A breakdown of how the new Covid-19 income support measures will affect Irish workers
The most significant economic measures in the history of the state.
On Tuesday, the government announced details of a new Covid-19 income support scheme for Irish workers, set to cost a total of €3.7 billion over a 12-week period.
Details of the scheme were revealed after Taoiseach Leo Varadkar announced the introduction of new measures to combat the spread of coronavirus, measures which included the closure of all non-essential retail outlets, which will result in significant job losses.
Workers who have lost their jobs as a result of the Covid-19 outbreak will now be able to claim an unemployment payment of €350 a week, an increase of almost €150 on the figure of €203 announced last week.
The Covid-19 illness payment will also be increased from €305 to €350 per week.
An emergency wage subsidy scheme has been approved by the Government, which will aim to pay 70% of a worker's salary up to a cap of €410 per week. An employer is expected to make best efforts to maintain as close to 100% of normal income as possible for the duration of the scheme.
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.
Self-employed workers who qualify will be paid the Covid-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment of €350 directly from the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection rather than through the Revenue scheme.
The measures are expected to have a very significant negative impact on the Exchequer, but the government says they are necessary to provide support to workers, their families and to companies.
It warned that while the State will be able to fund these measures, it will generate additional debt which will need to be paid off in the future.
Speaking on Tuesday, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said: “We need to maintain social solidarity, unity and a sense of community in this time of trial.”
Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection Regina Doherty added: “No worker that loses their job should receive less than €350 per week. Unprecedented times call for unprecedented measures.”
Other economic measures introduced to lessen the impact of the Covid-19 emergency in Ireland include the following:
- Rents across Ireland have officially been frozen and evictions have been forbidden.
- A three-month payment break for mortgages and other loans has also been announced by Irish banks; customers have been urged to contact their banks to discuss in greater detail.
- Payment breaks as a result of Covid-19 will not affect credit records.
- The Commission for Regulation of Utilities (CRU) has issued a moratorium on disconnections of domestic customers for non-payment to gas and electricity suppliers.
Full details of the government's Covid-19 income support scheme are available here.