Our latest thinking on COVID-19

CDOVID-19 illustration with world globe

COVID-19: an 'act of God'?

2 April 2020

The term 'act of God' appears regularly within contracts, but is not a concept that is defined under statute. In light of the COVID-19 outbreak, many parties are considering whether the outbreak itself is an 'act of God'. Partners from our Corporate and Commercial team tackle the crucial questions this raises. They also point out what you should look for in your contracts.

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Fair Work Commission to create new entitlements in modern awards

2 April 2020

Following recent changes to the Hospitality Industry (General) Award 2010, Clerks – Private Sector Award 2010 and the Restaurant Industry Award 2010 to introduce greater flexibility during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Fair Work Commission has now announced a proposal to vary a further 103 modern awards. Our Employment team brings you this roundup of the proposed changes.

coronavirus tax deductions article

What deductions can you claim if you are self-isolating and working from home during COVID-19?

2 April 2020

If you have recently been directed to work from home as part of the response to COVID-19, you may be wondering what work expenses you are entitled to claim as a deduction. Peter Murray and Rachel Law from our tax team guide you through the equipment costs, running costs and occupancy costs you may be entitled to claim as a deduction.

JobKeeper resource centre

The JobKeeper Payment: everything you need to know - webinar

2 April 2020

The JobKeeper Payment is designed to support businesses through the uncertainty that COVID-19 has created. The focus is on keeping businesses up and running, and we want to support you and your business in achieving this. We have created a short webinar to outline the JobKeeper Payment, highlighting what is key for businesses. We will also have experts in employment, tax and commercial law online to answer questions during the webinar.

Coronavirus capital raising article

Raising capital amidst the COVID-19 crisis

1 April 2020

We are all aware that the COVID-19 pandemic is having a massive impact on the business operations of many Australian listed companies and Australian and global securities markets. With many businesses needing additional capital to sustain or evolve their operations through the next six months (or longer), raising new capital will be crucial for the survival of many listed entities.

Coronavirus startups article

COVID-19 stimulus incentives for startups and small business

1 April 2020

Startups and small businesses are no strangers to uncertain times, and many have had to pivot in response to the COVID-19 outbreak. Here's what startups need to know about COVID-19 and the federal and state government stimulus packages.


COVID-19 and the immediate regulatory impact on the health and aged care sector

1 April 2020

COVID-19 has presented a number of regulatory and legal challenges for the Australian health and aged care sector. This article summarises some of the support provided by the Australian Government sector, as well as some of the regulatory restrictions involved in operating a health or aged care facility, including hospitals.


Holding AGMs during the COVID-19 crisis 

1 April 2020

The current coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19) has many entities with a 31 December financial year end rethinking their Annual General Meeting (AGM) arrangements for 2020. In light of the new COVID-19 gathering restrictions, entities must now consider either postponing their AGM or conducting it in a different way, such as holding a hybrid or virtual AGM.

Coronavirus illustration with graphs

COVID-19: JobKeeper payment 

31 March 2020

Wondering whether your business is eligible for the Federal Government's JobKeeper Payment for businesses significantly impacted by COVID-19? Partners from our Employment, Tax, and Corporate and Commercial teams unpack the details of this new economic subsidy.


Privacy law issues in response to COVID-19

31 March 2020

Organisations are facing unprecedented challenges to address the spread of COVID-19. In doing so, organisations are likely to be handling more and different personal information than normal. It is important that when designing and implementing measures in response to the coronavirus pandemic, organisations understand their privacy obligations.

Coronavirus illustration

COVID-19 update for employers

30 March 2020

In this update, our Employment team looks at some of the changes made to legislation and awards because of COVID-19 that employers need to know about. Read about changes to the Long Service Leave Act, Hospitality Award 2010 and Clerks – Private Sector Award 2010.

reform_update retail

Reform update: retail and commercial leases impacted by COVID-19

30 March 2020

On 29 March, the Prime Minister indicated the National Cabinet has agreed to impose a temporary moratorium for tenants impacted by COVID-19. This will be implemented soon and will significantly alter the rights between landlords and tenants.

COVID-19 temporary changes to FIRB notifications and foreign investment

Temporary changes to FIRB notifications and foreign investment 

30 March 2020

In a major development for the flow of foreign investment into Australia, all proposed foreign investments must now be notified to the Foreign Investment Review Board (FIRB) and receive a statement of no objection before they can proceed.

