Category Archives: Uncategorized

ATO Releases JobKeeper Requirements

The ATO has now released the requirements in respect of registration, reporting and payment obligations under the JobKeeper Scheme. There are many variables to accommodate specific employee and employer circumstances, but the information pack explains how it will work for most.

The association’s Auditor, Page Harrison & Co has made available the a compehensive COVID 19 Stimulus and Support Measures  information package.

The online application process will be available from Monday 20 April 2020 via the Tax Agent and Business Portals. https://www.ato.gov.au/general/jobkeeper-payment/employers/enrol-and-apply-for-the-jobkeeper-payment/#ApplyfortheJobKeeperpaymentearlyMay2020

If you’re not already using the Business Portal the following link provides instructions on how to create your myGovID and attach it to the Business ABN. Please note that a myGovID is different to a myGov account.

https://www.ato.gov.au/General/Online-services/Accessing-online-services-with-myGovID-and-RAM/

Prior to registering for the Scheme the following steps should be undertaken:

  1. Determine employer eligibility – the business needs to satisfy the decline in turnover test of at least 30% once to be eligible for the scheme however the ATO will require confirmation and details of eligible employees and turnover to be provided on a monthly declaration. Exact details required by the ATO have not yet been released but it would be prudent to maintain up to date accounting records. Please refer to the Employer Eligibility Checklists for qualification criteria.

Employer Eligibility Checklists can be downloaded here

  1. Ensure you have met the wage condition for each eligible employee – the Government payment is a reimbursement and therefore the employer must have already paid these amounts to the employee to qualify. The ATO has made an allowance for the month of April only whereby the employer can make a top-up payment to eligible employees who have been paid less than the minimum of $1,500 less applicable tax per fortnight by the end of April.
  2. Provide each employee with a JobKeeper Employee Nomination Notice to complete and return to the employer prior to 30 April 2020. A copy of this form is attached for your convenience. You must retain electronic or physical signed copies of these forms.  Prior to sending to staff please complete the Employer Section A of the form.

JobKeeper Employee Nomination Notice

After registration every employee must be notified that they have been nominated in writing within 7 days. See attachment titled “Confirmation of JobKeeper Nomination”.

The ATO has advised that the consequence of claiming Scheme benefits when the business was not eligible or improper use of the scheme may result in repayment of the amounts received plus interest and penalties

A Week is a long time in Covid Land

Monday 30th March

The week that was….

The industry is in a form of lockdown with stores sparsely attended by sales staff, no browsing policies, and limits of those allowed to enter. April fools day came and went with not much to prank or much to laugh about.

On Monday, the federal cabinet banned gatherings of more than two people. According to the ABC News, shops and shopping centres are excluded from the two-person rule, excepting that one must not gather in the shop in groups of more than two.

Several key wholesalers we have spoken to are 100% operating from home, most staff are ‘still’ employed’. There were a few exceptions where wholesalers were forced to layoff some of their workforce.  Music schools largely employing casual teachers are not operating across the country, while others are developing online teaching resources to meet demand. We are still selling, picking, packing, dispatching to our dealers.

In MI, it’s clear that whilst retailers can still operate, with the support of logistics, online MI stores will flourish. We’ve had reports of good online business to March 31. And in fact good business levels all round, as people stock up.

Manufacturers like Cole Clark and Maton are pushing on through and shipping guitars and not yet affected by any halt on their activities and the same. Maton too, continue production.

Retailers were reporting strong ‘Christmas like’ sales levels right through the week on top of a pretty good month. Operations have adapted with daily developments.

Banks will allow commercial landlords with loans of up to $10 million to delay their loan repayments by up to six months, on the condition tenants are not evicted due to the coronavirus crisis was another key announcement of the week. Banks are working with customers to help navigate difficult financial waters. Who’d a thought?

Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced a $130 billion package to support the wages of up to 6 million Australians throughout the coronavirus crisis.

The “Jobkeeper” subsidy will be worth $1500 a fortnight. The government will pay employers to pay their employees,” he said.

