Following the recent confirmation of reopening timelines, the Government has now launched the Economic Recovery Plan (the Plan).
The Plan sets out various measures designed to boost economic activity and get people back to work.
We’ve picked out the key points for employers and business owners below.
Employment Wage Subsidy Scheme
The Employment Wage Subsidy Scheme (EWSS) will be extended until December 31st, 2021. The existing payment rates will be maintained for July, August, and September at current turnover thresholds.
The time period for assessment will also be broadened from the current six-month period of assessment to a full 12-month period. This should ensure that businesses and their workers are supported through the earlier part of the recovery and keep as many workers as possible in the labour market.
Pandemic Unemployment Payment
The Pandemic Unemployment Payment (PUP) will be extended beyond June 30th, 2021 for existing claimants. It is planned to close the scheme to new applicants from July 1st.
PUP claims for students will be extended until the start of the 2021/2022 college year (final payment on September 7th) in line with normal circumstances where students do not qualify for unemployment payments while at college.
Post-June 30th, it’s planned that the current rates of support under the PUP scheme will remain in place until September 7th. From then they will be gradually reduced on a phased basis in increments of €50 per week.
If progress continues as expected, two further phases of changes will take place on November 16th and February 8th.
Redundancy claims suspended for final time until September 30th
The right of an employee to trigger a redundancy claim following certain periods of lay-off or short-time work due to COVID-19 is suspended for a final time until September 30th, 2021.
When the suspension is lifted, eligible employees can avail of their entitlement to make a claim for redundancy to their employer. If a business is not in a position to meet the additional statutory redundancy costs, it can enter a COVID-19 Deferred Payment arrangement. Further details will be worked out in conjunction with employers and unions.
COVID-19 Restrictions Support Scheme
The COVID-19 Restrictions Support Scheme (CRSS) will be extended beyond June 30th until the end of 2021. As firms are able to reopen and exit the scheme, there will be an enhanced restart payment of three weeks at double the rate of payment to support businesses in meeting the costs of reopening as they exit the scheme. The maximum restart payment will be increased to €10,000 per week, allowing businesses to receive up to a maximum of €30,000.
Business Resumption Support Scheme
A new additional, more streamlined business support scheme, the Business Resumption Support Scheme, will be introduced in September 2021 for businesses with significantly reduced turnover as a result of public health restrictions.
Small Business Assistance Scheme
The Small Business Assistance Scheme for COVID-19 (SBASC) was introduced to help businesses that are not eligible for CRSS, the Tourism Business Continuity Scheme, or other direct sectoral grant schemes, to provide grant aid to assist with fixed costs.
Eligibility for the SBASC for Q2 2021 applications has been broadened in two ways. Where businesses have a minimum turnover of €50,000, they can benefit from a €4,000 grant.
This now includes businesses in nonrated premises, thereby benefitting self-employed people working from home who meet all other eligibility criteria.
SBASC also provides for a grant of €1,000 for businesses with a minimum turnover of €20,000 and a maximum turnover of €49,999, with all other SBASC eligibility criteria applying.
As well as pilot events in June and July, a number of supports have been put in place to assist the events sector.
The Live Performance Support Scheme will run alongside a tailored scheme called the Music and Entertainment Business Assistance Scheme and a new events sector support scheme that has yet to be finalised.
Commercial Rates Waiver
The Commercial Rates Waiver will be extended to the end of September in its current form.
Tax Debt Warehousing Scheme
The Tax Debt Warehousing Scheme will be extended to the end of 2021 for all eligible taxpayers with an interest-free period during 2022. COVID-related liabilities will then fall to be paid from January 1st, 2023.
9% VAT rate for tourism and hospitality
As part of ongoing support for the tourism sector, VAT rate of 9% will be extended until September 1st, 2022. Fáilte Ireland will also continue its support initiatives, including through its Business Continuity Scheme or equivalent schemes.
Helping People Back into Work
Pathways to Work 2021-2025 will help unemployed people get back into work.
There will be a particular focus on youth unemployment. A new ambitious EU Reinforced Youth Guarantee process will see increased engagement with young jobseekers, and an expanded JobsPlus scheme, with 8,000 places overall.
The strategy also aims to reduce barriers to the labour market for people with disabilities and lone parents.
Reskilling and Upskilling
The Government will roll out an additional 50,000 education and training places.
The new Action Plan for Apprenticeship 2021-2025 aims to increase new apprentice registrations to 10,000 per annum by 2025.
Need our help?
Whether you have questions on the Economic Recovery Plan or anything from the Work Safely Protocol to updating employment contracts, we can help.
For expert advice on any HR or health & safety issue, speak with one of our advisors today on 0818 923 923.