READ: Government announces extra supports for workers who have lost jobs

People are being urged to stay at home where possible and only attend work if it is considered essential.

The government’s announced another series of measures to slow the spread of the coronavirus in Ireland.

All non essential retail outlets are to close to the public from midnight tonight.

It’s in a bid to allow the health service deal with the expected increase in the number of cases in the coming weeks.

Groups of four or more people are not to gather unless they are from the same household.

Meanwhile, all organised indoor and outdoor events of any size are not to take place.

Gardai will be ensuring that people obey these measures and also comply with social distancing guidelines.

The government has all published details of a new income support scheme which we have reproduced below:


National Covid-19 Income Support Scheme
The Government has today announced a National Covid-19 Income Support Scheme.

This will provide financial support to Irish workers and companies affected by the crisis.

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

the 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

it follows from a range of supports already in place to help business through the crisis
The Government is taking these extraordinary measures to help ordinary Irish citizens and families during this period of great economic and social stress.

These measures will be costly – with an initial estimated cost of €3.7billion over a twelve week period.

The Government believes these costs are necessary to ensure social solidarity with workers and their families affected by the crisis.

How will the Income Support work?

An eligible employer will be supported 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 anum).

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.

Who will be eligible?

Employers must self-declare to Revenue that they have experienced significant negative economic disruption die 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.

What about the Self-employed?

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.

When will it be available?

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

Who will get the 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) at their next payment date.

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.

Further details are available from the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection.

How long will this new Income Support Scheme last?

The new Scheme will be in place for twelve weeks.

How much will this new Scheme cost?

It is estimated that these new measures will cost approximately €3.7 billion over the twelve week period.

Can the Exchequer afford this new Scheme?

The full economic impact of the Covid-19 crisis is subject to considerable uncertainty but will clearly have a very significant negative impact on the Exchequer.

However, these measures are necessary to provide support to workers, their families, and companies at a time of great economic and social stress.

The State will be able to fund these measures, but it will generate additional debt which will need to be paid off in the future.

Ireland is well placed to increase its borrowing activity in the coming years. This additional borrowing will take place against a backdrop of a strong improvement in Ireland’s debt position in recent years, which has been reflected in a solid trend of lower borrowing costs, strong demand for Irish sovereign debt among international investors over a protracted period and ratings upgrades by each of the major credit rating agencies.

Our strategy in recent years of prefunding liabilities means we have already built up strong cash balances. At the end of February, we had €26 billion in cash effectively funding this year’s €19 billion of redemptions.