Employer and employee benefits update

  • Written By: Padraig Connor
  • Published: Wed, 18 Mar 2020 16:23 GMT

COVID-19 (Coronavirus) information for employers and employees

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We have been reviewing a number of government announcements and initiatives. We outline below some key points for you and your business.

Key measures

As part of the measures announced to limit and slow down the spread of COVID-19, to keep the number of affected people to a minimum and to reduce peak pressure on the health service, the Government is:

  • Waiving the requirement for 6 waiting days for Illness Benefit in respect of medically certified cases of self-isolation in accordance with public health guidelines,
  • Increasing the personal rate of Illness Benefit from €203 per week to €305 per week for a maximum period of 2 weeks of medically certified self-isolation, or for the duration of a person's medically-certified absence from work due to COVID-19 diagnoses,
  • Removing the means test Supplementary Welfare Allowance in respect of medically certified cases of self-isolation, and
  • Allowing self-employed people to receive either Illness Benefit or non-means tested supplementary welfare allowance.

The Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection has released a detailed guide for employers and employees and includes information on:

  • Who the enhanced arrangements are intended to support
  • Workers who are diagnosed with COVID-19
  • Workers who are not diagnosed with COVID-19 but are required to self-isolate
  • Workers whose employers do not supplement/top-up the state Illness Benefit payment
  • Availability of the enhanced payment
  • Workers who are requested to stay at home by their employer
  • Workers who are laid off temporarily or put on to short time working
  • Workers who need to take-time off work to care for a person affected by COVID-19
  • People already in receipt of Social Welfare Payments
  • How to apply for Illness Benefit for COVID-19 absences

Social Welfare

The Government is to establish a temporary refund scheme for employers forced to cease trading as a result of social distancing measures to help delay the spread of Covid-19. Where possible, employers are being asked to pay workers at least the equivalent jobseekers' rate of €203 per week during a six-week period.

The Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection said employers can claim a refund for the payments under the temporary scheme. This new temporary refund scheme, will be available to all employees and the self-employed who have lost work as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Department has said employers can claim a refund for the €203 a week payments to workers.

Working from home - Home expenses

You can make a payment of €3.20 per workday to an eWorker employee without deducting:

This payment is to cover expenses such as heating and electricity costs. If your employee’s costs are higher and you repay these expenses, records of the payments made must retained by you. Your employee may instead choose to make a claim online with use at the end of the year. To do this, they must submit receipts to their local Revenue office using MyEnquiries which is available through MyAccount.

These arrangements only apply to eWorker employees. They do not apply to workers who bring work home outside of normal working hours.

We will be keeping an eye on announcements as they come during the coming days and weeks and reviewing them. We will endeavour to keep you informed. In the meantime, if you have any questions or need our support or help contact you lead contact or myself directly.

Keep well and stay safe

Padraig Connor
Director, Business Outsource Services

We have taken great care to ensure the accuracy of this publication. However, the publication is written in general terms and you are strongly recommended to seek specific advice before taking any action on the information it contains.

Smith & Williamson Freaney Limited Authorised to carry on investment business by the Institute of Chartered Accountants in Ireland. A member of Nexia International.

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Return to the COVID-19 Tax & Benefits page

By necessity, this briefing can only provide a short overview and it is essential to seek professional advice before applying the contents of this article. This briefing does not constitute advice nor a recommendation relating to the acquisition or disposal of investments. No responsibility can be taken for any loss arising from action taken or refrained from on the basis of this publication. Details correct at time of writing.


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If you would like more information or to discuss how coronavirus will affect you or your business, please contact using the form below.




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