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Irish Government-Backed Financial Supports

Updated: Feb 12

Financial Supports

Income supports

The COVID-19 Income Support Scheme provides financial support to Irish workers and businesses affected by the crisis.

  • COVID-19 Wage Subsidy Scheme: The Temporary Wage Subsidy Scheme, operated by Revenue, enables employees, whose employers are affected by the pandemic, to receive significant supports directly from their employer through the payroll system. A new Employment Wage Support Scheme will succeed the Temporary Wage Subsidy Scheme to run until April 2021.

  • Revenue advice for employers who wish to operate TWSS for rehired employees

  • Pandemic Unemployment Payment: The Pandemic Unemployment Payment is available to all employees and the self-employed who have lost their job due to the COVID-19 pandemic. New applications for this payment will not be accepted after 17 September 2020. The payment will be in place until April 2021.  MyWelfare.ie is the quickest and easiest way to apply for payments - all you need is your email address, PPSN and bank account details.

  • On MyWelfare.ie all customers can

  • apply for the Covid-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment

  • apply for Enhanced Illness Benefit for COVID-19 including for self-isolation cases

  • apply for a jobseeker’s payment

  • request to close their Covid-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment.

  • Short-time Work Support: Employees of businesses that need to reduce hours or days worked can avail of the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection Short-time Work Support.

Loans, grants, vouchers and schemes

  • Credit Guarantee Scheme: The Credit Guarantee Scheme supports loans up to €1 million for periods of up to 7 years. Applications can be made to AIB, Bank of Ireland and Ulster Bank. Eligibility criteria apply.

  • Credit Guarantee Scheme FAQs

  • COVID-19 Business Loans [lending through this scheme has currently been paused]: Microenterprises can access COVID-19 Business Loans of up to €50,000 from Microfinance Ireland. The terms include a six months interest free and repayment free moratorium, with the loan to then be repaid over the remaining 30 months of the 36-month loan period. Loans are available at an interest rate of between 4.5% and 5.5%. Businesses can apply through their Local Enterprise Office or directly at microfinanceireland.ie. Eligibility criteria apply.

  • Microfinance Ireland COVID-19 Business Loan FAQs

  • COVID-19 Working Capital Scheme: The €450m SBCI COVID-19 Working Capital Scheme for eligible businesses supports loans from €25,000 up to €1.5 million (first €500,000 unsecured) with a maximum interest rate of 4%. Applications can be made through the SBCI website at sbci.gov.ie. Eligibility criteria apply.

  • SBCI COVID-19 Working Capital Scheme FAQs

  • Future Growth Loan Scheme: The enhanced Future Growth Loan Scheme makes up to €800m of loans available for terms of 7-10 years. This scheme is available to eligible businesses in Ireland, including those in the primary agriculture (farmers) and seafood sectors, to support strategic long-term investment.

  • Sustaining Enterprise Fund: The Sustaining Enterprise Fund of up to €180 million is specifically aimed at firms operating in the manufacturing and internationally traded services sectors, with 10 or more employees, that are vulnerable but viable. The fund is operated by Enterprise Ireland, providing repayable advances of up to €800,000 as agreed with the EU under new State Aid rules.

  • Sustaining Enterprise Fund for Small Enterprise: As part of the Sustaining Enterprise Fund, Enterprise Ireland operates a specific Sustaining Enterprise Fund for Small Enterprise. This fund provides a short term working capital injection of up to €50,000 to eligible smaller companies to support business continuity and strengthen their ability to return to growth.

  • Pandemic Stabilisation and Recovery Fund: The Ireland Strategic Investment Fund will focus on investment in medium and large scale enterprises in Ireland through a Pandemic Stabilisation and Recovery Fund. The fund, worth up to €2 billion, will make capital available to medium and large enterprises on commercial terms.

