The Government has established a new COVID-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment to support workers as many businesses close their doors around the country.
The payment is available to all employees and self-employed people who have lost their income because of the outbreak.
The €203 payment will be available through a one-page application process on the Department of Social Protection website.
There is no need for anyone to visit department or Intreo offices to access the payment.
Social Protection Minister Regina Doherty said Ireland is entering “uncharted territory” in terms of public health and the economy.
“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,” she said.
Workers who apply for the payment will be required to apply for normal Jobseeker’s Benefit within six weeks if they have not been able to return to work.
Meanwhile, the Government is urging all businesses to continue paying their staff where possible.
Employers are being asked to pay at least the Jobseekers rate, which they can then claim back from the Government.
Minster Doherty said: “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.”
“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.”
Important Update - new Covid-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment
This new scheme will only work if the Banks give 0% loans to Hospitality Businesses suffering from Covid-19 Pandemic CRASH
If Employer continues to pay for Eg, 15 staff @ 203pw = €3045 liquid cash req'd.
— Adrian Cummins (@adriancummins) March 15, 2020
Minister Doherty said the refunds may take time to process; however, banks are offering businesses overdrafts and short-term loans cover costs in the meantime.
The department is bringing in extra staff, including workers from other departments, to process the claims as quickly as possible.