Minister Donohoe encourages employers to engage with COVID Wage Subsidy Scheme as uptake continues to grow

2nd April, 2020

  • Almost 36,000 employers are now registered with Revenue for the Temporary COVID-19 Wage Subsidy Scheme.
  • Increase of 10,000 employers in 48 hours (since 8pm on Monday)

Minister for Finance and Public Expenditure and Reform, Paschal Donohoe TD, has today (Thursday) encouraged employers whose businesses have been impacted by the COVID-19 public health crisis to engage with the Temporary COVID-19 Wage Subsidy Scheme as the most effective way of retaining the link with employees, who can then resume employment once the crisis has passed. The Minister said this will give our economy, and society, the greatest chance of rebounding when the time comes.

Minister Donohoe made this statement on the back of encouraging registration figures for the scheme, which, as of 8pm last night (Wednesday), saw 35,830 employers registered with Revenue for the Wage Subsidy Scheme. This is up 10,106 since 8pm on Monday.

The COVID-19 Wage Subsidy Scheme has been made available by Government to give companies the best chance of survival through the retention of valuable staff. It will also put them in the strongest position to re-open or reboot the business without delay in the months ahead. 

Minister Donohoe said: ‘I am encouraged by the uptake of the COVID-19 Wage Subsidy Scheme. I would ask employers who have not yet considered the scheme to do so today. It is important to note that those who have already laid off workers can still avail of the Scheme by re-employing them now. Those employers who have cash in reserve, and who have been hit by a decline in business, can also still qualify for the scheme. And finally, applying for the scheme is not a declaration of insolvency, as some have suggested. These points have been clarified by the Revenue Commissioner but are worth restating.

“As I have said previously, the public health crisis is our first priority. Securing our economy and the livelihoods of our people comes next. In the interest of attempting to do what we can now to strengthen our position in the future, I would ask employers to give serious consideration to this available support.”


Details of supports for businesses on here:

Other measures in place, in summary:

  • a temporary wage subsidy of 70% of take home pay up to a maximum weekly tax free amount of €410 per week to help affected companies keep paying their employees. This is the equivalent of €500 per week before tax;
  • workers who have lost their jobs due to the crisis will receive an enhanced emergency Covid-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment of €350 per week (an increase from €203);
  • the Covid-19 illness payment will also be increased to €350 per week;
  • Self-Employed will be eligible for the Covid-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment of €350 directly from the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection (rather than the Revenue scheme);
  • enhanced protections for people facing difficulties with their mortgages, rent or utility bills;

Further information

Income Support

An eligible employer will be supported by up to 70% of an employee’s take home income up to a maximum weekly tax free payment of €410 (i.e. 70% of take home weekly income of €38,000 per annum).

The employer is expected to make best efforts to maintain as close to 100% of normal income as possible for the subsidised period. Revenue will provide further guidance on operation of the scheme. There will be severe penalties for any abuse of the scheme.

Employers must self-declare to Revenue that they have experienced significant negative economic disruption due to Covid-19, with a minimum of 25% decline in turnover, and an inability to pay normal wages and other outgoings, in accordance with guidance to be issued by Revenue.

This scheme is open to impacted employers in all sectors. This recognises the impact that Covid-19 is having across all parts of the economy. The employee must have been on the payroll on 29 February 2020.

Self-employed who qualify will be paid the Covid-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment of €350 rather than through the Revenue scheme. They will be eligible on a similar basis as the Revenue scheme for employees.

Revenue and Department of Employment Affairs & Social Protection will provide details to employers today on how to apply.

Enhanced emergency Covid-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment

People who have already been approved for the Covid-19 pandemic Unemployment Payment will now get an increased payment of €350 per week (instead of €203).

Anyone else who loses their job due to the Covid-19 crisis can apply to the Department for payment at the new rate.

The Covid-19 illness payment will also be increased to €350 per week. The new Scheme will be in place for 12 weeks.