“Our goal is to protect lives and livelihoods of Australians to protect and preserve the economy that we depend on and to get to the other side as well.” The PM said according to the media this afternoon.

This was great news for workers and allowed businesses to keep operating in a lot of cases.

Australia’s peak retail body will raise casuals’ eligibility for the new jobkeeper payment with the government after unions, Labor and the Greens raised concerns that those with less than 12 months of service are excluded from the $1,500 fortnightly payment.

The Australian Retail Association’s executive director, Russell Zimmerman, Tuesday told Guardian Australia (Tuesday) that casuals’ eligibility was an “area of concern” and the government should consider exceptions for people with less than 12 months’ service but a likely “continuation of their role” after Covid-19 shutdowns.

Overall, businesses could continue to trade, observing strict rules and restructuring their focus. What the next week will be interesting as every day brings something new.

Provided expected ‘shut downs’ will allow online and deliveries music retail can continue to operate.

Music Retail is Open! March 27

Music Retail is still open for the time being as of March 27, 2020,

There is much uncertainty for music retailers about how long they will be able to service the needs of its customers, who, we understand might have their focus on other needs at the moment.  But for the musicians who have needs in order they can continue their practice, learning and recording our industry wants to be there for you.

While your local music store may be open & desperately appreciates your support, now is not the time to be casually browsing in any shop for half an hour because you’re bored. Go to the store. We advise in the interest of all our safety, that you make your purchase and leave as soon as possible.

We feel learning an instrument & playing music is going to play an important part in sustaining your mental health & the mental health of the community. NOW is the perfect time to take up that instrument you’ve always thought you would like to but haven’t had time.  There are many teaching resources online. For example check out this offer from Fender

Logistics is still an essential service so stock can still be shipped from suppliers to retail, and retailers can arrange deliveries. By online or by phone.

Some retailers may be shutting their doors and serving customers via Online only. But for those that keep a shop front open, there is a lot of effort going into keeping the store environment safe for staff and customers.

General Info

Music retailers have been advised to follow World Health Organisation procedures on personal hygiene and proximity to customers. Retailers encourage customers to phone or email enquiries to save trips to the stores. The stores must know the square metreage available and therefore using the 4m2 per person, calculate how many people are allowed in the store at once.

For the time being, most stores are maintaining their regular opening hours and they are offering the same friendly service but are cutting down on contact (sorry, no handshakes or hugs for now). Stores should regularly disinfect their demo gear. Hand sanitiser is being made available and most stores encourage payment via card rather than cash.

Should customers feel unwell (fever, cough, sore throat, runny nose, headache or shortness of breath) or have recently returned from overseas, our stores ask that you refrain from visiting in store in order to ensure the safety of all customers and our team. In many cases, stores can look after you just as well if you browse our website, give them a call or email instead.

Q: Are retailers taking cash?

If they are, we have advised that The W.H.O. is advising everyone to wash their hands after using cash money, especially if handling or eating food.

To be safe, we encourage use of card machines and ideally contactless and to have a sanitiser close for team members who may handle cash. We have suggested retailers restrict cash handling to a single till in the store.

Please don’t take offence if a staff member reminds you about the protocols surrounding sneezing or coughing, especially into your hands.

Our stores would make hand sanitiser available and staff have been advised to keep a reasonable distance from customers; 1-2 metres where possible in line with government advice.

Q: What about wanting to try an instrument instore?

Many stores have implemented a No Blow policy for all brass, woodwind, harmonicas etc. You may see signs like this in store – please respect them.

You might see signs on ‘condition of entry’ that if you plan on trying an instrument you need to use the hand sanitiser provided at the entrance.

If you wish to try a guitar for example, customers should be asked to use the hand sanitiser that the store is making available.  Our advice to retailers is that all customers must use hand sanitiser BEFORE they touch an instrument.

Note, when practicing your own measures, Hand sanitizer is 60+% percent alcohol which can cause clouding in lacquer finishes.

Don’t use sanitizer or wipes with alcohol directly on the guitar.  But a person should use it on their hands.

