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An Overview of Covid-19 Payment Schemes for Employees & Employers

The Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection have introduced a number of schemes to ensure some financial support for employees who have been affected by Covid-19.

  1. COVID-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment

This payment is available to employees and self-employed people who have lost employment or have been temporarily laid off due to a downturn in economic activity caused by COVID-19. It also applies to people who have had their hours reduced. It is designed to quickly deliver a social welfare payment to the unemployed and provide income security during the pandemic.

The payment is a flat rate of €203 per week for a period of 6 weeks. It is recommended that the individual also applies for jobseeker’s allowance at the same time.

How to qualify

Both employees and self-employed people can apply for the new COVID-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment.

You can apply for the payment if you:

  • are aged between 18 and 66 years and
  • you have lost employment due to the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic
  • you are a non EU/EEA worker who has lost employment due to the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic
  • you are a student over 18 who has lost employment due to the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic
  • you are a non-EU/EEA student over 18 who has lost employment due to the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic

How to apply

Note: You do not need to go to an Intreo Centre. You can apply in the following ways:

  • The COVID Pandemic Unemployment Payment application form should be completed and posted to the Department. Forms can be downloaded from ie or you can request a form to be sent by post by emailing forms@welfare.ie or calling 1890 800 024 or 01 2481398 .
  • Alternately, an online application can be made through an online portal on www.MyWelfare.ie
  1. Employer COVID-19 Refund Scheme

Where employers are unable to provide work for employees and must place them on temporary lay-off, employers can pay the employee(s) the payment of €203 per week through the normal payroll process and subsequently get the €203 reimbursed by Revenue. Employers must apply to Revenue to operate the scheme. The social welfare payment to employees under the scheme are not subject to tax, USC or PRSI.

Employers are encouraged to facilitate employees by operating the scheme. The amounts paid to employees and notified to Revenue will then be transferred into the employer’s bank account by Revenue. This reimbursement will, in general, be made on a ‘next day’ basis. It will ensure a speedy payment process for employees and minimise the hardship for employees who are temporarily laid off. Refunds of income tax or USC that an employee may be entitled to because of being laid off will also be administered by the employer, and will be repaid (to the employer) through the scheme.

The scheme can be operated for all employees for whom a payroll submission was made by the employer in the period from 1 February 2020 to 15 March 2020. Where employees have already been laid off and their employer has ceased their employment, they can apply directly to DEASP for the payment.

Who does the scheme apply to?

  • Employers who have temporarily laid off staff as a result of the impact on their business of the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic
  • Employers that keep their staff on payroll and have not ceased the employee(s) with Revenue
  • Employees for whom a payroll submission was made by the employer in the period from 1 February 2020 to 15 March 2020
  • Employers that are unable to make top-up payments over and above the emergency payment of €203 per week.

Making an application for the Refund Scheme

Employers, or their agents, apply to Revenue to operate the scheme by carrying out the following steps:

  • Log on to ROS myEnquiries and select the category Employer COVID -19 Refund Scheme’.
  • Read the declaration and press the ‘Submit’ button.
  • Log on to ROS and in ‘Manage bank accounts’, ‘Manage EFT’, ensure that the bank account details provided are correct.

Key features of the scheme

The employer will make the payroll submission to Revenue on or before each pay date.

Employers should contact their payroll software providers for assistance in respect of payroll to be processed under this scheme.

The employer runs the payroll as normal, entering the following details for each relevant employee:

  • PRSI Class set to J9
  • A pay amount of €0.01 (there must be some pay entered for the payroll to run)
  • A non-taxable amount of €203. No other payment amounts are made by the employer to the employee and all temporarily laid off employees are granted the €203
  • The payroll submission must include pay frequency and period number.

No other payments are made by the employer to the employee for the applicable week(s) and all temporarily laid off employees receive the €203 per week.

Income tax, USC and PRSI are not deducted from the €203 payment. 

Any Income Tax and USC refunds that arise as a result of the application of tax credits and rate bands can be repaid by the employer and this amount will also be refunded to the employer.

The employee must confirm to the employer that they have not, and will not, claim a payment from DEASP whilst the employer makes this payment through the payroll.

Employers will be asked to advise employees to make a Jobseeker’s Benefit claim via the MyWelfare.ie online portal (so that the employee(s) can access qualified dependant payments if appropriate).

Based on the information provided in payroll submissions, Revenue will credit €203 per employee per week to the employer’s bank account recorded in ROS.  The credit will include the reference COVID Employer Refund. (The main identifiers include Employer Number Gross Pay of €0.01, J9 PRSI class, Pay Frequency and Employee PPSN, Employment ID).

Revenue will credit the employer bank account for payroll submissions received before 2:00 PM each day.  Depending on the individual bank, the refund should be with the employer on the next banking day.

If the employee(s) resume employment with the employer, or obtains other supports from DEASP, or secures employment elsewhere, the employer will not include the employee(s) concerned in future submissions.

Guidance/Information

For general issues relating to the Scheme, employers should contact Revenue’s National Employer Helpdesk via the myEnquiries system, providing details of the query and a direct dial contact number.

Employers should make sure to select ‘Employer’s PAYE’ and then ‘Employer’s PAYE General Enquiry’ when submitting the query through myEnquiries.

  1. Illness Benefit for COVID-19 Absences

When a worker is told to self-isolate by a doctor or has been diagnosed with COVID-19 (Coronavirus) by a doctor, they can apply for an enhanced Illness Benefit payment of €305 per week.

To be eligible for this payment a person must be confined to their home or a medical facility.

How to qualify

To receive the enhanced payment, you must be:

  • self-isolating on the instruction of a doctor or diagnosed with COVID-19 (Coronavirus)
  • be absent from work and not getting paid by your employer

Rates of payment

The personal rate for this payment is €305, as compared with the normal Illness Benefit rate of €203.

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 (Coronavirus).

How to Apply

Step 1

If you are suffering from COVID-19 or a doctor advises that you self-isolate, the doctor will then complete a medical certificate on your behalf and send this directly to the department.

To receive a payment, you will need to provide your doctor with your:

  • name
  • PPS Number
  • date of birth

Step 2

You then need to complete an application form for Illness Benefit (Form IB 1).

There are three ways that you can make an application:

  • you can call 1890 800 024 or 01 2481398 between 9.00am and 5.00pm Monday to Friday to get an application form by post
  • organise someone to pick up a form at your doctor’s surgery or at your local Intreo Centre 
  • an online application process will be available by the end of March

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