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Coronavirus: How to prepare for the possibility of unemployment

Is your job at risk due to the coronavirus? Start planning now.

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Evaluating their income and expenditures

The coronavirus (COVID-19) isn't just putting public health at risk – it's threatening thousands of jobs across the country and having a huge impact on Australia's economy.

In fact, Finder has surveyed roughly 1,000 Aussies every month, for the past 11 months. For the entire time, 51% of Aussies thought a recession was on the horizon. In March, that number spiked to 62%.

If you're worried the coronavirus could put you out of work, don't wait to take action. This guide will show you ways to prepare, so you'll be in a stronger position if you do lose your job.

Build an emergency fund

Your job might not be at risk right now, but there's no knowing how long the coronavirus outbreak will last, or how badly it will impact the economy.

If you don't already have one, start an emergency fund now. If you do have emergency savings, consider pouring a greater proportion of your income into the fund, so you'll be adequately prepared if you do lose your job.

There are lots of budgeting apps available which could help you squirrel away some extra cash, so you don't find yourself high and dry in an emergency.

Take advantage of the government's stimulus package

If you receive benefits. The government is offering a $750 cash payment to benefit recipients, including people receiving Newstart, Family Tax Benefit, a pension or social security payment, as well as veterans and those with concession cards.

The payment will be applied automatically to those eligible from as soon as 31 March, with the majority of payments sent out by mid-April.

If you run a small business. The government is increasing the instant asset write-off, so more businesses will be able to benefit from the tax relief and it will also apply to higher-priced items.

Almost 700,000 small businesses will also be eligible for a one-off grant of between $2,000 and $25,000. The payment will be tax-free.

Look into insurance options

There are lots of insurance options out there which can help in the event you lose your job or are too sick to work for a while.

⚠️ Remember: There are certain requirements with insurance policies. You may have to hold a policy for a certain length of time before you can claim, or be out of work for a significant period. Contact insurance companies directly for more detailed information.

Consider alternative income

If coronavirus is putting your main income at risk, it might be time to look for a lucrative side-hustle. The more money you earn right now, the more secure you'll be if you do lose your job in a few month's time. If you'd prefer to make money whilst social distancing, you can compare ways to make money online too.

Know your rights

This is tricky, because the government and unions are currently working together to strengthen rights for workers. Even the Fair Work Ombudsman (FWO) isn't providing definitive advice right now, as the situation is changing so rapidly.

However, there are some core rights that always apply:

  • Redundancy: If you're a permanent employee and you're made redundant, you're entitled to redundancy pay. The amount you get is based on how long you've worked for your employer.
  • Sick leave: Full-time and part-time employees can take paid sick leave. If you need to look after a sick family member, you're entitled to paid carer's leave.

Casual employees are entitled to two days of unpaid carer's leave per occasion. Full-time and part-time employees can take unpaid carer's leave if they have no paid sick or carer's leave left.

Picture: GettyImages

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