Q: What actions have retailers been taking in their stores?
A: Retailers would be thoroughly cleaning doors, counters, computers, and areas where customers may touch. Instruments, especially wind, are being thoroughly cleaned and disinfected.

Observing social distancing.

Retailers are printing advice to customers and posting it around the store.

Sanitising their POS equipment. EFT keypad pads etc after use.

Providing hand sanitiser on counters in clear view and encourage customers to use it, as well as staff after they have dealt with a customer.

Keeping the customer informed of the policies in their store at this time.

Q: What about Online?
Retailers are noticing an increase in phone and email enquiries and while restrictions are in place. Online is the best and safest way to purchase during these times.

Contact the stores for product advice by phone and email.

We know as musicians that Customers who are concerned about being at home for a prolonged period maybe looking to making music to relieve stress and anxiety in these times, start that recording project or online learning course or just get some practice in.

We want to be here to help with your needs. While our stores are allowed to open, so is their Online store.

Stores are aware of best practice in packing and dispatching.
At present, most stores’ online ordering services are running as usual with their team working in their online orders department, ready for your enquiries. Some are waiving their dollar minimum purchase for free delivery and are encouraging their customers to use online so as to limit, as much as possible, the spread of the virus.

Logistics is still regarded as an essential service. Therefore, for the time being deliveries will continue. We cannot control what deliverers do, but we are confident that at the store end the goods will leave after being wiped down and sanitised before it is packed and leaves the store.

 

COVID-19 Update March 25 from Federal Government

On Tuesday evening Scott Morrison outlined a further set of restrictions on businesses and individual behaviours to combat the coronavirus outbreak. Here is an updated list of the federal government’s measures, which will take effect from midnight on Wednesday if they were not already in place.

Banned or closed

  • Registered and licensed clubs, licensed premises in hotels and pubs, casinos and night clubs.
  • Cinemas and entertainment venues
  • Auctions and open house inspections.
  • Personal services such as beauty therapy, tanning, massage and tattoo parlours (but not physiotherapy).
  • Outdoor and indoor markets, although “major food markets” (the prime minister cited Sydney’s Flemington market as an example) will be addressed by states and territories.
  • Amusement parks and arcades, and indoor and outdoor play centres.
  • Galleries, museums, libraries and swimming pools.
  • Gyms and indoor sport venues.
  • Overseas travel, with some exceptions such as aid workers and compassionate travel.

Restricted

  • Hairdressers and barbers can continue but must strictly manage social distancing and restrict the amount of time a patron can be in the premises to no more than 30 minutes.
  • Boot camps and personal training must be limited to 10 peoeple.
  • Restaurants and cafes can offer delivery and takeaway only. Food courts in shopping centres may also only offer takeaway.
  • Weddings restricted to five people – the couple, the celebrant and two witnesses.
  • Funerals limited to no more than 10 people.
  • Visits to houses should be kept to a very small number of people, including for family barbecues and birthday parties. States may choose to legislate to restrict house parties.

Remaining open

  • Shopping centres and other shops not specifically told to close, including bottle shops.
  • Medical centres.
  • Pharmacies.

Schools

The federal government’s advice is that it is safe to send children to school up to the end of the term, but some pupil-free days will be needed to plan distance learning.

Schools will reopen after the term break with a mix of distance learning and in-school learning for all “essential workers”, defined by the prime minister as anyone with a job.

There are differences in how each state and territory is managing schools.

NSW: Schools remain open but it is up to parents to decide whether to send children to school, and parents have been advised to keep children home unless they need to work.

Queensland: Schools remain open but it is up to parents to decide whether to send children to school.

Victoria: Schools closed for school holidays. Due to return on 13 April.

ACT: Schools are pupil-free until the school holidays, but open to students who absolutely need to attend, such as those whose parents must attend work and cannot care for their children at home, as well as vulnerable children and those with additional needs. No child will be turned away.

Tasmania: Schools remain open but up to parents to decide whether to send children.

NT: Schools to remain open but optional for parents to send children.

