Covid19 Weekly Summary

Please find enclosed a roundup of this week’s top points, in light of the COVID-19 outbreak in Ireland.

1. Essential Service Providers: A list of essential service providers under new public health guidelines was published on 28 March 2020. Full information is enclosed at this link: https://www.gov.ie/en/publication/dfeb8f-list-of-essential-service-providers-under-new-public-health- guidelin/

2. Wage Subsidy: The government introduced a temporary wage subsidy scheme whereby 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. The employer is expected to make best efforts to maintain as close to 100% of normal income as possible for the subsidised period. 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.

a. Phase 1 is a short, transitional phase that builds on the previous emergency Employer COVID Refund Scheme that was operational from 15 March to 25th March 2020, under which the employer received a refund of €203 per week for each employee that it keeps on its books. The Temporary Wage Subsidy Scheme provides a maximum of €410 in respect of eligible employees for employers who operate the Subsidy Scheme regardless of whether the employer makes an additional payment to the employee’s earnings or not.

b. In Phase 2, by no later than 20 April 2020, the operation of the scheme will ensure that the Subsidy paid to employers will be based on each individual employee’s Average Net Weekly Pay, subject to the maximum weekly tax-free amounts. Further information on how these arrangements will work will issue shortly.

3. Covid-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment: 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) for a period of 12 weeks until this emergency is over.

4. Illness Benefit: The Covid-19 illness payment will be increased to €350 per week. It will be paid for a maximum of 2 weeks where a person is self-isolating but will be paid for the duration of a person's absence from work if they have been diagnosed with COVID-19.

5. Self-Employed: Those in self-employment 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.

6. COVID-19 Employer Refund Scheme: The COVID-19 Employer Refund Scheme has been replaced by a new and enhanced COVID-19 Wage Subsidy Scheme administered by the Revenue Commissioners.

7. Short Time Work Support: Employees of businesses that need to reduce hours or days worked can avail of the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection Short-time Work Support.

8. Workplace Protection and Improvement Guide: The National Standards Authority of Ireland (NSAI) has published a Workplace Protection and Improvement Guide outlining preventative measures businesses can take to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

9. Commercial Rates Deferral: The government has agreed support for businesses impacted by COVID-19 through commercial rates deferral.

10. Business Continuity Planning: The Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation has updated its checklist on Business Continuity Planning which provides a checklist for businesses in responding to COVID- 19. https://dbei.gov.ie/en/Publications/Business-Continuity-Planning-A-checklist-of-Preparatory-Actions-in- Responding-to-the-COVID-19-Outbreak.html