Social Protection Minister Regina Doherty says the coronavirus pandemic is presenting a 'once in a century challenge' to Irish society.
She says her department is expecting a rise in applications for the new wage subsidy scheme, after further coronavirus restrictions were announced on Friday.
Some 16,000 companies have signed up so far - while hundreds of thousands have applied for the COVID-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment.
Meanwhile more than 300,000 people have applied for emergency social welfare payments after losing work.
The Department of Social Protection says it has gone through a 19-month workload in just 14 days.
Some 283,000 payments have been made so far and a further 25,000 payments have gone to employers under the Temporary COVID-19 Wage Subsidy Scheme.
However 15,000 applications were denied for several reasons - including incorrectly completed applications.
Minister Doherty earlier told Newstalk Breakfast she expected the figure to rise.
"I hope given the amount of companies that have signed up to the scheme - as I said some 16,000-plus companies - I think the clarifications that were sought were given by the end of the week, and obviously anybody that wants to take up from today, given the new restrictions and recommendations from the chief medical officers on Friday about cocooning, about restricting our movements and obviously all non-essential businesses being asked to close down for the next couple of weeks.
"We expect that ask of us, starting today obviously, to be significant again".
It comes as ministers remind companies of support schemes available for those affected.
The Government is sending a message to employers who have been, or expect to be, hit by the COVID-19 crisis that a "significant package of supports" is available to assist them.
Minister Doherty added: "The COVID-19 virus is presenting a once in a century challenge to Irish society and an unprecedented demand on our welfare services.
"With such significant levels of income loss in the short term, my department is determined to make sure nobody is left behind and is working around the clock to meet the scale of this challenge.
"For those who are now out of work due to the increased restrictions necessary, the COVID-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment - now paid at the rate of €350 per week - will provide much needed immediate assistance".
"We are working hard to ensure that all who need this help receive it and get it as quickly as possible".
Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe said: "Last week the Government announced an enhanced range of measures to assist employers, employees and the self-employed who find themselves negatively impacted by COVID-19 and the consequences of the physical distancing guidelines that we are being asked to adhere to in the interest of the health of our people.
"I am calling on all employers whose businesses have been, or have the potential to be, affected, to examine what is on offer, to engage with Revenue and to reconsider making staff redundant at this very challenging time.
"By securing as many links between the employer and the employee as we can, Ireland will be ready to spring back when the time comes, getting our people back to work and the economy back up and running again."
A temporary wage subsidy of 70% of take-home pay is also in place, up to a maximum weekly tax free amount of €410 to help affected companies keep paying their employees.
This is the equivalent of €500 per week before tax.
The COVID-19 illness payment is being increased to €350 per week.
And the self-employed are eligible for the COVID-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment directly from the Department of Social Protection.
Additional reporting: Sean Defoe