COVID-19 Government  Financial Assistance – Grants, Loans and Funds

 

Government  Financial Assistance – Grants, Loans and Funds COVID-19

  • Government funds Online Trading Vouchers of €2,500, costing you €250 – net gain to you of €2,250 (previously cost you €2,500, 100%)
  • Small Business loans of €50,000 at 4.5% interest over 3 years, with 6 month repayment break
  • Business Continuity Grants of €2,500 for companies and businesses to pay consultancy fees ( no cost to business)

Short-term Government funding aims to align our tax policy with our long term economic strategy,  by saving businesses and consequently jobs we will soften the Economic impact of Covid19. By incentivising businesses to re-employ staff, people will keep their jobs, which increases spending power in the economy, businesses stay open and we restore our eroded tax reserve which ultimately funds the running of our country. Conversely, if there is high unemployment and restricted spending, the cascade effect will be reduced spending in our economy and undermining of financial security. The cost to the exchequer of funding Covid 19 will be partly restored through government borrowing and future tax intake, allowing us to rebuild our economy and fund growth. Short-term government funding, tax reliefs and incentives to invest will make it easier and cheaper for businesses and investors to transact again and restore confidence in our economy.

Due to the latest government funding developments we encourage you to conduct a risk assessment and put business continuity plans in place due to Coronavirus (Covid-19), to cover your business for the next few months. See below some of the grants and funds available to your business and employees.

COVID-19 Grants, Loans and Funds

Business supports
The Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation announced a number of supports for businesses facing challenges being presented by the current Covid-19 situation. The Credit Guarantee Scheme is in place and available now to SME’s subject to the relevant terms and conditions. Separately the SBCI is currently working to finalise the terms and conditions of the SBCI COVID19 Working Capital Scheme and the eligibility application process for this. The SBCI website will be updated as soon as these are finalised. In the interim if you wish to be kept informed on developments please email the SBCI at info@sbci.gov.ie

Enterprise Ireland
Act On Initiative – The initiative helps companies decide on specific actions over a short period to address some of the risks and opportunities from Covid-19. This initiative for Enterprise Ireland clients is delivered at no cost to the company. https://www.enterprise-ireland.com/en/About-Us/Services/Covid-19/Supports/

Business Continuity Planning
This user-friendly checklist identifies a range of issues for enterprise to consider in responding to a COVID-19 outbreak. https://dbei.gov.ie/en/Publications/Business-Continuity-Planning-A-checklist-of-Preparatory-Actions-in-Responding-to-the-COVID-19-Outbreak.html

The following supports are available for firms experiencing trading difficulties and short-term shocks:
The Department of Employment Affairs & Social Protection and the Department of Business, Enterprise & Innovation will 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 objective of avoiding mass lay-offs and buying time for firms to work through the short-term disruptions.

Firms that need to reduce hours or days worked can avail of the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection Short Term Work Support by contacting their local Intreo Office, see https://www.gov.ie/en/service/c20e1b-short-time-work-support/
Local Enterprise Offices will be providing vouchers from €2,500 up to €10,000 (with 50:50 match funding) to support business continuity preparedness, innovation and productivity.

SBCI Working Capital Scheme
To be eligible for the SBCI COVID-19 Working Capital Scheme, businesses must satisfy one of the COVID-19 criteria and one of the innovation criteria set out for the scheme. There is a broad suite of innovation criteria and this offers a wide range of opportunity for businesses to engage in the scheme. Guidelines will be provided on the SBCI website to help businesses determine if they are eligible for the scheme. https://sbci.gov.ie/schemes/sme-credit-guarantee-scheme-cgs

COVID-19 Benefits for Employees

Illness Benefit for COVID-19 absences:
When a worker is told to self-isolate by a doctor or has been diagnosed with COVID-19 (Coronavirus) by a doctor, they can apply for an enhanced Illness Benefit payment of €350 per week.

Do not visit your GP, contact them by telephone.

To receive the enhanced payment, you must be self-isolating on the instruction of a doctor or other medical professional and/or diagnosed. The Illness benefit payment will be paid for a maximum of 2 weeks where a person is self-isolating but will be paid for the duration of a person’s absence from work if they have been diagnosed.