SA: Schools remain open but premier Steven Marshall recognises parents will take children out of school, allowing for increased social distancing.

WA: Schools remain open but laws relaxed so it’s not compulsory.

All states and territories are working towards re-opening in term 2, depending on how the situation changes over the next few weeks.

Beaches

There are no outright bans, although people are advised not to go and some Sydney beaches have been fenced off.

It is up to the councils to enforce the outdoor restrictions on social distancing.

Interstate travel

NSW, the ACT and Victoria are the only states and territory to not implement restrictions on interstate travel. In the other states and territory anyone visiting will be required to quarantine themselves for 14 days upon arrival, unless they are in sectors deemed essential. Western Australia, South Australia, the Northern Territory and Queensland have all closed their borders to a greater or lesser extent. Tasmania has said it will turn around visitors from interstate who do not have an essential purpose to their trip.

Remote communities

The restrictions in the Northern Territory do not apply to the remote communities because of the strong restrictions already in place in those communities.

Source: The Guardian March 25, 2020

FEDERAL GOVERNMENT ANNOUNCES NEW SMALL BUSINESS FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE

We have compiled a list of Federal & State Government assistance that has been announced for both businesses and individuals, which will help you understand what is available to you.

You will be aware that things are changing almost daily and even some of the information below is short on clarity on how to access.

FOR BUSINESS

PAYG WITHHOLDING REBATES

  • The government has announced that it will be providing between $20,000 and $100,000 to eligible small businesses who employ people (including owners)
  • Businesses with turnover of less than $50 million will qualify, as well as not-for-profits
  • This will come in the form of a credit on your activity statement for 100% of the PAYG withheld
  • This measure will be in place until October 2020

TEMPORARY RELIEF FOR FINANCIALLY STRESSED BUSINESSES

  • The government has increased the threshold at which creditors can issue a statutory demand and the time businesses have to respond to statutory demands
  • There is also temporary relief for directors for any personal liability for trading whilst insolvent
  • The ATO will allow deferral or temporary reduction of payments for up to 4 months for the following – GST, PAYG, Income Tax, FBT & Excise
  • The ATO will also temporarily withhold enforcement action such as Director Penalty Notices and Winding-Up Notices
  • Business on a quarterly GST reporting cycle will be able to change to monthly GST in order to access GST refunds more quickly

INSTANT ASSET WRITE OFF

  • The government has increased the instant asset write-off threshold from $30,000 to $150,000
  • This can be accessed by business with an aggregated annual turnover of less than $500 million

INVESTMENT ALLOWANCE

  • The government has introduced an investment incentive which will allows businesses to deduct 50% of the cost of an asset when it is installed, with existing depreciation rules to apply to the balance of the assets cost
  • This will apply up until 30 June 2021
  • This can be accessed by businesses with an aggravated turnover of less than $500 million
  • An example of this would be a business purchasing an asset worth $300,000. Ordinarily they would only be able to deduct 15% in the first year ($45,000). Under the investment allowance, the business could claim 50% of the asset cost plus the 15% in the first year ($195,000 deduction in the first year)

EMPLOYING APPRENTICES/TRAINEES

  • Eligible employers can apply for a wage subsidy of 50 percent of the apprentice/trainees wage for 9 months (1 January 2020 to 30 September 2020)
  • Employers will be subsidised up to $21,000 per eligible apprentice/trainee ($7,000 per quarter)

GUARANTEEING LOANS

  • The government will provide a guarantee of 50 percent to lenders for unsecured business loans for small businesses
  • This applies to loans up to $250,000
  • The government will guarantee the loan for up to 3 years

PAYROLL TAX REFUNDS

  • The Victorian government has announced Payroll Tax cash refunds for businesses
  • They will refund the payroll tax paid in the first 3 quarters of the current financial year
  • This applies to business with a payroll of less than $3 million

GOVERNMENT GRANTS

  • The Victorian government has also announced $500 million in funding for those businesses doing it tough as a result of the Coronavirus
  • This will be spent in the form of hardship payments, small grants and business support services
  • Further details to be announced regarding who will qualify and how to apply for the grants

PAUSE ON BUSINESS LOAN REPAYMENTS

  • Banks will be allowing customers to freeze their business loan repayments for up to 6 months
  • Please contact your bank to see whether you qualify

When speaking to your staff about their employment in this crisis, there are a number of touch points for individuals in the government’s efforts in stimulus

Some legal allowances were just announced too:
In particular, the government intends to relieve directors from the risk of personal liability for insolvent trading, where the debts are incurred in the ordinary course of business.