  • General grant supports: The full range of Enterprise Ireland, IDA Ireland, Local Enterprise Office and Údarás na Gaeltachta grant supports continue to be available to eligible firms to help with strategies to access finance, commence or ramp-up online trading activity, reconfigure business models, cut costs, innovate, diversify markets and supply chains and to improve competitiveness. 

  • Restart Grant Plus: The Restart Grant Plus provides direct grant aid to businesses with up to 250 employees to help them with the costs associated with reopening and reemploying workers following COVID-19 closures. The minimum grant is €4,000 and the maximum grant is €25,000. Those that accessed funding through the previous round of the scheme are eligible for a top-up payment.

  • Enterprise Support Grant: The Enterprise Support Grant for businesses impacted by COVID-19 will be available for self-employed people who are closing their COVID-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment after 25 June.

  • Trading Online Voucher: The Local Enterprise Office Trading Online Voucher is a government grant scheme, designed to assist small businesses with up to 10 employees. It offers financial assistance of up to €2,500 along with training and advice to help your business trade online. Businesses that have already received a Trading Online Voucher can now apply for a second voucher, where upgrades are required.

  • COVID-19 Online Retail Scheme: The COVID-19 Online Retail Scheme is a grant for retail companies with 10 or more employees to develop a more competitive online offer. Call 1 in April resulted in €6.5m in grants for the retail sector. A second call is due to issue soon.

  • LEAN for Micro: LEAN for Micro is available to Local Enterprise Office clients to help build resilience within small companies. Businesses can avail of consultancy support with a LEAN Expert or help to implement new remote working and physical distancing guidelines. Contact your Local Enterprise Office for further details.

  • COVID-19 Business Financial Planning Grant: The COVID-19 Business Financial Planning Grant, worth up to €5,000, is designed to help companies to develop a robust financial plan, including the preparation of documentation required to support applications for external finance from banks and/or other finance providers. The grant is a new support for Enterprise Ireland clients and those manufacturing or internationally traded services companies that employ 10 or more full time employees.

  • Lean Business Improvement Voucher: The Lean Business Continuity Voucher is available to eligible companies to access up to €2,500 in training or advisory services support related to the continued operation of their businesses during the current pandemic. It is open to small, medium or large client companies of Enterprise Ireland or Údarás na Gaeltachta (including High Potential Start-ups). The voucher may be used to obtain services from approved providers. 

  • Powering the Regions – Enterprise Centre Fund: The Powering the Regions – Enterprise Centre Fund, administered by Enterprise Ireland, provides financial support to enterprise centres impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Eligible enterprise centres can apply for funding of a minimum of €10,000 and up to a maximum of €150,000.

  • Cross-border companies: InterTradeIreland’s Emergency Business Solutions offers professional advice, to the value of €2,250, to address key business challenges related to COVID-19. The E-Merge programme provides €2,800 consultancy support to help cross-border businesses develop online sales and eCommerce solutions.

  • COVID Products Scheme: The COVID Products Scheme will allow for up to €200m in targeted State support to facilitate the research and development of COVID products, to enable the construction or upgrading of testing and upscaling infrastructures that contribute to the development COVID-19 relevant products, as well as to support the production of products needed to respond to the outbreak. The scheme will be delivered through IDA Ireland's COVID-19 supports and Enterprise Ireland's COVID-19 Business Response.

  • COVID-19 Rapid Response Funding: The COVID-19 Rapid Response Funding Call (Phase 2) will fund projects up to 14 months in duration that build scientific knowledge and/or develop novel solutions that have the potential to impact society in the short/medium term in a number of thematic areas.  

Rates waiver, warehousing of tax debts and VAT reduction

  • Commercial rates waiver: With limited exceptions, all businesses will be granted a waiver of commercial rates for the six months to end-September 2020. Updates will be available on housing.gov.ie and from local authorities.

  • 'Warehousing' of deferred tax debts: The scheme, administered by Revenue, will ‘warehouse’ VAT and PAYE (Employer) debts associated with the COVID-19 crisis.

