Farm workplaces need to prepare for spread of coronavirus

Farm workplaces need to prepare for spread of coronavirus

Opinion
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NSW Farmers members should contact the Workplace Relations (WR) team to discuss the issues facing farm businesses.

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COVID-19 is a real risk that all employers should manage, and while cases in regional NSW remain relatively low, workplaces need to prepare now in case the virus spread increases.

In this uncertain time, having open and timely communication with employees is important to ensure the COVID-19 response measures in the workplace are well understood and any escalating situation can be dealt with promptly.

As the COVID-19 situation unfolds on a daily basis, NSW Farmers members have been contacting the Workplace Relations (WR) team to discuss a whole range of issues facing farm businesses.

What if an employee is overseas and cannot return or is under government ordered self-isolation? What if an employee requests to stay home as a precaution? Can approved holiday leave application be retracted? What are the available options to implement COVID-19 prevention measures, such as physical distancing in the workplace?

As part of the government's economic stimulus package, there are a number of programs to assist employers in their cashflow and in sustaining jobs.

The Boosting Cash Flow program provides tax-free cash flow boosts of between $20,000 and $100,000 to eligible businesses. For eligible employers with trainees or apprentices, a 50 per cent wage subsidy is available for up to nine months.

Most recently, the $1500 fortnightly 'JobKeeper Payment' for eligible employees became available for eligible businesses that have experienced downturn. The NSW government has also announced payroll tax relief for businesses with wages of no more than $10 million.

If you have farm employees and have questions about COVID-19, please contact 1300 794 000 to find out how NSW Farmers can help your business through these challenging times.

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