In addition, the minimum threshold at which creditors can issue a statutory demand will increase from $2,000 to $20,000, and companies will have 6 months to respond to the statutory demand rather than the current 21 days. Other measures are also included in the proposal, details of which are set out below.
https://treasury.gov.au/sites/default/files/2020-03/Fact_sheet-Providing_temporary_relief_for_financially_distressed_businesses.pdf

FOR INDIVIDUALS

NEWSTART/JOBSEEKER PAYMENTS

  • The government have announced a temporary (6 month) Coronavirus Supplement of $550 per fortnight for Jobseekers in addition to the current payments
  • They have also waived asset tests and waiting periods for those who are recently unemployed
  • The supplement is also available to casuals and sole traders who earn less than $1,075 per fortnight

ACCESSING SUPERANNUATION

  • Those eligible for the Coronavirus Supplement or sole traders/casuals whose hours or income have fallen by at least 20% or more as a result of the Coronavirus may be able to access their superannuation
  • Withdrawals will be capped at $10,000 this financial year and a further $10,000 next financial year and will be tax free

PAUSE ON HOME LOAN REPAYMENTS

  • Some banks are allowing you to freeze your mortgage repayments for up to 6 months
  • You will need to contact your bank to see whether you qualify

$750 GOVERNMENT PAYMENTS

  • 2 payments of $750 will be made to those receiving the Age Pension, Carers Allowance, Family Tax Benefits and Commonwealth Seniors Card Holders, as well as those in receipt of other income support payments
  • The first payment will be made from 31 March 2020
  • The second payment will be made from 13 July 2020

COVID-19 UPDATE: FAQs

What can the AMA do for us amid this pandemic?
Our executive committee has been working behind the scenes to provide a connection between suppliers and retailers as this crisis has deepened. And to provide as many resources as we can into one place that hopefully sends you to the right place.

At our remote meeting this week, the committee offered to be available should members need advice. If you could channel any urgent questions you have through Rob Walker – info@australianmusic.asn.au, and if he can’t answer immediately or refer you to the right resources, we’ll workshop it amongst the group.

Members are anxious as to when they might be directed to close. And therefore, when they might be forced to stand staff down and so on – and rightly so.

The Fair Work website is prescriptive for businesses with staff matters and the coronavirus, and your accountant should guide you through it.

The AMA is also using it’s end-user platforms to inform the consumer about where they can get their gear. We will also be promoting initiatives that support people making music during these most difficult of times.

The association would not intervene in matters of a commercial nature, but recommends that retailers maintain pro-active communication with their suppliers throughout this crisis and vice versa of course. We will all have a role to play.

We wish you all the best through this crisis, and assure you of our support throughout it and on the other side.

Q What Resources can the AMA Provide?
Besides the information in this Q & A, (which we are updating
as often as we can with new information) we have designed a few generic
posters for you to print. These can be download at these links

Health precautions sign

Store rules sign

Number of customers allowed sign

Q How do I manage my staff if I am forced to close by business? Can any non-essential employees that cannot be provided with a reasonable workload off site be stood down? Are all casual staff shifts to be cancelled if a business is forced to shut down for any period of time?
Are all questions that have been filtering through the ether of the music retail network.

There are fairly clear guidelines at Fair Work Australia that directly addresses these and many more questions. CLICK HERE FOR THE LATEST INFORMATION

Our group has observed a “we’re in this together” attitude in the industry and that frank and open discussions with staff are what’s required. We want their jobs available at the end of any shut down.