  • Reduction in the standard rate of VAT: A six-month reduction in the standard rate of Value-Added Tax (VAT) from 23% to 21% will apply, effective from 1 September 2020.

  • Advice for taxpayers and agents: Revenue's COVID-19 information and advice for taxpayers and agents provides information on Revenue services and tax and customs measures in place during the COVID-19 pandemic including information on tax returns and interest suspension arrangements.

Sector-specific supports and guidance

  • Food, drink and horticulture sectorBord Bia's 'Navigating Change' COVID-19 Response programme offers a suite of supports for food, drink and horticulture businesses affected by COVID-19.

  • Seafood sector: Bord Iascaigh Mhara is providing COVID-19 business support to the seafood sector.

  • Farm businesses: Teagasc is available to provide support on issues facing farm businesses in light of COVID-19.

  • Restaurants to operate as takeaways: Amendments to Planning and Development Regulations temporarily allow restaurants to operate as takeaways without being required to obtain change of use planning permission.

  • Supply chain workers: The Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport and the Department of Health have prepared COVID-19 guidance for supply chain workers.

  • Tourism sector: The Fáilte Ireland COVID-19 Business Support Hub is targeting its supports to respond to the challenges tourism businesses are now facing. Their supports include specific reopening guidelines for every sector. A €10 million Restart Fund for the tourism sector is also being introduced and the new 'Stay and Spend' initiative will help stimulate demand in the shoulder and off-peak season. 

  • Culture sector: The Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht has provided details of the COVID-19 supports for artists and those working in the arts sector. The new €10 million pilot Performance and Production Support Package will assist planning for events in the context of COVID-19.

  • Design sector: The Design & Craft Council Ireland delivers a range of support and development programmes, including webinars and FAQs in response to COVID-19.

  • Childcare providers: The Department of Children and Youth Affairs has announced a funding package of €75 million for reopening early learning and childcare services. The grants will help with additional costs associated with reopening after COVID-19.

  • Standards for medical supplies made freely available: NSAI and SAI Global have developed the COVID-19 Response Package which provides free access to Standards for medical devices and PPE.

  • Guidance on the manufacture and distribution of medical devices, PPE and barrier masks:

  • Placing PPE on the EU market–new conformity procedures (HSA): COVID–19 Conformity Assessment and Market Surveillance procedures for PPE

  • Manufacturing and importing PPE and medical devices (NSAI): Guidance on manufacturing and importing PPE and Medical Devices to ensure compliance

  • Guidance on barrier masks (CCPC): Guidance for business on producing or distributing barrier masks

  • Specification on barrier masks (NSAI): SWiFT 19:2020 barrier masks for consumers - Requirements

  • Online COVID-19 platform to help firms collaborate: Companies aiming to help healthcare responses to the COVID-19 crisis can collaborate via a new online COVID-19 platform.

Skills and training supports

The government offers a range of initiatives for reskilling and upskilling to help businesses through the COVID-19 pandemic. The skills supports include Enterprise Ireland's eiLearn online learning resource, LEOs training webinars, the Skillnet Ireland and Regional Skills Fora networks, the SOLAS Skills to Advance initiative and Springboard+ courses.

For details on the range of skills supports visit COVID-19: Skills and training supports for businesses.

Follow the roadmap for reopening business

The revised roadmap for reopening society and business sets out Ireland's plan for lifting COVID-19 restrictions. The government has approved the move to Phase 3 in line with advice received from the National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET):

Phase 3 measures in place now

Return to Work Safely Protocol

The Return to Work Safely Protocol is designed to support employers and workers to put measures in place that will prevent the spread of COVID-19 in the workplace, when the economy begins to slowly open up, following the temporary closure of most businesses during the worst phase of the current pandemic.

Online courses

The new HSA Return to Work Safely online courses includes a course to help understand the Return to Work Safely Protocol requirements and a course for those appointed Lead Worker Representative. 