How to Apply

Step 1 – If you are an employee or self-employed and feel you may be suffering from Covid-19 or may need to self-isolate; you should contact your doctor by telephone.
The doctor will then complete a medical certificate on your behalf and send this directly to the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection.
To receive a payment, you will need to provide your doctor with your Name, PPSN and DoB.

Step 2 – Complete an application form for Illness Benefit (Form IB 1).
There are three ways that you can make an application:
• You can call 1890 800 024 or 01 2481398 between 9.00am and 5.00pm Monday to Friday to get an application form by post
• Organise someone to pick up a form at your doctor’s surgery or at your local Intreo Centre
• An online application process will be available by the end of March
• It is important to complete part 5 of the Illness Benefit form as this contains how you would like to be paid.
• You don’t have to fill in part 7 of the form.
• Send your application form by Freepost to:
o PO Box 1650, Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection, Dublin 1
COVID-19 Wage Subsidy Scheme:
The government announced the introduction of a temporary COVID-19 Wage Subsidy Scheme.
This is a subsidy to allow employers who have suffered a sudden impact from COVID-19 to continue to pay their employees.

Details of the scheme are available here: https://www.gov.ie/en/service/578596-covid-19-wage-subsidy/ and we’ve summarised the scheme below –
• The scheme will give employers a refund of 70% of the amount of normal net pay to an employee up to a maximum of €410 per week
• In calculating the amount of “normal” weekly net pay, the Revenue will simply take January and February 2020 payroll and divide by 9 to arrive at a weekly amount (projected annual salary will be this number multiplied by 52)
• The subsidy plus top-up cannot exceed an employee’s previous normal wages
• The scheme will operate for 3 months
• Proprietary directors (i.e. directors who own a material stake in a company but pay themselves a salary from the company) are eligible
• The amount is based on 70% of the after-tax income of someone on an average wage of €38,000 without any account being taken of whether the person is single or married, etc.
• For staff with gross incomes of between €38,000 and €76,000, the scheme will operate on a sliding scale with a maximum subsidy of €350 per week for those being paid €76,000. Details of the sliding scale are “a work in progress”
• Above €76k no subsidy is available. However, if an employee’s salary is reduced below this level, they become eligible for the subsidy
• Employers are expected to make “best efforts” to top up wages/salaries to as close to normal as possible
• A “sudden impact” is defined as being able to demonstrate that you have lost at least 25% of your trade
• The scheme will be administered by the Revenue Commissioners and will, essentially, reverse the normal flow of funds through the PAYE system
• However, the call made clear that this scheme is a work in progress and that, as the Revenue Commissioners develop their understanding of different situations, they will amend qualifying criteria
• You can apply here: https://revenue.ie/en/corporate/communications/covid19/index.aspx

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Details of the scheme on the website are still high level and the draft legislation underpinning the scheme has not been published yet and the full scheme is not expected to be up and running until 20th April.
However, a number of very important clarifications have been provided, which will be of particular interest to startups:
• Who is Eligible? “Indicators” of a sudden COVID-19 impact such as a 25% drop in trade are not hardwired into the legislation and other criteria such as an “inability to pay normal salaries or an inability to pay normal outgoings” will cause companies to be eligible. The authorities expect eligibility guidelines to evolve over time and are updating criteria on an ongoing basis.
• Voluntary top ups While employers are urged to top up the payment to employees, there is no obligation to do so
• PRSI due? Top-ups will be subject to a minimal rate of PRSI (~0.5%)
• Self-Declaration The scheme is a self-declaration scheme. There will not be a lengthy evaluation process for eligibility
• Interim Scheme In the interim between now and the 20th of April, an interim scheme will simply provide the subsidy at a maximum rate of €410
• The scheme will support both people who are still working and people who are effectively laid-off or on full or part-time working
Full details to follow. In the meantime, we would encourage you to register for the scheme if you feel it’s likely that you will need to avail of it.

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2. COVID-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment – Increase

An increase in the COVID-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment from €203 to €350 per week.
• This applies to both employees and the self-employed; It is for those who have lost their job or been forced to cease trading due to COVID-19; It is in place for duration of the crisis
• Details here: https://www.gov.ie/en/service/be74d3-covid-19-pandemic-unemployment-payment/

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