Government supports for COVID-19 impacted businesses
Financial supports, training and guidance to help your business mitigate the impact of COVID-19 and work safely.
The COVID-19 Income Support Scheme provides financial support to Irish workers and businesses affected by the crisis.
- Employment Wage Subsidy Scheme: The Employment Wage Subsidy Scheme (EWSS), provides a flat-rate subsidy to qualifying employers based on the numbers of eligible employees on the employer’s payroll.
- COVID-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment: The Pandemic Unemployment Payment is available to employees and the self-employed who lost their job due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The scheme closed to new applicants on 22 January 2022.
- Short-time Work Support: Employees of businesses that need to reduce hours or days worked can avail of the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection Short-time Work Support.
Loans, grants, vouchers and schemes
- COVID-19 Credit Guarantee Scheme: The COVID-19 Credit Guarantee Scheme facilitates up to €2 billion in lending to eligible businesses. Loans under the Scheme range from €10,000 to €1 million, for terms of up to five and a half years. Financing will be offered through a range of products, including term loans and working capital loans. The Scheme is operated by the Strategic Banking Corporation of Ireland (SBCI) through participating finance providers.
- COVID-19 Business Loans: COVID-19 Business Loans up to €25,000 are available through Microfinance Ireland with zero repayments and zero interest for the first 6 months. The loans can range from €5,000 to €25,000. The interest rate after the first 6 months will be a reduced interest rate 4.5% APR if submitted through the Local Enterprise Office Network (or other referral partners) or 5.5% APR if you apply directly to Microfinance Ireland.
- COVID-19 Working Capital Scheme: The SBCI COVID-19 Working Capital Scheme for eligible businesses supports loans from €25,000 up to €1.5 million (first €500,000 unsecured) with a maximum interest rate of 4%.
- Future Growth Loan Scheme: The enhanced Future Growth Loan Scheme makes up to €800 million of loans available for terms of 7-10 years. This scheme is available to eligible businesses in Ireland, including those in the primary agriculture (farmers) and seafood sectors, to support strategic long-term investment.
- Pandemic Stabilisation and Recovery Fund: The Ireland Strategic Investment Fund will focus on investment in medium and large scale enterprises in Ireland through a Pandemic Stabilisation and Recovery Fund. The fund, worth up to €2 billion, will make capital available to medium and large enterprises on commercial terms.
- General grant supports: The full range of Enterprise Ireland, IDA Ireland, Local Enterprise Office and Údarás na Gaeltachta grant supports continue to be available to eligible firms to help with strategies to access finance, commence or ramp-up online trading activity, reconfigure business models, cut costs, innovate, diversify markets and supply chains and to improve competitiveness.
- COVID Restrictions Support Scheme: The COVID Restrictions Support Scheme (CRSS) offers support to businesses forced to close or trade at significantly reduced levels as a result of restrictions imposed on them in response to COVID-19. Eligible businesses can make a claim to Revenue for a payment known as an Advance Credit for Trading Expenses (ACTE).
- Enterprise Support Grant: The Enterprise Support Grant for businesses impacted by COVID-19 is available for eligible self-employed people who close their COVID-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment. This will provide business owners with a grant of up to €1,000 to restart their business which was closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Trading Online Voucher: The Local Enterprise Office Trading Online Voucher scheme is a government grant, designed to assist small businesses with up to 10 employees. It offers financial assistance of up to €2,500 along with training and advice to help businesses trade online. Businesses that have already received a Trading Online Voucher can apply for a second voucher, where upgrades are required.
- LEAN for Micro: LEAN for Micro is available to Local Enterprise Office clients to help build resilience within small companies. Businesses can avail of consultancy support with a LEAN Expert or help to implement new remote working and physical distancing guidelines. Contact your Local Enterprise Office for further details.
- COVID-19 Business Financial Planning Grant: The COVID-19 Business Financial Planning Grant, worth up to €5,000, is designed to help eligible companies to develop a robust financial plan, including the preparation of documentation required to support applications for external finance from banks and/or other finance providers.