Templates and checklists

The HSA COVID-19 templates and checklists – based on the Return to Work Safely Protocol – have been prepared to help employers, business owners and managers to get their business up and running again and to inform workers about what they need to do to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 in the workplace.

Data Protection

The Data Protection – Return to Work Safely Protocol guidance document has been prepared to assist in providing clarification where the measures set out in the Return to Work Safely Protocol may result in the processing of personal data.

Business continuity

  • Business Continuity Planning COVID-19 Checklist: The DBEI checklist on Business Continuity Planning provides a checklist for businesses in responding to COVID-19.

  • Workplace Protection and Improvement: The NSAI COVID-19 Workplace Protection and Improvement Guide consolidates the practical guidance available on how to manage business continuity during the COVID-19 pandemic, in relation to workers and the public.

  • Retail Protection and Improvement: The NSAI COVID-19 Retail Protection and Improvement Guide consolidates the practical guidance available on how to manage business continuity of the retail sector during the COVID-19 pandemic.       

  • Shopping Centre Recovery and Protection: The NSAI COVID-19 Shopping Centre Recovery and Protection Guide provides guidance for shopping centres restoring business operations following a disruption or closure due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

  • Tourism businesses guidelines for reopening: Fáilte Ireland has published sector specific operational guidelines for the tourism industry to ensure the safe reopening of tourism businesses.

  • ReBound – Back to Business. Safely: The Skillnet Ireland ReBound initiative offers guidance to SME owners and managers on implementing the Return to Work Safely Protocol.

  • Working remotely: Guidance on working remotely during COVID-19 for employers and employees seeking to engage with remote working solutions.

  • HSA advice for employers and employees: Advice for employers and employees and FAQs for employers and employees on home-working

Posters and graphics

The Department of Health has issued a range of COVID-19 posters and graphics including face covering posters and safe guidelines for work, home, public transport, outdoors and shopping.

Posters, leaflets and other resources for use in workplaces and communities are also available on the HSE website at COVID-19 posters and resources and the HSA website at hsa.ie/covid19.

Download our guide to business supports

The Supports for businesses impacted by COVID-19 booklet details the key supports and resources available to help businesses.

Contact our Business Support Call Centre

Contact the DBEI Business Support Call Centre for information on the government supports available to businesses and enterprises affected by COVID-19.

Tel: +353 1 631 2002

Email: infobusinesssupport@dbei.gov.ie

Occupational Health and Safety Helpline

For information on workplace health and safety please contact the Occupational Health and Safety Helpline.

Tel: 1890 289 389 or (01) 614 7000

Email: wcu@hsa.ie

COVID-19 related prevention and recovery measures in the workplace

For support in relation to improving your COVID-19 related prevention and recovery measures in the workplace, contact the NSAI COVID-19 helpline.

Tel: +353 1 807 3800

Email: COVID-19-support@nsai.ie

Related information

  • Face coverings and other public health measures in place right now

  • HSE information on COVID-19 and HPSC COVID-19 guidance

  • Department of Foreign Affairs travel advice and what to do when arriving into Ireland

  • July Jobs Stimulus

  • DEASP COVID-19 information for employers and employees

  • Competition and Consumer Protection Commission COVID-19 information hub

  • COVID-19: Guidance on the right of travellers to terminate package travel contracts

  • Central Bank COVID-19 information hub for consumers and businesses

  • FSAI information on COVID-19 and food safety

  • Data Protection and COVID-19

  • CIF statements and guidance on COVID-19 and construction

  • How business can help with supplies and services to respond to COVID-19

  • COVID-19 Employment Permits System Contingency Arrangements

  • CRO changes to annual filing obligations for companies

  • COVID-19 and the insolvency-related functions of the ODCE

  • Take-up of DBEI COVID-19 Business Supports

For more information, advice and guidelines from across government visit gov.ie/covid19.

New applications for this payment will not be accepted after 17 September 2020

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