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Refunds Employers and Measures introduced by the Five Main Banks

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Dear Members,

Please study the attached information, it is vital you fully inform yourself how these changes from the Department of Employment Affairs & Social Protection could impact your business.

Secondly we are attaching an update on new measures being introduced by the five main banks.

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.
Recently, the Minister announced the implementation of exceptional measures to enable workers who are temporarily laid off claim a special COVID-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment of €203 per week.

Refund Scheme

At the time the new payment was announced, the Minister indicated that the preference of the government is that the new payment would, as far as possible, be made via employer payrolls.

In addition to minimising the demand on the processing capacity of the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection this approach would, critically, help maintain the link between employers and workers and make the return to work more seamless.

In support of this approach the Minister also stated that the department would introduce a refund scheme for employers who kept workers on their payroll during the period of a temporary lay-off.

The approach to this refund scheme has now been agreed. Revenue has come forward and offered to implement the refund system on the department’s behalf. The Minister wishes to acknowledge the support of the Revenue Commissioners as it will help speed up the refund process and reduce the need for employers to rely on short-term finance.

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.

 

The Minister emphasised:

“This is a significant departure from our normal approach but meets a critical and immediate demand to address instant income needs of workers who have been temporarily laid off while also allowing them to stay on the employer payroll – a reassurance that they will, in all likelihood, have a job to return to. We are very appreciative of the work not just of Revenue but of the cooperation of employers and their payroll providers.”
In order to ensure workers who have child and adult dependants receive their full entitlements, these individuals will be asked to apply for Jobseeker’s Benefit via the online portal www.mywelfare.ie.

Please see further information on the scheme on the Revenue Commissioner's website.

 

COVID-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payments Update

Meanwhile, since its announcement, the department has received over 50,000 claims from people who have been laid-off for COVID-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payments. This indicates the huge impact that the COVID-19 pandemic is having on our economy and on our people.

The Minister acknowledges that this is an incredibly difficult time for many people, particularly those people who lose their jobs, even if this loss is temporary.

 

 

“The measures taken already are extraordinary but this is an extraordinary time. There is great uncertainty and much anxiety about what lies ahead. The loss of a job and an income increases this anxiety and stress. We are doing all we can to help people through this anxiety.
“The new payment we introduced is just one measure and it means that we can get people into payment as quickly as possible. Hopefully this will provide some measure of reassurance to people unfortunate to be laid-off. We are also calling on banks, landlords, utility providers and others to exercise forbearance with regard to payments of mortgages, rent and utility bills.”

 

The measures being introduced by the five main banks are as follows:

1. Implement a payment break up to three months for business and personal customers affected by Covid-19, to be followed by ongoing reviews depending on the scale and extent of the situation. Customers wishing to avail of a payment break should contact their respective bank.

2. The banks agree there is a need for a simplified application process to make it as easy as possible for businesses and personal customers impacted by Covid-19 to receive support from their banks. They are working with all member banks to achieve this.

3. The banks want to ensure that any Covid-19 application for a payment break and further reviews will not adversely impact the customer's credit record, and the banks reporting of these facilities. Banks want to avoid this and are meeting with the Central Bank of Ireland to urgently achieve a solution in this regard.

4. Banks will also defer court proceedings for three months.

5. The banking system stands ready to provide working capital support.

6. They had initial discussions with Credit Servicing Firms and with those non-bank lenders who provide mortgages. Both the Credit Servicing Firms and non-bank lenders have issues which we need to address with the Central Bank of Ireland, but both are committed to working with the Government and industry to provide the flexibility that people need right now.

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