State has paid €3.5bn so far in Covid-19 wage subsidies

Government supported 345,400 workers in 35,400 organisations in October

The State has paid €3.5 billion so far this year in wage subsidies to workers under schemes designed to maintain jobs through the Covid-19 crisis, according to Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe.

Official figures for last month show the Government paid 35,400 organisations with 345,400 staff a total of €358 million through the Employment Wage Subsidy Scheme (EWSS).

To date in November, 19,200 employers with 170,800 workers have received almost €80 million in wage supports.

Mr Donohoe described the EWSS as “central” to the Government’s response to the impact of Covid-19 restrictions on businesses.


“The total amount of payments made to date via wage subsidies now stands at over €3.5 billion,” the Minister said.


He added that the wage scheme was designed for businesses that would otherwise be viable, but continue to be hit by the pandemic. Mr Donohoe said he “encouraged” all eligible firms to apply for the support.

The October figures include the first week of the current Level 5 Covid-19 restrictions imposed by Government until the end of November.

These are the strictest precautions taken against the virus, involving the closure of “non-essential” shops, pubs, restaurants and other businesses.

More than 6,000 business have registered for the Covid Restrictions Support Scheme, launched earlier this month. The Revenue Commissioners are processing a further 1,800 applications.

The scheme is designed to support enterprises whose trade suffers when the Government imposes Level 3 or higher restrictions in its efforts to contain Covid-19’s spread.

Qualifying businesses can apply to Revenue for a cash payment against trading expenses while the restrictions are in force.

Businesses must show that the restrictions have cut their turnover to 25 per cent or less of their normal weekly sales in order to qualify for the aid.

Mr Donohoe said businesses’ use of both schemes highlighted their importance to organisations hit by pandemic restrictions.

Barry O'Halloran

Barry O'Halloran

Barry O’Halloran covers energy, construction, insolvency, and gaming and betting, among other areas