Small Business Support Pool

The Small Business Support Pool provides a payment of up to $2,000 to small businesses to help them retain an employee who was employed under a Back to Work agreement.

Program key details

Eligible employers


  • with fewer than 20 employees
  • that have a Back to Work agreement for a current employee


Applications are open all year round

Available funding

Up to $2,000 per eligible Back to Work supported employee

Key documents


Business eligibility

Businesses can apply for 1 Small Business Support Pool payment per approved Back to Work agreement.

To be eligible, the business must:

  • have an active Back to Work Employer Incentive Payment and/or Youth Boost payment agreement for a current employee whose employment started on or after 1 July 2021
  • have employed the Back to Work employee for at least 12 weeks
  • employ less than 20 people
  • explain how the funding will help the business retain the Back to Work employee.

Employee eligibility

The employee must have been employed under a Back to Work Employer Incentive Payment or Youth Boost payment agreement.

What funding can and can't be used for

All applications must show how the funding will help to retain the Back to Work supported employee.

Training, mentoring and coaching, including:

  • professional development and upskilling to meet industry regulations and standards
  • professional business advice
  • personal development (e.g. training in Microsoft suite or customer service skills)
  • industry-specific or job-skills training or coaching
  • retraining to help your business diversify.

Digital solutions and upgrades, including buying or subscribing to specialised software.

Workplace fit outs, including:

  • changes to the building to improve accessibility (e.g. installing ramps or lifts)
  • buying furniture or equipment to improve accessibility or to enable the employee to work independently
  • adapting machinery or vehicles (e.g. hydraulic lifts) to improve the employer's ability to work independently.

This list is by no means exhaustive. Businesses may supply additional information on the activity they wish to undertake and how it will support retention of their employee.

You may not use funding for:

  • anything that doesn't clearly help to retain the Back to Work employee
  • marketing, advertising or promotion
  • business operating costs (e.g. rent, utilities, or stock)
  • any support that is already funded by the Australian Government (e.g. you can't apply for funding to renovate a workspace to support an employee with disability if that renovation has already been funded under the Australian Government's Employment Assistance Fund)
  • back payment for goods or services you've already paid for
  • personal or business debt
  • employment costs (e.g. wages, superannuation or WorkCover)
  • services or goods provided by parties related to you (such as companies with common shareholdings or directorship, or your employees or immediate family).

Application process

Applications must be made online via QGrants.

You must answer the questions in the application truthfully. Applications found to include false or misleading information will not be approved and may be referred to the relevant law enforcement authority.

The application is arranged in the following sections:

  • employer details – addressing employer eligibility
  • employee details – addressing employee eligibility
  • employment details – addressing job eligibility
  • attachments – to support the information supplied
  • required declarations and consents.

You'll need to supply important information, including your:

  • contact information
  • bank account details
  • business information
  • supporting documents
    • the employee's most recent payslip (not older than 30 days)
    • a retention statement where you clearly describe how the proposed activity will directly support or enable the Back to Work employee to retain employment with your business
    • one or more quotes for the proposed activity. You can provide quotes for less than $2,000. The maximum amount funded is $2,000.

Remember to keep your contact information up to date so we can contact you about future applications, claims and reviews.

Apply now

Refer to our QGrants application help for instructions on applying through QGrants, status definitions and troubleshooting.

Processing times

Applications submitted with all the required information and documentation are usually processed within 20 business days, depending on how many applications we’ve received.

If we need to request more information, the 20 business days processing time restarts when you submit the requested information.

You can review the status of your application at any time by logging in to QGrants.

If your application is approved, the funds will be transferred into your bank account within 5–10 business days.

If your application is approved

By receiving notification of an approval, you acknowledge that you have entered into a formal agreement with us to undertake the approved activities you outlined in your application.

You also have to:

  • complete a short survey and tell us what the funding was used for, and how it helped to retain the Back to Work supported employee
  • notify us a soon as possible if the employee stops working for you. Email us at detailing
    • the date the employment ceased
    • the reason the employee ceased employment
  • submit evidence of how you spent the funds by providing a tax invoice, issued by an ABN registered supplier. The items in the tax invoice must match the items in the approved application. Submit the tax invoice by logging into QGrants and accessing your agreement
  • acquit the agreement (i.e. spend the funding and supply all the necessary invoices and information) as part of making your 26-week or 52-week claims for the Back to Work Employer Incentive Payment and/or Youth Boost payment.


  • We reserve the right to start recovery action if funding was not spent according to the guidelines and terms and conditions and at least 80% of the total amount of funding granted.
  • You must spend the funding granted under the Small Business Support Pool before making a later payment claim for the Back to Work Employer Incentive Payment.
  • Until you acquit the agreement, we won’t be able to process any more Back to Work Employer Incentive Payments for the employee. We’ll start assessing these claims after you have acquitted the funding agreement.
  • We may do a sample audit of documentation for goods and services related to the payment at any time.

If your application is not approved

We will let you know if your application has not met the eligibility criteria.

You can request a review of this decision within 30 calendar days of receiving the decision. Find out how to request a review in the guidelines for funding.

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