The Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection (DEASP) has launched a range of supports for employers and people who have lost work and income in order to support them during the COVID-19 crisis. These include the COVID-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment and the Enhanced Illness Benefit Payment.
Pandemic Unemployment Support
The COVID-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment is an emergency payment of €350 per week introduced by the Government in response to the numbers of people who have lost employment on foot of the pandemic. It is designed to quickly get thousands of people into payment.
According to the DEASP, all workers, including the self-employed, are eligible to apply for this emergency payment provided they are aged between 18 and 66 and have lost employment – or temporarily ceased trading if self-employed – due to the pandemic, and live in the Republic of Ireland.
To be eligible, workers must have been in employment or self-employment immediately before Friday 13 March and have been temporarily laid off from work, and are not in receipt of any employment income. For employees, their employer must not be in a position to retain them on the payroll.
Apply online for quick payment
The quickest and easiest way to apply for the emergency COVID-19 payment is to apply online at MyWelfare.ie All that is required is for the individual to have an email address, a bank account and a PPSN. Simply go onto the COVID-19 Services section of the website and apply for the payment. You will have to set up an account, but it is a simple and straightforward process.
The DEASP advises those with an adult dependent and one or more dependent children to apply for the Covid-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment and then apply Jobseeker’s Benefit instead, as this will pay more than the €350 available under the COVID-19 scheme.
Enhanced Illness Benefit Payment
The Enhanced Illness Benefit Payment is available to workers who have been told to self-isolate by a doctor or the HSE, or have been diagnosed with COVID-19 by a doctor. To be eligible for this payment, a person must be confined to their home or a medical facility. The rate for this payment is €350, as compared with the normal Illness Benefit rate of €203. It will be paid for a maximum of two weeks where a person is self-isolating and for a maximum of 10 weeks if a person has been diagnosed with COVID-19.
A doctor will complete a medical certificate on the person’s behalf and send it directly to the DEASP. Alternatively, where the person has been advised by the HSE to self-isolate, they will need to submit a copy of the HSE notification with their Illness Benefit application form.
Once again, the quickest and easiest way to apply for the payment is by applying online at MyWelfare.ie
Short Time Work Support
Another payment available to workers is Short Time Work Support. This is a form of Jobseeker’s Benefit for people temporarily placed on a shorter working week. The payment is made in respect of the person’s regular salary for the days that they are no longer working. For example, if their working week has been reduced from a five-day work pattern to three days, they can receive support for the other two days. Payment is proportionate to the €203 Jobseeker’s Benefit rate.
People can apply for Short Time Work Support by applying at their local Intreo Centre or Social Welfare Branch Office.
Temporary Covid-19 Wage Subsidy Scheme
Operated by Revenue, the Temporary Covid-19 Wage Subsidy Scheme is an innovative initiative to support companies to retain employees and to re-employ employees who have been laid off due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Under the terms of the scheme, employers will be refunded 70% of an employee’s wages – up to a level of €410 per week.
The subsidy scheme applies both to employers who top up employees’ wages and those who aren’t in a position to do so. Employers make the support payment to their employees through their normal payroll process and will then be reimbursed by Revenue within two working days of receipt of the payroll submission.
The scheme is available to employers from all sectors (excluding the public service and non-commercial semi-state sector) whose business activities are being adversely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
To qualify for the scheme, employers must be experiencing significant negative economic disruption due to the COVID-19 pandemic; be able to demonstrate, to the satisfaction of Revenue, a minimum of a 25% decline in turnover; be unable to pay normal wages and normal outgoings fully; and retain their employees on the payroll.
Revenue has made it clear that declarations made under the scheme are not declarations of insolvency.
Employers wishing to register for the scheme can apply to Revenue through ROS myEnquiries on the COVID-19: Temporary Covid-19 Wage Subsidy section.