New Government Income Support Scheme: A Synopsis

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By Chamber Press Office, 25 March 2020

The Government has today announced a National Covid-19 Income Support Scheme to provide financial support to Irish workers and companies affected by the crisis. These measures will be costly – with an initial estimated cost of €3.7 billion over a 12-week period. 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;

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 €350 (net) 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 people 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.

For more information, read the details here

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