Social Welfare: Information for Employers and Employees re COVID-19

Mar 18, 2020
The Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection has a range of measures to provide income support to people affected by COVID-19. We have summarised the measures announced to date which includes advice for employers and welfare advice for the self-employed and employees.

Advice for Employers

  • Employers are directed to the public health advice issued by the HSE for questions arising as a result of COVID-19. It is essential that all employers abide by this advice.
  • The government is urging all employers to support national public health objectives by continuing, as a minimum, to pay employees who cannot attend work due to COVID-19 illness or self-isolation the difference between the enhanced illness benefit and their normal wages.
  • Employer COVID-19 Refund Scheme – In a situation where a business has to cease trading as a result of the HSE advice on ‘social distancing’ the government is encouraging employers to retain employees where possible. To facilitate this the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection (DEASP) is setting up a refund scheme for employers which will pay them the €203 per week for each worker who would otherwise have been laid off . This will mean that workers retain their link with employers and there is no need for them to personally submit a jobseeker's claim.
  • Irish Revenue will operate the ‘Employer COVID-19 Refund Scheme’ on behalf of DEASP through the normal payroll process. Amounts paid to employees will be refunded to the employer’s bank account on a ‘next day’ basis. Revenue has published guidance on how to operate the scheme.

Welfare advice for employees and the self-employed

  • If you have lost work due to a downturn in economic activity caused by COVID-19 you can apply for a new COVID-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment which delivers income support to the unemployed for a 6-week period.
  • If you have been diagnosed with COVID-19, or are medically certified to self-isolate as a result of COVID-19, you can apply for Illness Benefit for COVID-19 absences.

A range of other supports are also available for: