New COVID-19 Laws – How do they affect you? 

The COVID-19 restrictions may have been eased but many people still face financial difficulties and an uncertain employment future.

The new COVID-19 Emergency Measures Act and regulations introduced several temporary measures that are designed to give relief to people and businesses facing financial hardship. The measures currently apply until 29 September 2020.

For example, injured workers who have had their Workcover weekly payments terminated after 1 December 2019 are now entitled to an additional 6 months of payments.

Eligible tenants under a commercial lease are small to medium enterprises with an annual turnover of less than $50 million and are participating in the Jobkeeper Scheme. Eligible tenants can put a request in writing to their landlords and landlords must respond within 14 days with an offer of rent relief, taking into account the tenant’s financial circumstances. Tenants and landlords are obliged to cooperate and act in good faith when negotiating rent relief.

If rent relief is unable to be agreed upon, the matter can be referred to the Small Business Commission for mediation.

Residential tenants can also seek rent relief if they face financial hardship due a ‘COVID-19 reason’ such as being ill (whether with COVID or another illness) or complying with a power or recommendation made by the Chief Health Officer or the State Government.

You can access a copy of the new COVID-19 regulations in relation to commercial leases and licences here New Regulations and the new COVID-19 Omnibus (Emergency Measures) Act 2020 here New Act.

For further advice on this legislation you can contact our office on (03) 5032 2711 at any time.