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Covid-19 Latest Updates for Business & Advice Links

 

LATEST UPDATES & COVID -19 RELATED BUSINESS ADVICE & LINKS

The government announced National COVID-19 Income Support Scheme, will provide financial support to Irish workers and companies affected by the crisis.  Read Here  More information about the Wage Subsidy Scheme can be found here 

Support for businesses impacted by COVID 19 through commercial rates deferral. Read here

The latest announcements from DBEI is available here

Updates from the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection are available here

The most up to date Government advice is available here

There has been an update to the Employer Refund Scheme, allowing employers engaged with the scheme to top up the payment provided by the State. Find out more here

Minister Doherty announced details of the COVID-19 Employer Refund Scheme on 18 March, read full details here.

Minister Humphreys announces supports for businesses impacted by COVID-19 on Wednesday 11th March 2020, read about it here.

Recruitment: The Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection has advised us that businesses can contact employerrelations@welfare.ie with details of their requirements and a response can be activated centrally via Intreo offices and case officers undertaking to match against existing job seekers:

 

         How will this affect your business

 

                 It is important to consider how the virus impacts your business:

  • Check your insurance policy (or with your broker) whether your insurance policy covers you for an interruption in your business, or a temporary business closure, caused by Coronavirus.
  • Are you adequately insured to cover potential financial losses?
  • What local agencies are in a position to support you should your business require support?
  • Consider how a business decision will be made as to whether or not the closure is necessary. Who will make the decision and more importantly, how will this decision be communicated to employees?
  • Are the contact details for all of your employees up to date?
  • Can employees be issued with equipment that facilitates remote working from home? If so ISME has a policy on remote working available in the Members area here.
  • How will the company respond with regard to payment in the event of a closure?

The measures SMEs should take are:

  • Gather information on pandemic influenza and assign responsibilities for planning. Government advice is available here and advice from DBEI is available here.
  • You will be asked about payment for workers self-isolating. This issue is dictated by issues such as the employee’s contract of employment, whether they are symptomatic, whether they have travelled from an at-risk area, or whether they have been in contact with such a person. You can get current information on entitlements here.
  • Consult within your staff, customers and suppliers. If you have Asian suppliers, you need to talk to them immediately about their production and export plans.
  • Understand what are the ‘high level’ impacts pandemic could have on your business, and prioritise the most impactful ones.
  • Nominate deputies for the key personnel in all roles.
  • Consider where you would be in a position to access contractors if your own workforce was to be significantly impacted.
  • Develop a business continuity plan, brief your staff on that plan, and test it in exercises. Maximise the use of remote and flexible working. The DBEI provides a template here.
  • Discuss contingencies with your accountant and your bank should there be significant impacts on your suppliers or your customers.

HSE Health Protection Surveillance Centre has the following information for the Business and Retail Sector. It is available HERE and they update it regularly.

 

                     Opening or Closing

                                  Steps to take where there is no office closure:

  • The main issue within an office setting is hand-hygiene, consider placing sanitiser around the office and asking staff to use it and to maintain good hand hygiene. Also consider providing wipes for keyboard, phones, printers etc. What support will be offered to employees to prevent germs from spreading?
  • Has the company conducted a full Risk Assessment? Members can access assessments here.
  • Have the employees been briefed, and where necessary trained, on the findings of the Risk Assessment?

Employers have a duty of care for all employees under the Safety Health and Welfare at Work Act 2005 and must give due consideration if it is safe to ask employees to travel to work (consider public transport with a virus) or to undertake their work. It is imperative that an appropriate Risk Assessment is conducted to ensure that management makes an informed decision and that no employee’s Safety is put at risk unnecessarily. Members can access assessments here.

The Department of Health has developed social distancing graphics to help you maintain distance in your premises. You can download them for free HERE

In the event of the closure of a company:

  • Minister Humphreys announces supports for businesses impacted by COVID-19 on Wednesday 11th March 2020, read about it here.
  • How will the company communicate the situation and any updates to employees?
  • Payment:
      • Continue to pay the employee as normal or put the employee on short term lay off (contract permitting)?
      • Allow the employee to work from home – where possible? ISME Members Radius technologies have the following advice on remote working here
      • Provide them with the option of taking a day’s annual leave to cover their absence?
      • Allow the employee to make up any missed time at a later date?
  • What supports can be offered to employees adversely affected by a closure?

Where employees are present in the workplace, care should be taken to remain vigilant for any worsening conditions and cancelled/amended travel services throughout the day.

Payment information for staff is available here:

Financial support for your business is available here

                           Staffing

Government Supports

The government has announced a National COVID-19 Income Support Scheme. This will provide financial support to Irish workers and companies affected by the crisis.

