Government announces Economic Recovery Plan

Last updated: May 19th, 2022

The Government has launched the Economic Recovery Plan (the Plan), setting out a series of measures designed to boost economic activity and get people back to work
Below are the key points employers and business owners should be mindful of.

Employment Wage Subsidy Scheme extended

The Employment Wage Subsidy Scheme (EWSS) will be extended until December 31st, 2021. Existing payment rates will continue for July, August, and September at current turnover thresholds.

The time period for assessment will also be broadened. Currently, a six-month period of assessment is in place but this will increase to 12 months. This will support businesses and their employees through the immediate recovery phase and keep as many workers as possible in the labour market.

Pandemic Unemployment Payment extended

The Pandemic Unemployment Payment (PUP) will be extended beyond June 30th, 2021 for existing claimants. The scheme is set to close to new applicants from July 1st.

PUP claims for students will also continue until the start of the 2021/2022 college year (final payment on September 7th). This ensures the scheme aligns with regular circumstances where students do not qualify for unemployment payments while at college.

The current PUP support rates are scheduled to remain in place until September 7th. Following that date, rates will gradually reduce on a phased basis in increments of €50 per week.

If progress continues as expected, two further phases of changes will take place on November 16th and February 8th.

Redundancy claims suspended

The employee right to trigger a redundancy claim following certain periods of lay-off or short-time work due to COVID-19 has been suspended for a final time until September 30th, 2021.

Once the suspension is lifted, eligible employees will be able to make a claim for redundancy to their employer. If a business is not in a position to meet the additional statutory redundancy costs, it can enter a COVID-19 Deferred Payment arrangement. Further details will be negotiated in conjunction with employers and unions.

COVID-19 Restrictions Support Scheme extended

The COVID-19 Restrictions Support Scheme (CRSS) will be extended beyond June 30th until the end of 2021. Enhanced restart payments of three weeks at double the rate of payment will be made available to support businesses when exiting the scheme and reopening.

The maximum restart payment will increase to €10,000 per week, allowing businesses to receive up to a maximum of €30,000.

New Business Resumption Support Scheme introduced

A new business support scheme, the Business Resumption Support Scheme, will come into effect in September 2021. This scheme will support businesses that have seen turnover significantly reduced as a result of COVID-19 restrictions.

Small Business Assistance Scheme

The Small Business Assistance Scheme for COVID-19 (SBASC) was introduced to help businesses that didn’t qualify for CRSS, the Tourism Business Continuity Scheme, or other direct sectoral grant schemes.

Eligibility for the SBASC for Q2 2021 applications has been broadened in two ways. Businesses with a minimum turnover of €50,000 can benefit from a €4,000 grant, including businesses in nonrated premises. This means that self-employed people working from home who meet eligibility criteria also qualify.

Businesses with a minimum turnover of €20,000 and a maximum turnover of €49,999 can receive a grant of €1,000, with all other SBASC eligibility criteria applying.

Events sector

Pilot events are set to take place during June and July, with several supports available to help the events sector.

The Live Performance Support Scheme will operate in conjunction with a tailored scheme called the Music and Entertainment Business Assistance Scheme. This is a new events sector support scheme that has yet to be finalised.

Commercial Rates Waiver extended

The Commercial Rates Waiver will run until the end of September in its current form.

Tax Debt Warehousing Scheme extended

The Tax Debt Warehousing Scheme will continue until the end of 2021 for all eligible taxpayers with an interest-free period during 2022. COVID-related liabilities will then fall to be paid from January 1st, 2023.

9% VAT rate for tourism and hospitality

To provide support for the tourism sector, the 9% VAT rate will be extended until September 1st, 2022. Fáilte Ireland will also continue its support initiatives, including through its Business Continuity Scheme or equivalent schemes. 

Helping People Back into Work

Pathways to Work 2021-2025 will help unemployed people get back into work, with a particular focus on youth unemployment. A new EU Reinforced Youth Guarantee process will see increased engagement with young jobseekers, while places on the JobsPlus scheme will increase to 8,000.

The strategy also aims to reduce barriers to the labour market for people with disabilities and lone parents.

Reskilling and Upskilling

An extra 50,000 education and training places will be rolled out as part of the Government’s new Action Plan for Apprenticeship 2021-2025. This Plan aims to increase new apprentice registrations to 10,000 per annum by 2025.

Expert advice from Graphite consultants

Graphite consultants are experts in employment law and know how to manage all HR issues that might arise during reopening.

If your business needs help when reopening, contact us on 01 886 0350 or request a callback here.

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Olga Shevchenko

Director/Advocate, Immigration Advice Bureau

Olga Shevchenko specialises in immigration advocacy and consultancy, in particular, employment permit, visas, family reunification, citizenship, etc, for those seeking to visit, reside or invest in Ireland.

Olga provides extensive information, knowledge, and support to her clients, enabling access to positive solutions for people struggling to handle the immigration law.

Minister Neale Richmond

Minister of State, Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment

Neale Richmond TD was appointed as Minister of State at the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment with special responsibility for Employment Affairs and Retail Business and the Department of Social Protection in January 2023.

Much of his work at the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment is with businesses, workers, their representative bodies and the State Agencies to ensure that the economic recovery and growth extends to all parts of the country. He works closely with the SME sector, including retail, on building resilience and on the transition to the green and digital economies.

Mark Carpenter

Director of Regulatory & Corporate Affairs, Sky

Mark Carpenter is Director of Regulatory & Corporate Affairs at Sky Ireland. In this role he has responsibility for External and Internal Communications, Public Policy and Regulatory Affairs and the company’s ‘Bigger Picture’ (CSR) programme. He also works closely with Sky Group teams on a variety of matters, in particular our partnerships with domestic broadcasters.

Prior to working at Sky, Mark worked as a Policy Officer in Houses of the Oireachtas and as a Management Consultant at Accenture. He has a BA in History from Oxford University and a PhD in Political Science from Trinity College Dublin.

Nora Cashe

Litigation and Compliance Manager, Peninsula

Nóra studied Law in Griffith College Dublin and qualified as a Barrister in 2008, practising in the area of Criminal law. She is also member of the Irish Employment Law Association.

Nora has extensive experience representing clients at Employment Tribunal hearings, Conciliation / Mediation meetings before both the Workplace Relations Commission and the Labour Court. 

Nóra is a member of the Irish Employment Law Association and engages with the WRC Adjudication Service as part of their stakeholder engagement forum.

Deiric McCann

Managing Director, Genos International Europe

Deiric McCann leads Genos International Europe – The EU division of a world-leading provider of emotional intelligence solutions. 

With over two decades experience at the highest levels of management, Deiric supports clients to develop the resilience, emotional intelligence, psychological safety and engagements of their employees.

Rhiannon Coyne

Senior HR Consultant, Graphite HRM

Rhiannon Coyne is a Senior HR Consultant at Graphite HRM and will be providing an overview of best practice on how to deal with complaints of bullying and harassment in the workplace. 

With a number of recent updates to employment laws, Rhiannon will take a closer look at employment equality and how it is interlinked to Health & Safety and what employers can learn from recent case laws.

David Begg

Chairman, Workplace Relations Commission

David Begg was appointed Chairperson of the Workplace Relations Commission (WRC) in January 2021.

David is also a professor at Maynooth University Institute of Social Sciences. Mr Begg’s extensive history in the trade union movement included leading the ESB Officers Association and Irish Congress of Trade Unions, stepping away from the latter in 2001 to chair international aid agency Concern.

David Begg was also previously a director of the Central Bank of Ireland between 1995 and 2010.