During these uncertain times, political direction is regularly changing and its impact on business is significant. One of the decisions made to help combat the spread of the coronavirus is the restriction on social gatherings, which has resulted in the shutting down of many businesses across multiple industries.

Whilst Governments grapple with how to support these businesses and their employees during these tough times, business owners are unsure when they will be able to reopen their doors and are having to quickly make decisions in order to ensure their own business survival.

Standing Down Employees

One of the largest cash outflows for most businesses is related to staff. As a business struggles with how to continue to pay staff whilst generating zero revenue, a temporary solution may be to stand down employees until such point that business opens for trade.

An employer may stand down an employee during a period in which the employee cannot usefully be employed due to:

  • Industrial action (other than industrial action organised or engaged in by the employer)
  • Breakdown of machinery or equipment, if the employer cannot be held responsible of the breakdown, or
  • Stoppage of work for any cause which the employer cannot reasonably be held responsible

What does this mean for the Employee?

Stood down employees will continue to accrue annual leave and other entitlements as per their contracts whilst entitled to apply for allowances from Centrelink. The intention is that the employee will return to their role once business opens for trade at some point in the future.

How does the Employee apply for Government Benefits?

  • In person at a Centrelink Service Centre
  • Over the phone on 132 850
  • Via their MyGov account. Applicants must log into their MyGov account and click the “intent to apply” button in the Centrelink box that appears on top of MyGov account

Centrelink will contact each applicant and assess the situation. Successful applicants will be back paid from the date they submit their application.

What are applicants entitled to?

The Government have announced that from 27th April 2020, they will increase the Job Seeker Allowance with a temporary fortnightly $550 Coronavirus Supplement, bringing the total entitlement to $1,100 a fortnight.

Centrelink will also be paying a $750 Economic Support Payment from 31st March 2020 if you receive an eligible payment. Further, a second Economic Support Payment of $750 will be paid from 13th July 2020 to the same recipients of the first supplement so long as the recipient does not receive the Coronavirus supplement with their payment.

What documents does an employee require to make claim?

Refer to the Centrelink website for documents required as part of your submission.


During these challenging times, some decisions are difficult to make, especially when it involves staff and their livelihood. Standing down employees may not be the easiest decision, however, it is a valid option many companies have. Business owners can bring staff back on board once business reopens, whilst allowing employees to request Government benefits in the interim.

Let Us Help

If your business has a turnover of over $1m, ABJ Solutions is offering a complimentary 30 minute Zoom meeting to help answer questions and model some of your critical decisions with you. Get in touch with us today if you need help through this challenging time.