Coronavirus through a microscope

COVID-19 and the immediate impact on the health and aged care sector – webinar

31 March 2020

Join us for a short webinar on the immediate impact of COVID-19 on the health and aged care sector. Our partners Alison Choy Flannigan and Karl Rozenbergs will identify the current changes, possible issues, and solutions for the sector.

COVID-19 Webinar 2

COVID-19 and your business – webinar 2

26 March 2020

  • An overview of current corporate governance risks, including directors duties, the guidance that ASIC issued on AGMs late last week, and staying on top of the implications of the COVID-19 pandemic to the business. Presented by Deborah Chew.
  • Looking at how privacy laws may impact businesses during COVID-19, including managing employee and customer health information. Presented by Alison Baker.
  • A quick update on any employment law changes over the week. Presented by Alison Baker.
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A franchisor's guide to responding to the COVID-19 crisis

26 March 2020

The effects of coronavirus (COVID-19) are being felt by every business, big or small. For a franchisor, it is likely that your business and the business of franchisees operating within your system, as a 'non-essential service', will be impacted by government-mandated restrictions.

Empty car park near shops

Rental law changes to shield tenants during coronavirus

26 March 2020

The effects of coronavirus (COVID-19) are being felt by every business, big or small. For a franchisor, it is likely that your business and the business of franchisees operating within your system, as a 'non-essential service', will be impacted by government-mandated restrictions.

Australian Government cancels elective surgery in public and private hospitals

Australian Government cancels elective surgery in public and private hospitals

25 March 2020

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Prime Minister Scott Morrison has announced that all non-urgent elective surgery will be temporarily suspended from 11.59 pm (local time) on 25 March 2020 in both public and private hospitals.

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Stimulus packages and economic response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) to assist Australian businesses

24 March 2020

With COVID-19 impacting all areas of life, the Federal Government has announced its second economic stimulus package, bringing the total economic value to $189 billion. Our Commercial Dispute Resolution team explains what this means.

Coronavirus illustration, financial figures, pie charts and bar graphs

COVID-19 stimulus package – superannuation aspects

24 March 2020

The Federal Government announced a second stimulus package of $66 billion on 22 March 2020 to keep Australians employed as the economy takes a hit from the spread of coronavirus. Here's what's notable for superannuation funds.

Covid-19 charities

COVID-19 and charities – impacts and government relief

24 March 2020

This article covers some of the recently announced support measures for the charity and not-for-profit sector experience the challenges of COVID-19

Empty cafe with chairs stacked up

Can employees of organisations providing 'non-essential services' be stood down?

24 March 2020

The indefinite suspension of ‘non-essential’ services and gatherings has given rise to many legal questions for employers. One key question is: If my business cannot operate, can staff be stood down?

Microscopic view of Viruses - 3D Render Microbiology And Virology Concept

Contracts: your questions answered about frustration and force majeure

23 March 2020

Frustration is a doctrine developed by the common law to deal with situations where: an event or series of events, that are not foreseeable, occur without breach by either party or that make performance of the contract radically changed. Ask yourself: does the event that your business is facing satisfy each of the criteria above in the context of your particular contract?

Microscopic view of influenza virus cells

Temporary relief for financially distressed businesses – changes to the Corporations Act 2001 (Cth)

23 March 2020

The Federal Government has announced a package of changes to Australian insolvency and bankruptcy laws to provide some relief to businesses and individuals who may face financial distress from the economic impacts of the current health crisis. We provide a summary of the intended changes to the Corporations Act, and of the further potential claims that should still be considered by companies.

COVID-19 and your business

COVID-19 and your business - webinar 1

Tuesday 24 March, 2.00 – 2.30pm

  • An overview of the tax strategies to assist businesses manage and make tax easier, including the Australian Government’s Economic response phase 1 and 2; and administrative tax measures to assist Australians experiencing financial difficulty as a result of COVID-19. Presented by Peter Murray.
  • Property issues, in particular what to do when you or your tenant can’t use their premises or parties are seeking to withdraw from current transactions. Presented by Natalie Bannister.
Advice for landlords and tenants COVID-19 article

COVID-19 business interruption - advice for landlords and tenants

23 March 2020

With state governments announcing comprehensive shut-downs to ‘non-essential’ services due to #COVID19, what happens under a commercial lease to obligations to trade and to make rent payments? Jane Baddeley examines the obligations and options of commercial tenants and landlords.

Coronavirus illustration

COVID-19: impact on insurance policies

20 March 2020

There is tremendous anxiety among businesses and consumers as a result of COVID-19. Naturally, people and business are turning to their insurance policies to see whether or not they have cover for the disruption caused.