- E-merge programme: InterTradeIreland’s E-Merge programme provides £2,500/€2,800 fully-funded consultancy support to help businesses develop online sales and eCommerce solutions.
- Code of Conduct for commercial rents: A voluntary Code of Conduct between landlords and tenants for commercial rents has been developed to facilitate discussions between landlords and tenants impacted by COVID-19.
- COVID-19 Products Scheme: As a direct response to the global pandemic, the COVID-19 Products Scheme enables targeted State support for research and production of COVID-19 related products in Ireland.
Rates waiver and tax measures
- Commercial rates waiver: The Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage provides details on the commercial rates waiver.
- ‘Warehousing’ of deferred tax debts: The scheme, administered by Revenue, will ‘warehouse’ VAT and PAYE (Employer) debts associated with the COVID-19 crisis.
- VAT rate reduction from 13.5% to 9%: A VAT rate reduction from 13.5% to 9% applies from 1 November 2020 in recognition of the unprecedented challenges facing the hospitality and tourism sector.
- Advice for taxpayers and agents: Revenue’s COVID-19 information and advice for taxpayers and agents provides information on Revenue services and tax and customs measures in place during the COVID-19 pandemic including information on tax returns and interest suspension arrangements.
Sector-specific supports and guidance
- Food, drink and horticulture sector: Bord Bia’s COVID-19 hub offers a suite of supports and toolkits for food, drink and horticulture businesses affected by COVID-19.
- Tourism and hospitality sector: The Fáilte Ireland COVID-19 Business Support Hub is targeting its supports for tourism and hospitality businesses and includes sectoral operational guidelines tailored to specific tourism and hospitality sectors.
- Live Performance Support Schemes: The Live Performance Support Schemes include the €20 million Live Performance Support Scheme 3 and the €5 million seasonal musical theatre and pantomime scheme.
- Tourism, arts, culture and sports sectoral guidance: The COVID-19 sectoral guidance from the Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media provides targeted information for the sectors it supports.
Skills and training supports
The government offers a range of initiatives for reskilling and upskilling to help businesses. For details on the range of supports visit COVID-19: Skills and training supports for businesses.
Work Safely Protocol
The Work Safely Protocol sets out the minimum Public Health infection prevention and control measures required in every place of work to prevent and reduce the spread of COVID-19 following temporary closures and in the ongoing safe operation of workplaces.
The HSA Work Safely online courses includes a course to help understand the Protocol requirements and a course for those appointed Lead Worker Representative.
Templates and checklists
The HSA COVID-19 templates and checklists – based on the Protocol – have been prepared to inform employers, business owners, managers and workers about what they need to do to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 in the workplace.
The Data Protection – Work Safely Protocol guidance document has been prepared to assist in providing clarification where the measures set out in the Work Safely Protocol may result in the processing of personal data.
- Working remotely: Guidance on working remotely for employers and employees seeking to engage with remote working solutions.
- HSA advice for employers and employees: HSA advice and guidance for employers and employees including COVID-19 FAQs.
- NSAI guidance: The NSAI’s COVID-19 resources offers specific workplace, retail and shopping centre business guides with practical guidance on how to manage business continuity during COVID-19. The NSAI also provide technical resources including requirements for barrier masks and guidance on manufacturing and importing PPE and medical devices.
- ReBound – Back to Business. Safely: The Skillnet Ireland ReBound initiative offers guidance to SME owners and managers on implementing the Work Safely Protocol.
Posters and graphics
Posters, leaflets and other resources for use in workplaces and communities:
Contact our Enterprise Information Centre
Contact the Enterprise Information Centre for information on the government supports available to businesses and enterprises.
Tel: +353 1 631 2002
Occupational Health and Safety Helpline
For information on workplace health and safety please contact the Occupational Health and Safety Helpline.
Tel: 0818 289 389 or (01) 614 7000
COVID-19 related prevention and recovery measures in the workplace
For support in relation to improving your COVID-19 related prevention and recovery measures in the workplace, contact the NSAI COVID-19 helpline.
Tel: (01) 807 3800
For more information, advice and guidelines from across government visit gov.ie/covid19.