Covid -19 Financial Supports announced for the Self-employed

Covid -19  Financial Supports announced for the Self-employed

(Updated 8th September 2020) – Richard Marshall, Associate Director – Tax

As the Coronavirus protective measures adapt, workers are concerned about the impact the virus will have not just on their daily lives but on their ability to go to work, earn their living and pay bills. Here is a useful summary of the updated supports.


A number of Financial Supports have been announced…

  1. Covid-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment for the Self-Employed;
  2. Short Time Work Support;
  3. Enhanced Illness Benefit;
  4. Supports if you employ staff – Employment Wage Subsidy Scheme;
  5. Delayed Tax Payments;
  6. Funding Supports.


1. Covid-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment for the Self-Employed

The COVID-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment [PUP] is a social welfare payment for employees and self-employed people who have lost their employment due to the Covid-19 public health emergency and will remain open to new applicants until the end of 2020.

Those currently in receipt of PUP will continue to receive same but at a reduced rate of payment. The weekly rates from 17 September 2020, which are based on your average weekly earnings, are as follows –

Average Weekly Earning Rate
€300 or more per week €300
€200 to €300 per week €250
€199.99 or less per week €203


Some points to note –

  • The PUP will not be payable after 1 April 2021
  • If you do not qualify for PUP, the following supports may be claimable;
    • Jobseekers Benefit – available to employed and self-employed individuals
    • Short-Time Work Support – if you are working 3 days or less per week (See point 2 below)
    • Jobseekers Allowance – if you do not satisfy the conditions for Short-Time Work Support
    • Supplementary Welfare Allowances – if you are working more than 3 days per week (for example if you are working 5 mornings per week)
  • If you have dependents, you may get a higher payment if you apply for Jobseekers Benefit or Jobseekers Allowance instead of PUP
  • As PUP is a taxable payment, any tax due thereon will be calculated at the end of the tax year.




2. Short Time Work Support

What is it?

Short Time Work Support is a form of Jobseeker’s Benefit and is an income support payment if your contracted hours have been temporarily cut back.

The payment is made in respect of your regular income for the days that you are no longer working. For example, if your working week has been reduced from a 5 day work pattern to a 3 day work pattern, you can receive support for the other 2 days.

Short Time Work Support is paid for a maximum of 234 days. Your entitlement will depend on the number of social insurance contributions you have.

How to qualify

o qualify for Short Time Work Support, you must be:

  • temporarily working a standard reduced weekly work pattern
  • working 3 days or less per week having previously worked full-time
  • be under 66 years of age
  • be capable of work and be available for full-time work
  • have enough paid or credited social insurance (PRSI) contributions at class A, H, S or P. Self-employed Contractos typically pay class S PRSI.

Rate of Payment

Your rate of payment will depend on your average weekly earnings in the governing contribution year and the change in your work pattern. For example, if you are placed on a 3 day work pattern having previously worked 5 days, you may be entitled to up €81.20 for the 2 days you are no longer working. This represents two fifths of the maximum weekly rate of Jobseeker’s Benefit of €203.

You may also get an increased rate of payment for a qualified adult and qualified children.

Short Time Work Support is not taxable.

How to Apply

The quickest way to apply is through – however you must have a verified MyGovID account. You can also apply through your  local Intreo Centre or Social Welfare Branch Office.



3. Enhanced Illness Benefit

What is it?

When a worker is told to self-isolate by a doctor or has been diagnosed with COVID-19 (Coronavirus) by a doctor, they can apply for an enhanced Illness Benefit payment of €350 per week. This has been extended until 31 March 2021.

To be eligible for this payment a person must be confined to their home or a medical facility.

Do not visit your doctor. You must contact them by phone.

Important note: If a person decides to self-isolate without it being medically certified, they won’t be entitled to the payment or job seekers benefit.

Who Qualifies?

To receive the enhanced payment, you must be:

  • self-isolating on the instruction of a doctor or diagnosed with COVID-19 (Coronavirus)
  • be absent from work and confined to your home or a medical facility

Rates of payment

The personal rate for this payment is €350, as compared with the normal Illness Benefit rate of €203. It was originally set at a rate of €305 but it was increased by Government on March 24.

