Ministers remind companies that Income Support Scheme available for those affected by COVID crisis

30th March, 2020

Government Ministers are today (Monday) sending a message to employers who have been, or expect to be, hit by the COVID-19 crisis that a package of supports is available to assist them during this time of unprecedented difficulty. This is in the context of businesses considering future plans in light of recent public health guidance’. 

The Minister for Finance, Paschal Donohoe, Minister for Social Protection, Regina Doherty, and Minister for Business, Heather Humphreys, highlighted again the extent of the supports that are available to ensure that the link is not severed between employer and employee, giving our economy, and society, the greatest chance of bouncing back when the crises passes.

Minister for Finance & Public Expenditure snd Reform, Paschal Donohoe, said: ‘Last week the Government announced an enhanced range of measures to assist employers, employees and the self-employed who find themselves negatively impacted by COVID_19 and the consequences of the physical distancing guidelines that we are being asked to adhere to in the interest of the health of our people’.

“I am calling on all employers whose businesses have been, or have the potential to be, affected, to examine what is on offer, to engage with Revenue and to reconsider making staff redundant at this very challenging time. By securing as many links between the employer and the employee as we can, Ireland will be ready to spring back when the time comes, getting our people back to work and the economy back up and running again.

“The public health crisis is our very first priority. Securing our economic future and the livelihoods of our people comes next. The measures in place aim to shelter as many businesses from this storm as possible, until we get to the brighter days ahead’.

Minister for Social Protection, Regina Doherty, said: ‘As I mentioned a few days ago, the COVID-19 virus is presenting a once in a century challenge to Irish society and an unprecedented demand on our welfare services. With such significant levels of income loss in the short term, my Department is determined to make sure nobody is left behind and is working around the clock  to meet the scale of this challenge. For those who are now out of work due to the increased restrictions necessary, the Covid-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment – now paid at the rate of €350 per week – will provide much needed immediate assistance and we are working hard to ensure that all who need this help receive it and get it as quickly as possible’.

The Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection advises all new claimants that the quickest and easiest way to apply is via

Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation, HeatherHumphreys said: ‘The employer-employee relationship is vital for business success and the purpose of the Scheme is to maintain this relationship. It will also ensure that when we get through the worst of the pandemic, businesses will be best placed to return to normality and kick-start the economy once again’.

“It’s important to bear in mind that if you have recently laid off workers, you can still avail of the Scheme by re-employing them, which will allow you to plan ahead with more surety.

“I would also like to reiterate that employers with cash in reserve, who have been hit by a significant decline in business, will still qualify for the scheme.”

The Minister added: ‘While we would encourage employers that are in a position to top up wages to do so, we recognise that this may not be possible for all companies. At the end of the day, no employer wants to let go of loyal, dedicated staff if they can help it. The Wage Subsidy Scheme is a win-win for businesses and workers and I would strongly encourage all businesses to engage with Revenue and seriously look at this scheme before they think about letting staff go’.

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 scheme will provide support on incomes up to €76,000 or twice average earnings.  It will be capped at net €350 for incomes between €38,000 and €76,000.

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 in 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.