Supports for businesses impacted by COVID-19

Introduction

A number of supports are available for business owners to help you and your employees during the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic.

Banks have announced that they will offer flexibility to their customers. You can also get advice from your accountant or use the advisory support from your Local Enterprise Office (LEO). Check if your insurance policy covers you for an interruption of your business, or a temporary business closure, caused by coronavirus.

In this document, we have summarised sources of support including:

  • The new COVID-19 Wage Subsidy Scheme
  • Cash flow supports for businesses
  • Social welfare supports for your employees if you have temporary lay-offs
  • Where to get further information

This information is likely to change rapidly so please check back in for updates.

COVID-19 Wage Subsidy Scheme

The Government is asking employers who have closed their businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic to continue to pay workers if possible. On 24 March, the Government announced a new Income Support Scheme to assist employers with paying workers during the COVID-19 pandemic. Employers will receive up to 70% of their employee's weekly take home pay up to a maximum of €410 per week.

This scheme replaces the COVID-19 Employer Refund Scheme. If you have already applied for the COVID-19 Employer Refund Scheme, you do not have to lodge a new application for The COVID-19 Wage Subsidy Scheme.

You can read about this scheme in our document COVID-19 Wage Subsidy Scheme.

This scheme is administered through Revenue and payments started on 26 and 27 of March.

Cash flow supports for businesses

The Government has recently announced a range of supports for business. They include:

€200m Strategic Banking Corporation of Ireland (SBCI) Working Capital scheme for eligible businesses impacted by COVID-19. Loans of up to €1.5m will be available at reduced rates, with up to the first €500,000 unsecured. Applications can be made through the SBCI website.

€200m Package for Enterprise Supports including a Rescue and Restructuring Scheme available through Enterprise Ireland for vulnerable but viable firms that need to restructure or transform their business.

Microfinance Ireland: The maximum loan available will be increased from €25,000 to €50,000 as an immediate measure to specifically deal with exceptional circumstances that micro-enterprises (sole traders and firms with up to nine employees) are facing. Applications can be made through the MFI website or through your local LEO.

The Credit Guarantee Scheme will be available to COVID-19 impacted firms through the Pillar Banks. Loans of up to €1m will be available at terms of up to seven years.

In addition, the following supports are available for firms experiencing trading difficulties and short-term shocks:

  • The Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection and DBEI will provide a joint First Responder support service through the Intreo Offices and development agencies, Enterprise Ireland and IDA Ireland in each region to provide tailored supports for impacted firms, with the objective of avoiding mass lay-offs and buying time for firms to work through the short-term disruptions.
  • The full range of Enterprise Ireland, IDA Ireland, Local Enterprise Office and Údarás na Gaeltachta grant supports will be available to firms to help with strategies to innovate, diversify markets and supply chains and to improve competitiveness.

Business Continuity Vouchers are available through Local Enterprise Offices for consultancy services up to value of €2,500 for Irish businesses across every sector that employ up to 50 people. They can be used by companies and sole traders to develop short-term and long-term strategies to respond to the Covid-19 pandemic. Clients of Enterprise Ireland, IDA or Údarás na Gaeltachta should contact their relevant agency, which have other appropriate supports in place. Download an application form and email it to your Local Enterprise Office.

All annual returns due to be filed by companies will be deemed to have been filed on time if all elements of the annual return are completed and filed by 30 June, 2020. This will enable businesses and their financial advisers to focus on the more pressing and immediate financial challenges. The situation will be kept under review and the date of 30 June may be extended depending on the situation at that time. Companies should check the CRO website for more details.

Support is also available from:

Revenue has advice for businesses experiencing trading difficulties as a result of COVID-19. This includes information on tax returns, late payment interest, debt enforcement, tax clearance and customs.

Planning exemptions for restaurants and cafes

Restaurants and cafes will not have to apply for planning permission to operate as take-away services during the emergency period. The emergency period set out in legislation is 13 March 2020 to 31 May 2020. This period may be extended.

Support for childcare providers

The Department of Children and Youth Affairs (DCYA) has set out emergency measures to support childcare providers while childcare facilities are closed during the COVID-19 pandemic. You can read more in our document on Childcare and COVID-19.

Lay-offs, reduced hours and social welfare supports for your employees

If you cannot pay your staff while they are laid off for this period, your employees can apply for the new COVID-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment.

You can read more about social welfare entitlements during the COVID-19 pandemic.

If you reduce your employee’s hours to 3 days or less per week from their normal full-time hours, your employee can apply for Short Time Work Support which is a type of Jobseeker’s Benefit.

Find out more about:

Further information

Page edited: 6 April 2020