Coronavirus illustration with graphs

Banks to help small businesses through COVID-19 uncertainty

20 March 2020

The Australian Banking Association announced today that all banks will defer small business loan repayments for six months, aiming to free up $8 billion to support businesses through the coronavirus crisis. Businesses need to be aware of what 'event of default' clauses might exist in their loan agreement. Hall & Wilcox banking partner Nick Slack explains.

An empty airport

Travel ban due to COVID-19: the latest, as at 20 March

20 March 2020

The Federal Government has just announced a travel ban to begin from 9 pm on Friday, 20 March 2020. Once in place, only Australian citizens, permanent residents and their family members (spouse, de facto partner, children) will be allowed entry. They are expected to self-isolate for 14 days after arrival.


Webinar: COVID-19 and your business

19 March 2020

COVID-19 has created a lot of uncertainty for businesses in a range of legal and commercial areas. We have created a webinar to support our clients in identifying possible issues before they arise.


'Business as (un) usual', are you prepared for lock down on short notice?

19 March 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic is a rapidly evolving and escalating situation. We are in unprecedented times. With COVID 19 escalating, restrictions are changing day by day.  We recommend that you keep up to date with the Government websites.

Illustration: COVID-19 signage at an airport

COVID-19 and the visa situation

18 March 2020

As most are aware, the Australian Government has barred individuals who are physically in China, South Korea, Iran and Italy from entering Australia, unless they are Australian citizens, permanent residents or New Zealand citizens who permanently reside in Australia. Those who are the spouses, de facto partners or children of citizens or permanent residents will also be permitted entry. The bar is not specifically directed at the nationality but those who have physically been in these countries.

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COVID-19: powers of attorney and getting things done 

18 March 2020

One reality of COVID-19 is that many people will need to self isolate or be quarantined or worse still, be treated for the virus. At a practical level, being able to get things done becomes harder. Advances in technology have reduced some issues; however, there are many instances where people need to be formally authorised to make decisions for you.

Coronavirus illustration with financial charts and graphs

Cash flow relief for businesses impacted by COVID-19

 18 March 2020

The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) has indicated its willingness to engage with businesses affected by COVID-19 to assist with their cash flow. This assistance will not be automatic; businesses need to be proactive and the Tax team at Hall & Wilcox has the lines of communication with the ATO to assist.

COVID-19 cost saving options for employers

COVID cost saving options for employers

17 March 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic is set to weigh heavily on the Australian economy.  The OECD’S Interim Economic Outlook for March has confirmed that the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak on economic prospects is severe.[1]  Workplaces are being forced to contain costs and manage the significant financial impacts of the pandemic.

Illustration of coronavirus through a microscope

How the safe harbour regime can help businesses through the economic effect of COVID-19

17 March 2020

A new 'safe harbour' regime was implemented in September 2017 to provide directors who were trying to save a business with protection from future insolvent trading claims. No one could have predicted how important that regime is about to become. Given the escalating stress that is being placed on businesses because of COVID-19, many otherwise successful businesses may risk meeting the definition of insolvency. If the business ultimately cannot survive, directors may be personally at risk of future insolvency trading claims unless safe harbour is implemented.


When does COVID-19 trigger an entitlement to workers' compensation?

16 March 2020

Much commentary to date has focused on the steps that employers should be taking to minimise the COVID-19 risks to their businesses and employees. What if an employee contracts the virus? Are they likely to be entitled to workers’ compensation?

Microscopic illustration of COVID-19

Novel coronavirus (COVID-19): implications for employers

12 March 2020

On 11 March 2020 the World Health Organisation (WHO) declared the outbreak of COVID-19 a pandemic, and the emergency has continued to escalate, but what are the implications for employers?

Health Law webinar

Health Law webinar 1: Houston, we have a problem: what to do about COVID-19

12 March 2020

Hall & Wilcox’s recent webinar, held in conjunction with ACHSM, the AHHA and the ACIPC, provided an insightful discussion into how those who care for the vulnerable (including hospitals, aged care providers, retirement living operators, disability providers, medical practitioners, schools) and all employers can respond to a significant event involving an infection outbreak.


Health and Community Law Alert: 2019 novel coronavirus & infectious diseases: what health, disability and aged care providers can do

4 March 2020

Hall & Wilcox Partner Alison Choy Flannigan outlines what health, disability and aged care providers can do regarding the COVID-19 pandemic.