I want to update you on a number of announcements made by Government over the past 72 hours which may help your business to deal with the coronavirus crisis.
Dublin Chamber was campaigning hard last week for a suspension of commercial rates for affected businesses, and for the Government to lift its restrictions on the Covid-19 Employer Refund Scheme. There is some good news on both of these fronts - details of which you can read below.
We have put together a Covid-19 Social Welfare Factsheet for businesses and employees, which outlines the main points. You should also continue to check the regularly-updated information zone on the Dublin Chamber website which includes links to important information from trusted sources.
As you will see in your inbox, Dublin Chamber today sent you a new survey through which we aim to quantify how business conditions have changed over the past two weeks. Please take 2 minutes to fill out the survey. Your feedback will help us to provide Government with an accurate picture of the latest situation on the ground and to make the case for more support where it is needed. You will find the survey here.
Employer Refund Scheme
On Friday evening, the Government announced that employers who have ceased trading due to the pandemic, but who retain their staff and continue to pay them above the €203 jobseeker’s rate, will be eligible for the Covid-19 Employer Refund Scheme. This followed strong representations by the Chamber last week on behalf of the many businesses excluded by its original terms. Thanks to all members who got in touch with us on this issue. The details of the Refund scheme are being finalised. However businesses are assured that they can continue to pay staff and any claims will be backdated. Information for employers, including on the refund, can be found here.
You may have heard Dublin Chamber in the media last week, calling for urgent relief from commercial rates for businesses impacted by the pandemic. Minister Eoghan Murphy announced on Friday that he and the Local Authorities have agreed they should defer rates payments due from the most immediately impacted businesses – primarily in the retail, leisure, hospitality, and childcare sectors – until the end of May. Dublin City Council have committed to dealing sympathetically with companies under pressure. If you need to defer your rates payments, you are encouraged to contact to your local council.
The Microfinance Ireland Covid-19 loan is now available with an option for a moratorium on interest and repayments for the first six months. Any micro-enterprise, i.e. a business with less than 10 employees and an annual turnover of up to €2m, may apply for this loan package. Read the details here.
Thanks to all who have got in touch with us over recent days. Your feedback and questions are vital and will guide us in working on your behalf during this difficult time. Remember, the team can be reached at any time via firstname.lastname@example.org.
We look forward to sharing our survey results with you later this week. We will also be in touch over the coming days if there are any further Government updates to share with you.
Mary Rose Burke
CEO | Dublin Chamber