Covid-19 unemployment support payments in Ireland have been increased, and an emergency wage subsidisation scheme has also been approved.
The Government has today (24 March) announced plans to increase the Covid-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment from €203 to €350 per week. This will apply to people who have lost their jobs as a result of the virus, as well as those impacted in self-employment, with payments to be made for the duration of the pandemic.
In addition, the cabinet has approved an emergency wage subsidisation scheme that will see the Government pay 70pc of an employee’s salary, with a maximum cap of €410 per week.
The scheme will be rolled out for three months and will be reviewed after 12 weeks. During this time, employers can contribute to the worker’s salary.
The Government has said that the scheme is targeted at businesses that have been faced with the sudden economic impacts of the coronavirus outbreak and that have suffered at least a 25pc shortfall in turnover as well as cashflow difficulties.
Its overall aim is to ensure employers and their staff remain connected, meaning it will be easier to restart business as normal when the crisis is over.
According to RTÉ, the Revenue Commissioners will administer the scheme, the estimated cost of which is €3.7bn. It was reported that payments could begin to roll out as early as next week.
Appearing on RTÉ News, chief economist at Davy Group, Conall Mac Coille, said that the new plans are “not to try to pretend we can offset the impacts of the shutdown, but to protect the salaries of workers”.
Speaking to the country in an official address this afternoon, An Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said that though the financial consequences of these measures will be daunting, “we can bear it and we will be able to pay it back as a nation”.
“We owe it to our fellow citizens,” he said.