Wage Subsidy Scheme

If you have a farm business employing staff, such as a large dairy or pig operation, you could be eligible for the Government Wage Subsidy Scheme.

The scheme will provide Government funding up to 70% of an employee’s wages – up to a level of €410/week.

Initially, employers will have to continue paying up to 70% (to 100% where possible) of an employee’s wage, but the Government will refund 70% of this two days after payroll submission.

In April, the scheme will move to a subsidy system.

Eligibility criteria

  • Be experiencing significant negative economic disruption due to COVID-19.
  • Be able to demonstrate, to the satisfaction of Revenue, a minimum of a 25% decline in turnover.
  • Be unable to pay normal wages and normal outgoings fully.
  • Retain their employees on the payroll.
  • The scheme is confined to employees who were on the employer’s payroll as at 29 February 2020, and for whom a payroll submission has already been made to Revenue in the period from 1 February 2020 to 15 March 2020.
  • One of the bonus points of the scheme is that employee PRSI will not apply to the subsidy or any top-up payment by the employer.

    The scheme will run for 12 weeks from 26 March. For full details, you should visit the gov.ie website.

    Rural Social Scheme

    If you are already in receipt of the Rural Social Scheme (RSS) welfare payment and lose your job or have your hours reduced as a result of COVID-19, you will still receive your RSS payment.

    There are 3,475 farmers on RSS.

    COVID-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment

    If you are an employed or self-employed farmer in full- or part-time work and you lose your job as a result of the pandemic, you will be entitled to a social welfare payment of €350/week for 12 weeks.

    While the payment is available immediately, in the interim if you have an adult and child dependent you are advised to claim Jobseekers payments, as you can claim additional payments which are not available under the unemployment payment. The easiest way to apply is online via mywelfare.ie

    Illness Benefit

    Both employed and self-employed farmers can avail of Illness Benefit at the new increased rate of €350/week.

    The Illness Benefit covers people who have contracted the virus or been forced to self-isolate.

    To apply, you must first get an Illness Benefit Certificate from your GP – you are advised to ring your GP for this certificate to avoid possibly spreading the virus.

    You must then fill in an Illness Benefit application (form IB 1).

    You can get this form via a number of methods:

  • You can call 1890 800 024 or 01-248 1398 between 9am and 5pm Monday to Friday to get an application form by post.
  • Organise someone to pick up a form at your doctor’s surgery or at your local Intreo Centre.
  • You can request a form to be posted to you by sending an email: forms@welfare.ie.
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