We have included information state-by-state of government assistance to workers.

The Australian Retailers Association conducted a Webinar on Managing Health and Safety in the Worplace – VIEW IT HERE

Will my business be forced to close?
There is much anxiety in arriving at the point when businesses are going to be asked to shut. Victoria and NSW are both working on tougher measures.

The current measures can be viewed here – What are non-essential activities?

At March 26, music retailers were able to trade, both instore and online – provided the work practices adhered to government guidelines.

Stores must apply a limit to the number of people that are instore at one time. Observe the 4m2 social distancing rule.

Stores must enforce strict personal hygiene measures. This may include providing staff with hospital-grade hand sanitiser and hand wash. Furthermore, staff should be advised to only cough into their elbows and regularly wipe down surfaces. Having hand sanitiser on retail counters in view of customers engenders confidence in the cleanliness of the store.

What government assistance is available for my business? And my People?
The Guardian produced a good overview of what federal assistance there is for both businesses and people, as well as a state-by-state guide. CLICK HERE

What do I have to do to get government PAYG credit funds if any are applicable to me?
As we understand it, Nothing. Up to 100k will be credited to qualifying businesses in the April activity cycle. If you are unsure whether you qualify call your accountant. There is a summary of the government

Can we still ship online orders and if so, how many staff?
Online orders can still be shipped. Freight, logistics, home delivery are considered essential. Operations would have to observe government social distancing regulations of the day (and it is changing by the day).

What do I do if I can’t pay rent?
The federal government has said that Renters plunged into economic hardship by the coronavirus will be protected from being kicked out of their homes under a national plan to protect Australians from homelessness.

This still has not happened with the federal government now looking to the States to put something formal in place

Tasmania has put a moratorium on rent of 120 days announced March 26.

Victoria and NSW has indicated it will make announcements this week.

What will supply look like in the coming months
Suppliers have different issues to deal with. Most suppliers have a broad supply chain. It is thought there would be 3 months stock – this will be a moot point if shut down of retail occurs. From all accounts this is being considered in Victoria and NSW at least. The real challenge will be down the track according to key wholesalers.

What About Laybys?

Retailers have started being asked to cancel and refund Laybys. As per Fair Trading regulations retailers are legally allowed to charge a cancellation fee. Our feedback has been that retailers have decided to wave that fee and refund anyone who needs their deposits back.

Summary of Government and Help Sites

 

STAYING OPEN STAYING SAFE

We have talked to some of our retailers about what actions they were taking during this last week or so.

First, follow World Health Organisation procedures on personal hygiene and proximity, cancelling any group activities (such as staff training), and conducting meetings over the phone, rather than in person.

Keep your customers informed – for example from one of our members;

For the time being, all our stores are maintaining their regular opening hours. Naturally, we are offering the same friendly service, but are cutting down on contact (sorry, no handshakes or hugs for now). We are regularly disinfecting our demo gear. Hand sanitiser is being made available and we encourage payment via card rather than cash. Should you feel unwell (fever, cough, sore throat, runny nose, headache or shortness of breath) or if you have recently returned from overseas, we ask that you refrain from visiting us in store in order to ensure the safety of all customers and our team. In many cases, we can look after you just as well if you browse our website, give us a call or email us instead.

Q: Should retailers stop taking cash?
The W.H.O. is advising everyone to wash their hands after using cash money, especially if handling or eating food.

To be safe, you could encourage use of card machines and ideally contactless and try to have a sanitiser close for team members who may handle cash. Perhaps restrict cash handling to a single till in the store.

Q: How do retailers handle a customer sneezing or coughing, especially into their hands
Advise your teams to offer customers tissues and once they do, say “we do have sanitiser available”. This is polite and helpful without being accusatory. Keep a reasonable distance from customers; 1-2 metres where possible.

Q: What about people wanting to try an instrument instore?
One of our committee members has implemented a No Blow policy for all brass, woodwind, harmonicas etc. We have used his idea and prepared generic artwork for members use. Download No Blow artwork here

Put a sign on the door stating it’s a condition of entry that if you plan on trying an instrument you need to use the hand sanitiser we’ve provided at the entrance.