In summary:

  • temporary wage subsidy of 70% of take-home pays up to a maximum weekly tax-free amount of €410 per week to help affected companies keep paying their employees. This is the equivalent of €500 per week before tax. More information about the scheme can be found here.
  • workers who have lost their jobs due to the crisis will receive an enhanced emergency COVID-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment of €350 per week (an increase from €203)
  • the COVID-19 illness payment will also be increased to €350 per week
  • the self-employed will be eligible for the COVID-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment of €350 directly from the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection (rather than the Revenue scheme)
  • enhanced protection for people facing difficulties with their mortgages, rent or utility bills

Read in full HERE

In the unfortunate cases where staff will need to be let go, ISME HR has a number of resources for you in the Members Area such as templates for:

  • Redundancy Letter – At Risk
  • Template Letter for Redundancy and payment
  • Lay Off Notification
  • Short Time Notification
  • Collective Redundancy
  • Protective Notice

You can access these here

You can also email or call our HR Support service Monday – Thursday 9.00 -5.30 and Friday 9.00 -5.00

Releases

Government announces new COVID-19 Income Support Scheme
The government has today announced a National COVID-19 Income Support Scheme. This will provide financial support to Irish workers and companies affected by the crisis. Find out more here:

Employer Refund Scheme update on top-ups
There has been an update to the Employer Refund Scheme, allowing employers engaged with the scheme to top up the payment provided by the State. Find out more here:

Minister Doherty announces details of the COVID-19 Employer Refund Scheme. 

Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection, Regina Doherty today announced details of how the government would refund employers who temporarily laid off their employees but are continuing to pay them €203 per week during the current COVID-19 (Coronavirus) situation.

Under the arrangement developed with Revenue, employers who have to temporarily lay-off staff and who are not in a position to make any wage payment to them, are asked to keep their employees on the payroll and pay them an amount of €203 – the equivalent of the COVID-19 Support Payment. When they submit payroll returns to Revenue via their payroll provider, Revenue will refund the employer the €203.

Read about it here 

 

                       Financial Support

The Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation (DBEI) have put a range of supports in place, including:

  • SBCI
    • A €200m Strategic Banking Corporation of Ireland (SBCI) Working Capital scheme 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
  • Enterprise Ireland
    • A €200m Package for Enterprise Supports including a Rescue and Restructuring Scheme available through Enterprise Ireland for vulnerable but viable firms that need to restructure or transform their business.
  • Local Enterprise Office
    • The maximum loan available from MicroFinance Ireland will be increased from €25,000 to €50,000 as an immediate measure to specifically deal with exceptional circumstances that micro-enterprises – (sole traders and firms with up to 9 employees) – are facing. Applications can be made through the MFI website or through your local LEO.
  • Credit Guarantee Scheme
    • The Credit Guarantee Scheme will be 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.
  • DEBI Supports
    • You can read about the steps and supports for SMEs available from the DBEI here.

Financial support for staff

The government has announced a National COVID-19 Income Support Scheme. This will provide financial support to Irish workers and companies affected by the crisis.

In summary:

  • temporary wage subsidy of 70% of take-home pays up to a maximum weekly tax-free amount of €410 per week to help affected companies keep paying their employees. This is the equivalent of €500 per week before tax. More information about the scheme can be found HERE
  • workers who have lost their jobs due to the crisis will receive an enhanced emergency COVID-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment of €350 per week (an increase from €203)
    • A presentation about the scheme can be found HERE
    • FAQs for employees and employers can be found HERE
  • the COVID-19 illness payment will also be increased to €350 per week
  • the self-employed will be eligible for the COVID-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment of €350 directly from the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection (rather than the Revenue scheme)
  • enhanced protection for people facing difficulties with their mortgages, rent or utility bills

Read in full HERE

You can also email or call our HR Support service Monday – Thursday 9.00 -5.30 and Friday 9.00 -5.00

Releases

Government announces new COVID-19 Income Support Scheme
The government has today announced a National COVID-19 Income Support Scheme. This will provide financial support to Irish workers and companies affected by the crisis. Find out more here:

Employer Refund Scheme update on top-ups
There has been an update to the Employer Refund Scheme, allowing employers engaged with the scheme to top up the payment provided by the State. Find out more here:

Commercial Rates
Support for businesses impacted by COVID 19 through commercial rates deferral. Read here

Refunding Employers

Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection, Regina Doherty today announced details of how the government would refund employers who temporarily laid off their employees but are continuing to pay them €203 per week during the current COVID-19 (Coronavirus) situation.
Under the arrangement developed with Revenue, employers who have to temporarily lay-off staff and who are not in a position to make any wage payment to them, are asked to keep their employees on the payroll and pay them an amount of €203 – the equivalent of the COVID-19 Support Payment. When they submit payroll returns to Revenue via their payroll provider, Revenue will refund the employer the €203. Read about it here 

Business Supports from DEBI
Minister Humphreys announces supports for businesses impacted by COVID-19 on Wednesday 11th March 2020 read about it here.

 

               Customers & Suppliers

Customers and Suppliers

  • How will they be impacted by closure and how will it be communicated?
  • If you have Asian suppliers, you need to talk to them immediately about their production and export plans.
  • How will the company be impacted if there is a drop in sales?
    • Is there a contingency fund in place to account for a drop in sales?
    • Has the company considered customer safety on the premises?
  • How will the supply chain be impacted?
    • Will the company have enough stock if a supplier is forced to close?
    • How long will it take to reestablish supply?

Curtesy ISME

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