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COVID-19: member update #5

April 02, 2020

This week has again presented members with a range of unique challenges and many changes in response to the impact of COVID-19 on your business.

HIA has been working hard to keep on top of these issues and to provide members with as much information and as many answers as possible in a timely way, along with developing new resources to help you keep your businesses operating.

Continuation of work on site

Changes are happening almost daily to the rules for public gatherings, social distancing and travel, which is creating confusion for members.

Members are advised that:

  • building and construction work remains an essential activity in every state and territory and
  • workers are permitted to travel to and carry out building work on sites.
  • rules for maximum numbers of people in a public gathering do not apply to a worksite, however they do apply to workers once they have left the site
  • social distancing and other measures to protect workers safety and minimise the COVID-19 risk must be adhered to at all times - on-site and off-site.

Job Keeper Wage Subsidy

The Federal Government announced the Job Keeper Wage Subsidy providing an option for businesses (including the self-employed) to access a $1,500 wage subsidy for employees to assist them to retain staff.

HIA has prepared an overview for members The JobKeeper Payment Explained.

There are questions in relation to how a business can verify the 30 per cent reduction in turnover and HIA is awaiting advice from the Government on this issue. HIA recognises that this is particularly critical for members who may not be experiencing a reduction right now, but are predicting a downturn and making staffing decisions now based on a reduced work pipeline of sales activity.

Members are encouraged to register for the scheme despite the current uncertainty if you consider your business may need to access this support in the future.

Temporary Changes to the Clerks Award

If you employ receptionists, contractor administrators or office managers (for example) you may choose to take advantage of temporary changes to the Clerks Private Sector Award 2010 (Clerks Award) to help accommodate the pressure on your business and staffing due to COVID-19.

A new schedule providing additional flexibility during the COVID-19 pandemic has been inserted into the Clerks Award. These options became available from 28 March 2020 and will apply up until 30 June 2020. For more information read here.

Making Space On Site - Now available in other languages

HIA has translated the Making space on site guidelines for new home sites and for renovation and repair sites into Chinese-Mandarin, Hindi, Vietnamese and Korean to allow you to share these with more people in your network and spread the message.

Join our “Making space on site” campaign today

This week HIA launched a social media campaign to support our industry keep their sites open and show that we are taking COVID-19 safety seriously.

It is critical that the residential building industry takes the necessary steps to show leadership. It is also important that our industry acknowledge the ongoing support our industry has received from Government.

we are making space on housing sites to prevent covid-19

Members are invited to join the HIA Making Space on Site campaign by sharing HIA’s social posts in your own networks and using the hashtags #saveourindustry #keepusgoing and #hiamember.

Making space on site - Site Inductions

HIA has developed a contactless site induction option for members to address COVID- 19 and adopt the HIA Making space on site guidelines. Look out for these next week.

New COVID-19 information online

HIA’s COVID-19 page has been updated with several new information sheets and resources for members. Take time to check the updates and share this link with your staff.

Need more advice?

HIA staff are available to assist all members with their questions in relation to COVID-19 by calling or emailing your local office.

At the end of another hectic week, I remind all members to take time out to care for yourself, your staff, your customers and your families. Remember to make space on your building sites and in your workplaces and together we can keep our industry going!