Download sanitiser art HERE

With guitars for example, customers should be asked to use the hand sanitiser that you are making available.  We have been advised to be careful with using hand sanitiser and then touching guitars that have Nitrocellulose finishes. These two things do not mix well apparently! Maton has confirmed this as their belief too and we are advised affects Fender, Gibson & Martin also.

From Fender USA;
“Hand sanitizer is 60+% percent alcohol which can cause clouding in lacquer finishes.

But, the alcohol residue from using hand sanitizer would be super minimal as the alcohol dries into the air rapidly. I wouldn’t use sanitizer or wipes with alcohol directly on the guitar but a person who’s used sanitizer, and it’s dried, shouldn’t be a problem”

Q: What actions can retailers take in the store?
A: Thoroughly clean doors, counters, computers, and areas where customers may touch. Instruments, especially wind, are being thoroughly cleaned and disinfected.

Again, some retailers are printing advice to customers and posting it around the store.

One of our retailers has divided its staff, with half working in the warehouse doing administrative stuff, half on the sales floor. This way if one gets sick hopefully it doesn’t affect the whole team. (Obviously not practical for all stores).

Next a store policy of one staff member per computer and per phone, (no sharing workspaces, calls are transferred rather than phones being handed around) and all sanitised at end of shift. EFT keypad sanitised after any touch.

Provide hand sanitiser on counters in clear view and encourage customers to use it, as well as staff after they have dealt with a customer. Keep the customer informed of the policies in your store at this time.

Q: How do you reassure your staff?
Be as understanding as possible, stress the social distancing measures that are recommended when dealing with a customer and all the other initiatives you are putting in place to keep people safe.

Talk as a group with your team to ensure no one has been in a high-risk situation, reassuring them their workplace is as safe as it can be.

Many staff are part-time musicians who have lost their gigs – have empathy.

Q: Are there any changes in consumer behaviour that you’ve noticed?
Retailers are noticing an increase in phone and email enquiries. Customers who are concerned about being at home for a prolonged period maybe looking to making music to relieve stress and anxiety.

People are anxious generally – so anything retailers can do to reassure them will help. Some retailers report people being nervous of the delivery contractors, so there are particular challenges.

Some people are assuming that stores are closed, so promote that its business as usual, and that the store is using best practice for the safety of everyone.

Q: How is the online business going?
Some retailers with an online store have noticed increased business, others not so much. We guess this could be expected to increase. Promote to customers that business is open online. Offer your product expertise over the phone or by email. Reassure customers of your warehouse procedures.

Another good idea from one of our members;

Online Ordering
Our online ordering service is running as usual with a full team working in our online orders department, ready for your enquiries. We are waiving our usual $xx order minimum AND going one step further and offering free shipping on all products (Including bulky or heavy products). We encourage you to take advantage of this offer rather than collecting your purchase in store.

Australian Musician’s Greg Phillips caught up with Jordan Wieland from Haworth Guitars to discuss how they are going about business during this period

If anyone else would like to do a Skype interview to promote their business, share advice or solutions, please contact us info@australianmusician.com.au

We’d like to acknowledge the contributions of our members to the above:
Graham Hoskins, Concept Music WA, Craig Johnston, Keyboard Corner/KC’s Rock Shop, VIC
Mark King, Australian Piano Warehouse, Jordan Wieland, Haworth Guitars, NSW, Andrew Muller, Store DJ/Mannys

 

 

Federal Government Announces Economic Stimulus Package for Small Business

On March 12, 2020 the federal government announced a variety of economic measures including the boosting cash flow for employers measure which will provide up to $25,000 back to business, with a minimum payment of $2,000 for eligible businesses. The payment will provide temporary cash flow support to small and medium businesses that employ staff. The payment will be tax free. For full eligibility details CLICK HERE FOR GOVERNMENT INFO

These claims can be made in conjunction with quartley BAS activities.

