As an independent consultant or contractor operating during a global health crisis, Expert360 are navigating responses regularly to COVID-19 for our broader community. 

We would like to acknowledge the current uncertainty for individuals, families and a very vulnerable community, and let you know that we wholeheartedly support the Government’s efforts to support our country through these unprecedented times.

We wanted to share some of the trending questions and answers we find ourselves offering our community as at 31st March 2020:

What do the Wage Subsidy announcements mean, and do they apply to me?

The Government’s economic response targets these areas that may relate to a Contractor or Independent Consultant:

  • Support for Individuals
  • Income support for individuals
  • Payments to support households
  • Temporary early release of superannuation
  • Temporarily reducing superannuation minimum drawdown rates
  • Reducing social security deeming rates
  • Support for households
  • Temporary relief for financially distressed businesses
  • Increasing the instant asset write-off
  • Backing business investment

For more information and questions, we encourage you to go to the Treasury 

What benefits can I access as an Independent Contractor or Consultant?

On Monday 30th, the Morrison Government announced a 130b support package with a JobKeeper Payment. This is for eligible employers and employees to access. 

This is great news for gig workers, if they are registered as Sole Traders with the organisation they are working in. Here is some more information on eligibility:

  • Were employed by an eligible employer at 1 March 2020
  • Can be sole traders, full-time, part-time, or long-term casuals employed on a regular basis for longer than 12 months as at 1 March 2020.
  • Are at least 16 years of age.
  • Are an Australian citizen, the holder of a permanent visa, a protected special category visa, a non-protected special category visa who has been residing continually in Australia for 10 years or more, or a New Zealander on a special category (subclass 444) visa.

As this announcement has just come out, a lot of organisations are finding out about their eligibility, as they have to be eligible first. To find out if you can access this payment, you should contact your client that you are providing consulting services to. 

We encourage our community to get familiar with the Fact Sheets released in the Government’s economic response to Coronavirus COVID-19, paying attention to the Job Seeker Payment. 

Am I eligible for Centrelink?

From April 27 Centrelink announced updates to their JobSeeker Allowance. In summary, you will be eligible to access this type of support if you are:

  • A permanent employee who has been stood down or sacked
  • A sole trader, self-employed, casual worker or contract worker who now earns less than $1,075 a fortnight as a result of the economic downturn
  • You're caring for someone who has COVID-19

For more information and questions, please visit Centerlink - Job Seeker

How will I support my rent?

The Government has placed a moratorium on evictions for residential and commercial rent - this means, no-one can be evicted for not paying for 6 months if you are unable to do so due to financial distress as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Is it still a good time to freelance?

Expert360 have a strong stance that organisations will need to get various important pieces of work done throughout their business during this challenging time in various areas, and a contingent workforce is going to be a great way to achieve that. However, given the growing uncertainty, it is important to consider:

  • Why do I want to freelance? Know what drives you. Is it the flexibility, the potential earning, the ability to upskill, or something else. Being honest and authentic about why you want this will help you consider if this will fulfil you 
  • Can you afford it? One of the biggest changes to life as a freelancer is quite simply, the money side. 
  • How comfortable are you with the uncomfortable?  A fear that a brand new freelancer as well as an elite, highly networked freelancer has. How comfortable are you to not know where or when your next job will land?
  • What is my sweet spot, and who will need my help? How mission critical can your work in the current landscape? Is it aligned to growing demands?
  • What is the back up plan? Support is a huge part of going independent. Family, friends and former colleagues will likely be your support network. If things don’t quite work out, is there an alternative? What are your relationships like? Is there an open door policy with your current employer?

I need more work, where can I go?

Expert360 is only one avenue for project based work. We encourage you to login to our platform regularly where you can browse open projects that you can apply to right away. We have also offered reduced margins for Small Businesses looking to hire a consultant, to play our part in helping as many small businesses survive COVID-19. There are many great places that are looking for great talent. Check out Seek, LinkedIn, and fellow marketplace AirTasker for interesting tasks to make some extra cash.

Within the Expert360 community during this time, we are seeing a steady demand in Industries such as:

  • Banking and Finance
  • Retail 
  • Health
  • Telco

As per a recent LinkedIn Report, Australian Industries that have seen an increase in hiring in the last weeks of March in these areas:

  • Finance: 10.3%
  • Software & IT Services: 17.3%
  • Healthcare:12.6%

Expert360 envisage organisations will require the following services in the coming weeks and months:

  • Change Management
  • Crisis Management
  • Strategy and Planning
  • Risk and Governance
  • Cyber Risk 
  • IT

How many projects are out there in my field?

Expert360 is only one avenue for Project Based / non permanent work within our core areas of specialisation. We encourage you to look at other platforms and job boards to keep an eye out for work in your field. Please feel free to contact us at community@expert360.com for more information on type of work within your specialisation.

Keeping track of reliable news is something we highly recommend. A great place for updates is the Government Whatsapp Channel

Together we are adapting daily to produce content and information that may be helpful for our community, and we care deeply about transparency and the wellbeing of our community. We do insist you consult with your Accountant, Financial Planner or a Professional Expert or organisation.

On behalf of the team here at Expert360, take care and stay safe.