Thousands of workers are set to get an increase in the €203 a week emergency coronavirus payment as part of a new income support package during the pandemic.
Sources said the Government is about to announce a "substantial" hike in the Covid-19 social protection payment and is considering a subsidy for employers to keep staff on their payroll.
They said the details of the package were still under discussion yesterday.
One of the options being examined was subsidising wages by up to 80pc.
Workers who face losing their jobs or who have already been laid off will benefit from the supports that are expected to be signed off by Cabinet today.
McDonald's, Subway and Krispy Kreme were among the latest businesses to announce they were shutting their doors as closures continued across the country.
Pressure mounted on the Government to roll out a comprehensive income support scheme after the British government announced it would fund up to 80pc of salaries for workers who were retained in jobs, up to €2,700 a month. The scheme will last for at least three months.
Ministers have been involved in a race against time to come up with a workable scheme as the threat posed by the virus to the economy grows.
Employers fear they face insolvency if they are hit by an avalanche of redundancy payment claims by workers who are legally entitled to seek them after being laid off for between four and six weeks if work is not guaranteed.
Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe has said he accepted the €203 per week pandemic unemployment payment is not enough for many workers.
He said the Government needed to do something really quickly for those who risk losing their jobs.
Senior Government sources said a number of options had been examined at talks to find "the easiest and most effective" measures.
Concerns were raised that a flat rate subsidy like €500 a week, for example, would mean some staff could end up with higher wages than they would normally get.
But others argued that setting up a scheme based on a portion of wages is complicated and would take longer to roll out.
The Irish Congress of Trade Unions 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 modelled 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.
In a letter to the Taoiseach, general secretary of Ictu, Patricia King, urged him to immediately intervene and put "much more ambitious measures" in place.
"An estimated 140,000 workers have already been laid off over the past week or so and business representatives are talking of a further 200,000 or so being laid off over the coming days," she said.
"This could bring us in a matter of weeks close to the total number of jobs lost in the first two-and-a-half years of the post-2008 crash."
She said a household of two adults and one child with a single income between €45,000 to €50,000 could see a fall of nearly two-thirds in their after-tax income.
She noted that in Denmark, a temporary wage compensation scheme for companies with employees at risk of lay-off had been introduced.
Economist Tom McDonnell, of NERI, said although the Ictu wage subsidy scheme sounds expensive, it represents around 1pc of GDP and would not significantly increase the cost of borrowing.
"If we can come out the other side with those employees working and all organisational structures and supply chains intact, you can basically restart the economy in June and July, with the same productive capacity, and not have to go through a recession," he said.
Adrian Cummins, of the Restaurants Association of Ireland, said the Government needs to put a package in place urgently as the vast majority of small employers don't have the cash flow to make redundancy payments.