Employees of businesses in Donegal who live in the North can get the full Covid-19 payment if their employers use a Revenue scheme, it has been confirmed.
Current EU law does not allow member states to pay unemployment benefits directly to residents of other states, a rule being followed by both the British and Irish governments.
However, the Government has set up a way around this hurdle – with many businesses here in Donegal are using instead to make sure their Northern-based employees are getting their Covid-19 payments of €350 per week.
Once a company pays their employee they can claim the full €350 from Revenue. A spokesman said the reimbursements back to the employer are taking place within two to four working days.
Employers can also choose to pay up to 70% of a salary up to €410 per week. They don’t have to pay tax or PRSI on any of the payments, so employers are not out of pocket.
Companies and employers with cashflow issues can also avail of interest-free loans with six months allowed before any payback payments are needed.
“The new Covid19 Wage Subsidy Scheme will be a significant support for firms to keep employees on their books, with the State funding up to 70% of wages, with no PRSI payable,” said business minister Heather Humphreys.
“The maximum loan available from MicroFinance Ireland (MFI) has been increased from €25,000 to €50,000 as an immediate measure to specifically deal with exceptional circumstances that micro-enterprises are facing. These loans are interest and repayment free for the first 6 months. Applications can be made through the MFI website or through your Local Enterprise Office.
“A €200m Covid19 Working Capital Scheme is available 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.
“The Credit Guarantee Scheme is available to COVID-19 impacted firms through the Pillar Banks. Loans of up to €1m will be available at terms of up to 7 years and is available for refinancing loans.
“A €200m Package for Enterprise Supports including a Rescue and Restructuring Scheme will be made available through Enterprise Ireland for vulnerable but viable firms that need to restructure or transform their business.”
The Government has also agreed a structured process with the banks for mortgage and loan forbearance for the next three months to assist SMEs.
Commercial rates can be deferred for three months.
Minister Paschal Donohoe has also announced a series of measures through Revenue to help SMEs experiencing cashflow problems.
The deadline for companies to file their annual returns has been extended until the end of June.
The Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection (DEASP) and the Department of Business also 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.
A Business Continuity Voucher of up to €2,500 is available from the Local Enterprise Office to help companies develop short and long term strategies in response to COVID19. There is no match funding requirement in order to avail of this voucher.
The full range of Enterprise Ireland, IDA Ireland, Local Enterprise Office (LEO) 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.
Enterprise Ireland provide an online portal of advice and business continuity tools and webinars for business. Enterprise Ireland with the LEOs will activate advisory clinics and mentoring support for impacted firms.
The National Standards Authority of Ireland (NSAI) has also published a Workplace Protection and Improvement Guide outlining the measures businesses can take to help prevent the spread of Coronavirus. A new NSAI Helpline is open at 01-8073800 to offer advice to businesses on issues like physical distancing, home working, staggered work and what to do if an employee has symptoms.
Further information on all of these supports is available at: https://dbei.gov.ie/en/What-We-Do/Supports-for-SMEs/COVID-19-supports/Government-supports-to-COVID-19-impacted-businesses.html#