- by Patrick Cooney on 20/05/2020

A number of supports have been launched and are now available for business owners and their employees during the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic. This week we have listed just a few of the many different schemes that have been introduced to help you and your businesses through this uncertain time. A full list of more comprehensive list is available at the end of this article.

Wage Subsidy Scheme

An initiative to facilitate employers to continue to pay wages of their staff where the business has lost a minimum of 25% of turnover because of the COVID-19 pandemic. In general the Government will pay up to 70% of an employee's weekly take home pay up to a maximum of ?410 per week, with a new tiered scale introduced on the 15th Of April.

Covid-19 Working Capital Loan Scheme

Various different schemes by the government and large banks have been created to make it cheaper and easier for businesses to access credit. Depending on the size of the business, applications for both short and long-term loans worth anywhere from ?25,000 to ?1,500,000 are available. These loans have a maximum interest rate of 4.0% and the first ?500,000 borrowed can be unsecured.

Deferral of Commercial Rates:

Businesses who have been most impacted such as those in retail, hospitality, leisure and childcare until the end of May 2020 can defer commercial rates.

Many other cash flow supports have become available to different industries and businesses who are being financially hit by the COVID-19 crisis.

Business Continuity Voucher:

The Business Continuity Voucher worth up to ?2,500 is redeemable against the cost of third party consultancy costs for developing short and long-term strategies to respond to the crisis. Available to businesses that employ up to 50 people and is available through Local Enterprise Offices nationwide.

Trading Online Voucher Scheme

Not strictly a COVID-19 support but very relevant as more companies are forced to move their businesses online, the Trading Online Voucher Scheme is there to help small enterprises establish an online presence. The voucher is worth up to ?2,500.

Enterprise Ireland Grants

A Business Financial Planning Grant to the value of ?5,000 against the cost of financial consultation costs is available as well as a Finance in Focus grant of ?7,200 which is available to Enterprise Ireland and Udaras na Gaeltchta clients.

Planning Exemptions for Restaurants and Cafes

Any restaurant or café does not have to apply for planning permission to operate take-away services during the emergency period of 13th March to 31st May 2020.

Employee Supports

If a business cannot pay their employee wages and find themselves laid off for this period, they are entitled to apply for the new COVID-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment.

An employee who would have normally worked normal full-time hours have seen a reduction to 3 days or less per week, they can apply for Short Time Work Support. This scheme entitles the employee to a benefit payment for the days they are no longer working.

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