It will be paid for a maximum of 12 weeks where a person is self-isolating but will be paid for the duration of a person’s absence from work if they have been diagnosed with COVID-19 (Coronavirus).

How to Apply

Step 1

If you are an employee or self employed and feel you may be suffering from Covid-19 or may need to self-isolate, you should contact your doctor by telephone.

If the doctor is satisfied that you have Covid-19 or that you should self-isolate, they will advise you accordingly.

The doctor will then complete a medical certificate on your behalf and send this directly to the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection.

To receive a payment, you will need to provide your doctor with your:

  • Full name
  • PPS Number
  • Date of birth


Step 2

Complete an application form for Illness Benefit (Form IB1) which is available in any of the following ways;

  1. Call 1890 800 024 or 01 2481398 between 9.00am and 5.00pm Monday to Friday to get an application form by post;
  2. Ask someone to pick up a form at your doctor’s surgery or at your local Intreo Centre;
  3. Request a form to be posted to you by sending an email to;
  4. Apply online (an online application process will be available by the end of March). Stay updated here.

Note: It is important to complete part 5 of the Illness Benefit form as this contains how you would like to be paid. You don’t have to fill in part 7 of the form.


Step 3

Send your application form by Freepost to:
Social Welfare Services, PO Box 1650, Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection, Dublin 1.
Once both the application form and the medical certificate are received payment will be processed.



4. Supports if you employ Staff – Employment Wage Subsidy Scheme

The Employment Wage Subsidy Scheme [EWSS] replaces the Temporary Wage Subsidy Scheme [TWSS], which ended on 31 August 2020.

Where a company satisfies the eligibility criteria for EWSS (e.g. hold a valid tax clearance certificate, experience a 30% reduction in turnover between 1 July 2020 and 31 December 2020) they will;

  • need to register with Revenue to access the scheme
  • receive a flat rate subsidy payment based on the numbers of paid and eligible employees on the employer’s payroll
  • will benefit from an employer PRSI rate of 0.5% on wages paid which are eligible for the subsidy payment

The rate of payment per eligible employee is as follows –

Gross Weekly Wage Subsidy
Less than €151.50 No subsidy payable
Between €151.50 and €202.99 €151.50
Between €203 and €1,462 €203
More than €1,462 No subsidy payable

As EWSS applies to Proprietary Directors, Professional Contractors operating through their own personal limited company may be able to avail of the scheme if they satisfy all other conditions.



5. Delayed Tax Payments

  • Tax Debt Warehousing

At the outset of the COVID-19 public health emergency, the Irish Tax Authorities permitted businesses to defer the payment of certain VAT and Payroll Taxes.  This permission has now been formalised under the Tax Debt Warehousing Scheme.  In this scheme, businesses may freeze the payment of those debts for 12 months without incurring an interest exposure or payment being sought by the Authorities.  At the end of that 12-month period, business may then avail of reduced interest rate of 3% (instead of 10%) if they enter into a Phased Payment Plan.

All Small Medium Sized Business [SMEs] automatically qualify whereas larger companies need to seek formal approval from the Irish Tax Authorities.  In the coming weeks, the Irish Authorities plan to write to all businesses that they believe have tax debts to be warehoused.


  • Reduced Interest

Individuals or business with a tax debt owing to the Irish Authorities that are not covered by the Tax Debt Warehousing Scheme, have an opportunity to enter into a Phased Payment Plan by 30 September 2020.  By entering in to phased payment plan, they will be able to avail of a reduced interest rate of 3% (instead of 10%) and will have greater flexibility around the repayment period.




6. Funding Supports

The Irish Government have made available various funding supports to help business adapt and therefore facilitating them getting back on the road to recovery.  Supports include – Trading Online Voucher, Restart Grant for Enterprises, COVID-19 Credit Guarantee Scheme, Micro Finance Business Loans and more. Full details on all these schemes can be found here.


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