Employer, finance and business obligations

Last Updated: 15 March 2020

Find out how to meet your employer and business obligations and isolation requirements if you’re affected by the coronavirus. CLICK HERE FOR GOVERNMENT INFO

Covid-19 Impacts Daily Life and How we work

In a time of great uncertainty, the community is starting to make hard decisions in order to limit as much as possible the spread of Covid-19 virus. The AMA committee has considered our options going forward as we have events planned that bring our members and the industry together over the coming months. We will keep members informed as this situation develops.

We have also observed decisive action taken by organisations such as the National Band Championships, Yamaha Music, the Grand Prix Corporation and others in cancelling meetings and events planned for now and in the coming months. Frankfurt Musikmesse and other major industry events around the globe have been cancelled or postponed.

No doubt many wholesalers have been planning events involving travel, and gathering people in close quarters. The chief medical officer has today recommended disallowing public gatherings of more than 500 people to the federal government.

Retailers are in the front line dealing with the public, and possibly extending their activities staging events and organising music lessons for hundreds of students.

Music products is a major employer in the music industry. The current situation is already impacting members on the human perspective, with Yamaha reporting a staff member going to isolation.

Managing your employees well is crucial in minimising the impact of the virus spreading.

For a comprehensive resource available for retailers from the ARA CLICK HERE

Reduce the Risk of Your Employees Contracting Coronavirus

There are several measures that employers can take in order to reduce the risk of their employees contracting coronavirus. These things include:

  • Staying up to date with the latest updates as the situation continues to change. This information should be obtained from reputable sources like the Australian Government’s Department of Health or the World Health Organisation (WHO).
  • Enforcing strict personal hygiene measures. This may include providing staff with the facilities required to do so, such as hospital-grade hand sanitiser and hand wash. Furthermore, staff should be advised to only cough into their elbows and regularly wipe down surfaces. Having hand sanitiser on retail counters in view of customers engenders confidence in the cleanliness of the store. Alcohol based wipes for instruments.
  • Any staff who fit the above criteria for being at-risk to have contracted coronavirus, and anyone who is displaying symptoms – such as fever or breathing difficulty – should be advised to immediately seek medical attention or self-isolate until they have been cleared by a medical professional. If any employees are confirmed to have contracted COVID-19, they must self-isolate for 14 days.

If You Suspect An Employee Has Contracted Coronavirus

If you suspect a staff member has coronavirus you should immediately advise them to call (not visit) their GP or ring the national Coronavirus Health Information Hotline on 1800 020 080.

If one of your employees contracts COVID-19, they may be entitled to:

  • Paid leave
  • Annual leave or long-service leave

In accordance with the Fair Work Act, if an employee is confirmed to have coronavirus, employers may have the right to stand them down. In general, stand down periods are unpaid but, if applicable, employees may take paid leave.

Employees who are in isolation should alert their employer. Depending on the type of work, and provided the employee is well, they may want to discuss alternative arrangements such as working from home.

 Working from Home

Working remotely from home, may be a viable and even necessary option should employees be required to self-isolate. However it often requires negotiations between employers and employees regarding the resources employers will provide employees in order to provide them with suitable work conditions.

Once an agreement has been made, the conditions or work, responsibilities of the employer and responsibilities of the employee should all be documented in writing.

Working from Home Checklist

Following an agreement there are things to pay attention to regarding Work Health and Safety; the following link provides good information  CLICK HERE

Though the full impact of the COVID-19 situation is yet unknown, as it continues to develop it becomes increasingly likely that having employees work from home while self-isolating may be a key element to enable business and association operations.

Further Information

For further information:

We are in unchartered territory. We will stand ready to assist governments and others in distributing messages that concern small business and their employees. It is still early days they say and we will maintain a close eye on the official information sources.

May social distancing provide us with a renewed appreciation of being connected – we send our best wishes to all our members and know the music industry will pull together as always.

Note: This article is for general information and to draw attention to the issue and to resources that are available. For any specific matters seek expert/legal advice