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Coronavirus unemployment payment to rise to €350 per week and Government to pay 70pc of retained workers' salaries

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 Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and Health Minister Simon Harris. Photo: Frank Mcgrath

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and Health Minister Simon Harris. Photo: Frank Mcgrath

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and Health Minister Simon Harris. Photo: Frank Mcgrath

The emergency welfare payment for workers who have lost their jobs due to the coronavirus crisis will increase to €350 per week.

And in a significant new move the Government will also pay 70pc of employee wages up to €410 per week for businesses who are willing to meet the remainder of their staff’s weekly payment.

The measures are part of the Government’s on-going plan to limit the impact of the deadly virus on workers and employers as they prepare to announce more stringent social distancing rules.

Last week, the Government introduced the Covid-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment which was initially set at €203 per week.

However, the Cabinet today agreed to significantly increase the payment for those who are out of work due the Government’s demand that businesses close during the crisis.

The payment, which is available to employees and self-employed workers who are down income because of the coronavirus, will now increase to €350 per week.

The Government also announced a new payment for companies whose income has dropped by 25pc but still want to retain their staff.

In these cases, the State will pay 70pc of employee salaries up to €410 per week and the company will be asked to pay the remaining 30pc.

The new aid for businesses is in line with several other EU states where governments are introducing major stimulus packages to deal with the global pandemic.

In Britain, Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced a rescue package which would see the state pay 80pc of salaries up to €2,700 a month for workers who were retained in jobs Mr Johnson said the scheme will last for at least three months.

Meanwhile, The Irish Congress of Trade Unions (Ictu) has proposed a €1.7bn plan in which the State would pay 75pc of wages for three months, up to €40,000 of pay per worker.

Employers would contribute 25pc in a scheme that it said could be modeled on maternity benefit arrangements.

Ibec proposed that the Government funds at least 70pc of wages for 20 weeks for up to 500,000 workers at a cost of €4bn.

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