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. The Government believes these costs are necessary to ensure social solidarity with workers and their families affected by the crisis.
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.
New Public Health Measures
The Cabinet also formally approved new public health measures, alongside existing measures, to apply until Sunday 19th April. These were recommended by NPHET at its meeting this morning:
The National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET) has recommended that all nonessential retail outlets will close to members of the public and all other retail outlets are to implement social distancing. LIST OF ESSENTIAL RETAIL OUTLETS
Support for renters
The Government is introducing legislation to prevent both the termination of residential tenancies and any rent increases for the duration of the Covid-19 crisis.
The banks have also said they will support buy-to-let bank customers with tenants affected by COVID 19 with an opportunity to seek a payment break of up to three months – so they can in turn offer forbearance to their tenants.
Rent Supplement is also available as a short-term income support to those in the private rented sector who are experiencing difficulty paying their rent. In view of the difficulties created for many in the private rented sector who have lost significant employment income, the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection will use the full flexibility of the scheme to provide the necessary support.
Support for mortgage-holders
A series of measures to support people impacted by Covid-19 have been announced by the banking sector. These include: