Ask A Broadsheet Reader


Covid-19 unemployment payment form

This morning.

Further to Michael Taft’s column on the political economy of the coronavirus

Broadsheet commenter Wearnicehats (see comments) has two questions about the Covid Pandemic Unemployment Payment.

The payment of €203 per week for six weeks, via employers who will later be refunded by the State, was announced earlier this week for anyone who has lost their job or who has had their hours reduced due to the coronavirus.

Wearnicehats writez:

I’m still a bit in the dark about this supposed scheme to get employers to pay the emergency payments. I’ve looked on the website etc and it says that the staff member needs to fill out this form and return it by post and then apply for jobseekers within 6 weeks

Now the form that they have to fill out states that they need to confirm that the employer is not paying them, give all their bank details etc.

My question is two-fold, should the employer wish to pay:

1. How do the DEASP know to pay the money to the employer, not the applicant.

2. What happens if the employer pays the money from week 1 but the applicant doesn’t apply for jobseekers within the 6 weeks?

I’ve spoken to a few employers who would like to do their bit but don’t actually understand how this works so aren’t mad keen on doing so given that they need to hang on to cash at the minute, especially as most SMEs will be at the mercy of their landlords as to whether or not they will have to maintain rent payments.


Previously: €203 A Week For Up To Six Weeks

Earlier: Michael Taft: The Political Economy Of The Coronavirus

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17 thoughts on “Ask A Broadsheet Reader

    1. wearnicehats

      “Supposed” – generally assumed or believed to be the case, but not necessarily so.

      It’s a supposed scheme as far as I am concerned. Explain otherwise .

  1. George

    SMEs aren’t at the mercy of landlords. They should stop paying the rent and prioritise making payments to staff if it is a choice between one or the other.

    We are not going to see thousands of evictions of businesses by landlords who won’t be able to find new tenants anyway. Pay your staff tell the landlord they’ll have to wait.

    1. wearnicehats

      Helpful advice – breach your lease agreement and be damned. Understand something – the employer is under no obligation to pay staff on lay-off. The DEASP do that. These are employers who beseeched the government not to raise the VAT rate. Nope. Beseeched them to do something about commercial rates. Nope. They are now asking the same employers to lend a hand. Explain the scheme to me and them and maybe they will.

      1. George

        Anyone paying the rent instead of the staff would want to take a good hard look at themselves.

  2. Listrade

    You know how we waited for a perfect solution to health and homelessness, never got one and it just got worse? This is the opposite and it’s the right thing.

    We don’t know if there will be double claims or fraud, right now they don’t care. It’s a bit like the honour box of chocolates in offices, they mostly work, it someone always cheats. But we’re not going to punish the thousands who are going onto temporary layoff, isolation and quarantine (where no sickness). Instead it’s simple, out of work and not paid? This is what you get. One ask is that employers who have to go into temporary lay off pay at least this much to employees as part of normal pay and the claim back.

    It’s a bit of a risk, what can they do? Just the jobs in pubs, clubs and restaurants would be too much to process individually and get money into people’s pockets so they can survive.

    So we take a risk and have an honour system. Most employers are ok with it, some are doing all they can to pay on top of the welfare. The department is rightly allowing technical breaches of the legislation to go through. Don’t ask, don’t tell.

    There’s loads of complications from employment, welfare and business law. The message is good in keep people in work and paid as much as you can (we won’t mind if you lose records of the hours people on visas worked past their 20hrs) and let’s see where we are in 6 weeks.

    For some employers, without income, the 6 weeks covering the minimum is too much. They’d be bankrupt before then. That’s ok, those employees can apply themselves, those who can pay, please do.

    There’s loads of questions about this and effects on employment and social welfare. We have employees who work part time and have said they will support us full time, but are worried about losing their social welfare in the future (will they be judged as available to work and lose all payments?) Department have been great, just let them work. What goes on in Coronavirus stays in Coronavirus.

    So to answer you questions. Don’t know, don’t care. Extraordinary times need extraordinary measures and they won’t be perfect. But most people are decent.

    Your employer will tell you if they will pay when they announce temporary lay off (without statutory notice period, another rule we’ve had to pretend doesn’t exist) or they will direct you to the Department info saying you need to process your own claim.

    Either way you get something. It’s not a lot, but despite the real big corporations, it’s all we can do.

    Worry about the details later

      1. Listrade

        Ok, it’s easier to speak to the Department with your queries as they have been very open and approachable, however:

        1. How do the DEASP know to pay the money to the employer, not the applicant – they don’t. They aren’t worrying about that at the moment. If you claim, you’ll probably get paid. Employers submit their claim at end of six weeks for staff they paid. After that there may be some checking and the chasing people for refunds. There might not.

        2. What happens if the employer pays the money from week 1 but the applicant doesn’t apply for jobseekers within the 6 weeks? – Why is the individual applying if being paid by their employer? It’s paid by one or the other.

        1. Clampers Outside

          Well said on both comments Listrade.

          I’d like to add…

          DEASP can see your wages from an employer.
          Its been that way for a long time.

          For example, if you were on the dole, and then start a job without informing the DEASP, the DEASP get a ping of sorts saying ‘X’ PPSN is receiving a wage with ‘Y’ employer, and the mount is known.

          I’m sure somehow this can be used to note who gets money from an employer or not, including the amount.

          And this can be used to calculate how much to repay the employer later, should that be the case.

  3. George

    Pay your staff and claim it back when the procedures are in place. This is an emergency. Tell the landlord they’ll have to wait as there is a pandemic. I’m sure they’ve heard about it in the news.

    Good luck to them trying to take a business to court over non-payment of rent during a pandemic it’s not going to happen. Show some back-bone and stop whinging.

    1. wearnicehats

      I’m just trying to clear up some confusion. I’ve all the information I need to form an opinion on you anyway. Go back and play with Zippy & Bungle

  4. Ronan

    Where does it state this is paid by employers? I think it’s pretty clear. If an employer can afford to pay this amount to staff who are out of work, they do so and claim it back via a separate refund scheme. If they can’t, then the unemployed worker claims it with this form. Hence there’s no need for anyone to try to determine whether to pay it to the employee or the employer. This form is for payments to employees who didn’t get it from their employer. If you do get it from your employer, you don’t fill in this form and down the road the employer will be refunded, probably via a totally different form.

  5. wearnicehats

    Ok so thanks Ronan – finally some insight. I wasn’t suggesting that it’s paid by Employers (people don’t read), I was just trying to understand the process.

    So, if the website was to be re-written for old people like me it would say something like

    “The emergency payment is €203 per employee per week for a max of 6 weeks. So, for example, if you have 10 eligible employees this is a maximum potential outlay of €12180

    “If you feel that you can afford to pay your Employee’s payments on behalf of the DEASP then tell your staff NOT to fill out the DEASP form until such a time that you are unable to meet the payments.

    The reason for the caveat at the end there is that, to an employer with the small matter of going out of business, €12k probably seems a lot but presumably you could do it for the first week or so and see how things were going with sorting out your commercial rent, utilities, etc (George up there will do it for you – he’s an expert) and, if was proving too daunting a prospect then you could tell your staff to go down the DEASP route after week 1 or 2.

    The website states that The Minister explained that refunds will take some time to process but in the meantime the Banks will provide working capital finance in the form of overdrafts or short-term loans to cover costs. I mentioned this to a bank guy the other day and he didn’t know anything about it

    It might be a possibility that, rather than refunding the money. an option could be to offset against P30 & VAT liabilities January and February which might be more interesting to some people

    Most staff in the hospitality industry are paid a back-week anyway and have a few days holiday built up at this stage so that can give an Employer a few days to catch their breath

    1. George

      “finally some insight”! This is the comments section of Are you lost?

      Pay it for as many weeks as you can, don’t if you can’t pay it but if you are choosing between commercial rent and paying your people you know which one you should be choosing. You will get whatever you pay back.

      1. wearnicehats

        I was a little lost but Ronan helped to clear it up while you were doing your homework

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