Latest COVID-19 Information for members

Announcement 6 September 2020

The Victorian Government has announced that Stage 4 industry restrictions will remain in place until Sunday 27 September.

From 28 September, building sites return to 85% capacity. That’s good news.

The State Government has released a traffic light system for industry restrictions as part of its roadmap to COVID Normal.

RED – Closed
ORANGE – Heavily Restricted
YELLOW – Restricted
GREEN – Open with a COVIDSafe Plan

Currently, large-scale commercial construction in Metropolitan Melbourne operates under ORANGE - Heavily Restricted. Step 2 of the roadmap proposes that our industry move to YELLOW – Restricted on Monday 28 September.

Key takeaway for industry

All employers operate their building sites under a High RiskCOVIDSafe Plan.

From 28 September if an average of 30-50 cases per day over a 14-day period is reached.

  • Building sites can operate at 85% of their baseline workforce or 15 workers.
  • All sites will have a dedicated COVIDSafe monitor on site.

From 26 October if case numbers have fallen to the necessary threshold, industry will move to GREEN - Open with COVIDSafe Plan.

  • Workforce quotas will be lifted.
  • The cap on specialist contractors moving between sites will be withdrawn.

Further details can be found on the Government's construction industry guidance material here.

Industry Restrictions Roadmap Metro Melbourne

Industry Restrictions Roadmap Regional Victoria

Industry restriction levels - Construction - early stage land development

Industry restriction levels - Construction - small-scale construction

Industry restriction levels - Construction - large-scale construction

Termination vs Stood Down

Previously, Incolink worker members could only access funds in their account if their employment had been terminated. In March 2020, we responded to the threat COVID-19 posed on our industry and introduced the Incolink COVID-19 payment so that workers could access some of their funds in the event they were stood down by their employer.

If you are stood down as a result of COVID-19, you:

  • Remain connected to your employer so they can have you back at work when restrictions are eased.
  • Have access to Incolink COVID-19 Payments from your Incolink account. (see this section for details and eligibility)
  • May qualify for Job Keeper payments if your employer meets the eligibility criteria.
  • May qualify for Job Seeker payments if you meet the eligibility criteria and cannot access Job Keeper.
  • Continue to have access to Incolink 24/7 Counselling & Support Services for you and your family
  • Continue to be covered by Incolink insurances

If your employment is terminated, you:

  • Will not be connected to your employer making it more difficult to return to work once restrictions are eased.
  • Have access to Redundancy Claims from your Incolink account.
  • May qualify for Job Seeker payments if you meet the eligibility criteria.
  • Are no longer covered by some Incolink insurances.

Note: Under the Fair Work Act and applicable taxation law, an employer cannot make their employee redundant with the intent to rehire them in 6 weeks time.

Incolink COVID-19 Payments

If you are still employed but unable to work as a result of COVID-19, you may be eligible to access some of your Incolink funds by way of the Incolink COVID-19 Payment.

Eligibility Criteria

If you are not earning an income from your employer (including leave entitlements) because:

  • of site closures by your employer due to COVID-19; or
  • you are required by to self-isolate due to exposure to COVID-19 for any period prescribed by federal or state governments

then you can claim the Incolink COVID-19 Payment.

If you are receiving PSLi payments you cannot claim the Incolink COVID-19 Payment.

Your employer must also complete a declaration via EmployerLink to confirm the conditions above.

Please note: as this is not a genuine redundancy payout, Incolink is required by the ATO to withhold tax from COVID-19 payments at a rate of 32%.

You may also be eligible for additional Federal Government income support.

Incolink COVID-19 Payments FAQs

Why have you introduced the Incolink COVID-19 payment?

Incolink is your safety net and we realise these are uncertain times. The COVID-19 payment is designed to provide access for members to some of their funds from their account while they are still employed, but stood down or unable to work due to COVID-19.

Why is it $2,000?

The Board of Incolink has determined the amount of $2,000 (or the lesser balance of an account) per month was appropriate. There is also the ability for a payment to be made every 28 days if eligibility requirements are met including an available balance.

This payment will potentially allow people to also access the other government support payments.

Can I get hardship payments if I’m forced into isolation or stood down by my employer under government direction and how much will I get?

Yes, you can receive the Incolink COVID-19 payment of $2,000 if you have to self-isolate or if you are stood down. It will be taxed at the ATO rate of 32%. You can re-apply for this every 28-days if you continue to be eligible.

Why do I have to pay tax of 32% on a hardship payment if I have to self-isolate or am stood down?

Incolink is required to abide by ATO taxation withholding rates.

Does withholding tax on Incolink COVID-19 payments benefit Incolink?

No, Incolink withholds and pays this tax to the ATO twice weekly as is required by federal government law. There is no financial benefit to Incolink at all.

Will my account balance be affected by any of these changes?

No, this is your money and your balance will only reduce if you make a claim (including the Incolink COVID-19 Payment claim) to withdraw any of your funds.

Can I access Government support payments if I get Incolink COVID-19 payments?

We believe that your COVID-19 payment will not be classified by Centrelink as income.

We recommend you seek independent advice as it relates to your personal circumstances. Please refer to the Centrelink website for details regarding if the Incolink COVID-19 payment will reduce your Centrelink benefits.

Can apprentices receive the Incolink COVID-19 payment?

Incolink Apprentice members may also be eligible for the Incolink COVID-19 Payment. Talk to your employer or call us on 03 9639 3000 to find out if you're eligible.

Why are you encouraging employers to keep workers on when there’s no work?

Unions and Employer associations, along with Incolink believe that a stand down is the best way to approach this unprecedented situation, to allow people to get back to work as soon as possible. Standing a worker down still gives them access to Incolink services including counselling. We encourage members to keep in touch with their union or employer association about how the industry as a whole is responding. We will also keep you updated on major developments.

I am an employer member. How do I nominate my employee for Incolink COVID-19 Payments?

  1. Login to EmployerLink and
  2. Go to the "Manage Workers" tab
  3. Search/filter for the relevant worker or worker/s. Click the member number to edit their status
  4. Select "Change Employment Details"
  5. Select the "COVID-19 Payment Eligible" checkbox
  6. Select "Save" to make sure your changes are made

Support for Apprentices

Incolink COVID-19 Payments are also available to eligible Incolink apprentice members. Call us on 03 9639 3000 to find out if you're eligible.

Apprentices can also access our 24/7 Counselling and support any time on 1300 000 129.

Making a Redundancy Claim

If you are made redundant or are unemployed, you will be able to claim from your Incolink account using WorkerLink or the Incolink App. Information on making a claim is available via our Help Centre.

Insurance Claims

All insurance inquiries, including those in relation to the Incolink Accident and Illness Benefits program and Portable Sick Leave insurance can be made to Total Claims Solutions.

Total Claims Solutions
Level 1, 151 Rathdowne Street
Telephone: (03) 9663 2411

If you need to make a claim, you can do so in three easy steps.

  1. Downloading the relevant claim form from the Total Claims Solutions website
  2. Completing the claim form and preparing other relevant documents
  3. Sending it to Total Claims Solutions via the options outlined on the claim form

Your claim will be assigned to a Claims Manager who will be in touch with you.