COVID-19 Social Benefits

Tue May 12 2020

Dear Member,

The purpose of this email is to give you a synopsis of the social benefits available to you and your clients. You can use to this overview to assure your clients, should they ring you to cancel or curtail insurance, investment and pension benefits.


Unemployment Payment

Brokers Ireland has sought clarification on whether Brokers need to have ceased trading in order to claim under the Unemployment payment. The Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection has given the below clarification:

‘The Pandemic Unemployment Payment is a payment of €350 per week paid by the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection. It is available to employees and the self-employed who have lost their job on (or after) 6 March 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Must have been in employment or self-employment immediately before Friday 13 March 2020. If a person is self-employed, the Pandemic Unemployment Payment applies if their trading income has collapsed to the extent that they are available to take up other full-time employment if it is offered to them’.

The COVID-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment will be in place until at least 8 June 2020.

Company owners or Directors may, including proprietary Directors, may be employees or self-employed depending on circumstances and may be paying either Class A PRSI or Class S PRSI. If Class A PRSI is being paid then the person is an employee of the company and must be laid off, and not receiving pay, to qualify for the scheme.

More broadly, if a person is self-employed, for example as a sole trader paying Class S PRSI, then the COVID Pandemic Unemployment Payment applies if their trading income has collapsed to the extent that they are available to take up other full-time employment if it is offered to them. There is no requirement for the business to be completely ceased or de-registered and emergency call outs can be done providing the collapse in income and availability to take-up full employment still obtain.

If a person subsequently applies for Jobseekers Benefit Self-Employed, that claim will be considered separately under the rules of that scheme.

A person can also engage in once-off emergency work as long as the circumstances outlined above apply remain the same overall.”

The quickest and easiest way to apply for the emergency Covid-19 payment is by applying online at All they need is their email to set up a basic MyGovID account which then allows them to apply online.

For more information on the benefit please follow this link:

Short Time Work

If your client has been temporarily placed on a shorter working week, they may qualify for Short Time Work Support. For details please click here:

E-Working (Working from home) Tax Relief

Employees working from home are being urged to claim tax relief that could be worth €16 per week to them. The Office of the Revenue Commissioners allows employees working from home to claim €3.20 per day in expenses if duties are being performed within normal working hours.

The payment of €3.20 per workday tax relief for employees are eligible when:

  • There is a formal agreement between you and your employee that the employee is required to work from home.
  • Your employee is required to perform essential duties of the employment at home.
  • Your employee is required to work for substantial periods at home.

This tax relief covers expenses that are typically encountered by employees who work from home. This includes:

  • Heating
  • Electricity
  • Broadband

For more information on Working from home relief please click on the two relevant hyperlinks below:


Wage Subsidy Scheme

The Wage Subsidy scheme runs for 12 weeks from 26 March 2020.

The Scheme is available to employers from all sectors (except for the public service and non-commercial semi-state sector) who have lost a minimum of 25% of turnover because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Employers will have to make a declaration to Revenue confirming this.

The scheme is available for employers who keep staff on their payroll during the pandemic. Employees can be:

  • Temporarily not working (laid off)
  • Or on reduced hours and/or reduced pay.

The subsidy scheme will refund employers up to a maximum of €410 per each qualifying employee.

  • However, employers should pay no more than the normal take home pay of the employee.
  • The subsidy scheme applies to employers who top up employees’ wages and those that can’t do so.
  • Employers will then be reimbursed for amounts paid to employees and notified to Revenue via the payroll process.

For more information on the wage subsidy scheme please click on the link below:

It is important to stress to your clients that they should seek accounting, financial and legal advice prior to making any decision in relation to their business.

Again, we would like to thank you for your queries. Keep them coming to:


Kind Regards


Diarmuid Kelly


Brokers Ireland

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