As part of the Government's response to the national emergency that is the COVID-19 outbreak, this evening the Government is asking employers, if at all possible, to continue to pay workers during this period - at least at the jobseeker rate of €203 per week.
Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection Regina Doherty emphasised:
“Where employers, who have to cease trading because of the impact of social distancing, continue to pay workers they will be able to claim refunds from the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection. A temporary refund scheme is being established for this purpose. This refund will be for €203 per worker per week. This means that workers retain their link with employers and there is no need for them personally to submit a jobseekers claim.”
The Minister explained that refunds will take some time to process but in the meantime the Banks will provide working capital finance in the form of overdrafts or short-term loans to cover costs.
The Minister announced that in addition to this fund the Department is introducing a new scheme for anyone whose employer is unable to continue to pay them due to a downturn in business. Minister Doherty will bring to Cabinet tomorrow details of the new scheme.
This evening, Minister Doherty stated:
“Ireland has entered unchartered territory as a consequence of the spread of Covid-19. This is now both a public health and economic issue.
“In light of the significant volumes of jobseeker applications expected this week, the Department will from tomorrow be introducing a new Covid-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment specifically designed to get thousands of people into payment as quickly as possible.”
The new payment that has been put in place will be available to all employees and the self-employed who have lost employment due to a downturn in economic activity caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.
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As part of this, each local authority has established a helpline that vulnerable people can phone if they are looking for basic services such as delivery of food or meals, or transport for essential trips.