporate the visa qualifications to assess employee eligibility and classify them accordingly. Read the updated JobKeeper Eligibility Report support article.


Reminder: the employee eligibility is only part of the JobKeeper eligibility criteria. Be sure to refer to the treasury website for full details.

update: 8 April 2020

On April 8, the JobKeeper program passed into legislation. For eligibility criteria, refer here.

update: 3 April 2020

NEW REPORT: JobKeeper Eligibility Report

The JobKeeper Eligibility Report easily allows employers to determine the eligibility status of their employees. You can access this report within KeyPay by navigating to Reports > JobKeeper Eligibility Report (under the "Employees" list).

Disclaimer:

  • The JobKeeper eligibility report is designed to provide an employer with the information to make an informed decision on which of their employees fit the basic eligibility criteria provided by the government.
  • The eligibility of all employees should be manually verified before proceeding to claim the JobKeeper subsidy from the Australian Tax Office.
  • The report makes no assumptions about the eligibility of the EMPLOYER to claim the JobKeeper subsidy. This should be determined by the employer.

________

We’ve summed up the important points from the government’s treasury website in a blog titled “JobKeeper program: Australian Government wage subsidies during COVID-19”.

Latest updates in the UK

Holiday entitlements during COVID-19

During the COVID-19 pandemic, it may not be possible for staff to use their paid holiday in the current leave year. Employees and workers can carry over up to 4 weeks’ statutory paid holiday into their next 2 holiday leave years (as introduced in 2020) - this also applies for any holiday that is not taken due to COVID-19. This may be for reasons due to self-isolating, testing positive for COVID-19, or not being able to take paid holiday due to work obligations.


If holiday was taken whilst an employee was on furlough, they should receive holiday pay (not furlough pay) based on what they would usually earn if they were working. More info.

Recovery Loan Scheme

The Recovery Loan Scheme has been extended until 30 June 2022. From 1 January 2022, only small and medium sized enterprises may be eligible to access loans and finance to recover after the pandemic. 

The maximum amount of finance available will be £2 million per business. Limitations and eligibility restrictions apply. More info.

Statutory Sick Pay changes

UPDATE: 21 JANUARY 2022

Employees may be eligible for Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) if they need to self-isolate because of COVID-19. If an employee is too ill to work, they may be eligible for £96.35 per week, for up to 28 weeks. More info.

Your business (and clients) may be eligible for support if fewer than 250 employees were employed on 30 November 2021, and have paid Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) to employees for COVID-19 related absences. Employers could reclaim up to 2 weeks’ SSP that they’ve paid to employees for COVID-related absences from 21 December 2021 (this is a new claims period). More info.


NOTE: The situation is changing almost daily across the England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, so please check regularly for any updates at GOV.UK.

UPDATE: 11 May 2020

We've updated our SSP support article guiding users on how to run a report to show SSP COVID-19.

UPDATE: march 13 2020

On March 13, legislation passed to allow employees to receive Statutory Sick Pay from day 1 of sickness if they have COVID-19 related symptoms. KeyPay has the functionality to overwrite waiting days in the system so you’re compliant with these temporary changes. See how in our SSP COVID-19 support article.


See our blog summary and keep up to date on the latest SSP changes on the UK Government website.

Latest updates in New Zealand

COVID-19 Support Payment (CSP)

Last updated 23 March 2022

A COVID-19 Support Payment (CSP) is available for businesses more affected by the Omicron outbreak. 

  • Applications for the first payment are open for the period beginning 16 February 2022 and ending 4 April 2022.
  • Applications for the second payment are open for the period beginning 7 March 2022 and ending 4 April 2022.
  • Applications for the third payment will open at 8am on 28 March 2022 for the period beginning 21 March 2022 and ending 4 April 2022.

Please note that applications for all 3 CSPs will close on 5 May 2022. More info.

Flexibility on tax returns, payments and disclosures

Last updated 23 March 2022

The Government has extended the due dates for a number of returns, payments and elections normally due on the 31 March 2021. More info.

For businesses struggling to meet tax obligations due to COVID-19, you can request Financial Relief from penalties and interest. More info.

Supporting employees to get vaccinated

To encourage the uptake of COVID-19 vaccines in New Zealand, employees are entitled to reasonable paid time away from work to receive a dose of a COVID-19 vaccine - as long as providing the time off does not unreasonably disrupt the business or the employee’s performance of their duties.

This is special paid leave that does not come out of an employee’s sick or annual leave, as it is a separate leave entitlement to what employees get under the Holidays Act 2003. While not mandatory, it’s recommended to record this leave within the payroll system to avoid any disputes or issues in the future. An employee must pay their employees for the time in question at their ordinary rate of pay, that they would have received if they were working as normal during that time. More info.

We've created a new hourly leave type called 'Covid leave' that will be system calculated, and will apply the ADP/RDP calculation method when being processed in a pay run. More info.

Small Business Cash Flow Loan Scheme (SBCS)

Last update 23 March 2022

On 21 March, the Small Business Cashflow Scheme loan amount increased from $10,000 to $20,000 plus $1,800 per full-time equivalent employee. More info. 

21 January 2022

The Small Business Cashflow Scheme (SBCS) was introduced to support small to medium businesses and organisations (including sole traders and the self-employed) struggling with a loss of revenue due to COVID-19. Applications are open until 31 December 2023.

The small business cash flow loan scheme will provide assistance of up to a maximum of $100,000 to businesses employing 50 or fewer full-time employees.

Applications are open until 31 December 2023. If you've previously applied for a SBCS and have fully repaid it, you can apply again. More info.

COVID-19 Short-Term Absence Payment

The COVID-19 Short-Term Absence Payment is available for businesses (including self-employed people) to help pay employees who cannot work from home while they wait for a COVID-19 test result.

Each eligible employee can receive a one-off payment of $359. You can only apply for it once, for each eligible employee, in any 30-day period - unless a health official or doctor tells the employee to get another test. More info.

Leave Support Scheme

Employers can apply for the Leave Support Scheme to help pay employees’ wages or salary if they cannot work from home while self-isolating because of COVID-19. 

The COVID-19 Leave Support Scheme is paid at the rate of:

  • $600.00 a week for full-time workers who were working 20 hours or more a week.
  • $359 a week for part-time workers who were working less than 20 hours a week.

The Leave Support Scheme has changed to a one-week payment, as the periods of self-isolation have changed in line with the NZ government legislation. There are certain criteria that your employees must meet, in order to be eligible for the Leave Support Scheme. More information.

Latest updates in Malaysia

New 2022 Tax Relief types

Covid19 vaccination expenses on self, spouse or child of up to RM1,000 is a new tax item for 2022.

As per currently, once the employee's tax reliefs are specified, they are then automatically deducted in the PCB/MTD calculation.

For further information on how to apply the employee's tax relief items, refer to the tax relief support article. Please note that LHDN have also released the new TP1 and TP3 forms for 2022.


Employee’s Provident Fund (EPF) contributions

The Budget 2022 announced that the reduced 9% rate for employee contributions has been extended until June 2022 payroll. Employees can still maintain their contribution at 11%, they will need to complete Form KWSP 17A (Khas 2022) and provide the completed form to their employer.

For employees who have completed the KWSP 17A form to maintain the 11% EPF contribution rate, employers will need to submit the employees’ application via their EPF Employer iAkaun portal. 

Additionally, the KWSP 17A form must be completed and application submitted again for 2022, even if an employee had already applied in 2021, as last year’s form was only valid until December 2021 payroll.

The EPF contribution rates within KeyPay remain unchanged so if any employees are contributing EPF at a different rate in 2022 than they were in 2021, please change the EPF rate within the employee’s profile. Information on how to do this is mentioned in the employee statutory details article.

KeyPay bites

Managing COVID-19 related processes in KeyPay

Do more with less, with KeyPay

Useful resources

KeyPay JobMaker
January 22, 2021

JobMaker: About the scheme and how to apply

Find out about the JobMaker scheme, how to apply, and how KeyPay is preparing clients' businesses for JobMaker claims and reporting via Single Touch Payroll.
Industry Insights
Changes to HMRC UK Job Retention Scheme
June 15, 2020

July 1 changes to the UK Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme

HMRC have made changes to the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme including flexible furloughing from 1 July, and reductions in grants from August 1.
Industry Insights
Marketing tips for restaurants
April 29, 2020

Helping restaurants through COVID-19 | Part 3: Marketing your restaurant's website

Restaurants often overlook the power of marketing and social media for website promotion. This blog post goes through techniques venues can use to drive sales.
Industry Insights