Getting through COVID-19

Budget 2021 has put a major focus on Protecting Jobs and Incomes and on helping people to access training and new career opportunities. A new scheme supports enterprises closed by Level 3 Covid restrictions.

Helping People with Work and Study

  • The Pandemic Unemployment Payment will be open to new applicants until the end of 2020. From 27th Oct the payment will be €350 (where people previously earned over €400), €300 (previously earned €300-€400), €250 (previously earned €200-€300) and €203 (previously earned under €200). This revised scheme will run to the end of January 2021. Self-employed may earn up to €480 per month without affecting their PUP entitlement.
  • Short Time Work Support: If your employer has reduced your working week to 1-3 days from 5 days you can claim the daily rate of Jobseekers Benefit (€40.60) for the days which you have lost (plus the daily rate for an adult or child dependent if this applies).
  • A major plan for 80,000 new career opportunities is available for those out of work. It includes:
    • 8,000 on Jobsplus, a €7,500 subsidy to employers to recruit any unemployed person aged under 30 with no waiting time, (for other age categories there continues to be a 12 month unemployment test to qualify).
    • 10,000 on a Work Placement Scheme offering 30 hours per week with employers who offer training and mentoring for those unemployed or on PUP for at least 6 months, and €1,000 towards any training approved by an Intreo case officer.
  • Over 50,000 on Education / Training Programmes, Springboard, Post Graduate, Apprenticeships, Back to Education, Shorter Skills Courses and Skillnet, plus 3,000 extra on Community Employment.
  • Third Level Grant: SUSI provides grants for PLC, Diploma and Undergraduate Degree courses in approved colleges in Ireland and the EU. It is subject to a means test and your parents income is counted if you are under 23 or not living independently of your parents from 1st Oct of the year before entry. For students starting (in Autumn 2021) the grant is:
  • The maintenance payments are higher if your college is over 45 kilometres from your home (€5,915 (Special Rate), €3,025 (Standard Rate)). To qualify for the Special Rate, one of those whose income is being assessed must be on Working Family Payment or a long-term Social Welfare payment. For each additional family member in college, about €4,700 is added to the means-tests. Post Graduate study grants towards fees up to €6,270 and maintenance are only available on the Special Rate. For others up to €54,240 a fee grant of up to €3,500 applies for Post Graduates.
  • Back to Education Allowance allows you retain your Social Welfare Payment if you are undertaking a full time course leading to a recognised certificate, but it cannot be at a level you have previously completed, and for jobseekers the course must be approved by Intreo. The waiting period before eligibility has been suspended for those on PUP.

Help for Business to Protect Jobs

  • Employment Wage Subsidy Scheme (EWSS): will run until 31.3.2021, and cover all employees earning at least €150/week. The subsidy will be e203/week for those earning at least €203/week and €150/week earning less than that. At a minimum the employee must be paid this amount. The qualifying condition is that the business’ turnover is down at least 30% in the second half of this year. Any employee underpayment of tax on the earlier Temporary WSS can be repaid over 4 years, starting in 2022.
  • Restart Grants from your Local Authority equal your rates bill for last year subject to a minimum €4,000 and a maximum €25,000. For Self-Employed who were on PUP, or enterprises not eligible, a €1,000 grant is available.
  • CRSS: Enterprises enduring Level 3 Covid Restrictions and operating at no more than 20% of last year’s turnover can qualify for an advance tax credit on trading expenses of up to 10% turnover up to a maximum of €5,000 per week until March 2021.
  • A subsidy of €2,000 for any employer who takes on an Apprentice between March 2020 and end June 2021, and a further €1,000 after 12 months.

New Incentives for Families

  • Stay and Spend: A 20% tax credit against income tax or USC can be obtained on receipts for over €25 in value, for expenditure of up to €625(single), €1,250(couple) on accommodation and food (excl alcoholic drink) spent between 1.10.2020 and 30.04.2021. An App for real time claims is available. Domestic travel will depend on which level is in place. For further information regarding Level 5 restrictions please visit
  • Bike to Work: Permitted spending on a new bike is increased to €1,250, and e-bikes are now covered up to €1,500. Participating employers purchase the bike and employees pay back, over 12 months with no income tax, PRSI or USC. A new purchase is permitted every 4 years.

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