COVID-19 HABIC Update 18th Mar 2020

COVID-19 UPDATE 18/03/2020

posted in: COVID-19 Updates, HABIC

Important information for Employers and Business Owners.

Things are evolving so quickly at the minute that it is hard to keep up with the changes. It can all be a little bit overwhelming, so it is important to recognise this feeling, and to not let the feeling of fear, overpower you and paralyse you. Now is the time to be proactive and deal with the issues that could impact your business in the long run.

HABIC, in collaboration with other industry bodies, has been lobbying on your behalf. In a time of crisis the best power is through collaboration and the power of the collective. Through our colleagues at Irish SME Association (ISME) we have written to the Taoiseach requesting emergency supports for our sector.  This letter can be viewed HERE,

In the coming days HABIC and Image Skillnet will announce details of FREE, industry specific webinars, designed to help and support you through this tough time, please keep an eye on our newsfeed for more details on how to register.

In this newsletter you will find the following information:

  1. Details for the Employee Rebate Scheme for workers who have been temporarily laid off but are going to be paid the €203.00 per employee, per week.
  2. Information in regard to employees who have been placed on Short Time Support payment (i.e. – their days/hours have been reduced)
  3. Measures to support individuals and businesses impacted by COVID-19
  4. COVID-19 Government Action Plan
  5. Valuable Advice from the Fantastic Hairdresser; Three steps to survive a Coronavirus shutdown
  6. HR Support

For information and links for COVID-19 Unemployment payment, Business Continuity Plans, Resources, previous support measures announced and all other relevant information, please see our previous newsletters HERE.

Employee Refund Scheme (Source:

Full information from the Department of Employment Affair and Social Protection on the Employee Refund can be found HERE 
Full information on the Employee Refund Scheme from Revenue can be found HERE

Important points to note:

  • In order to ensure workers who have child and adult dependants receive their full entitlements, these individuals will be asked to apply for Jobseeker’s Benefit via the online portal
  • No other payments are made by the employer to the employee for the applicable week(s) and all temporarily laid off employees receive the €203 per week.
  • Revenue will credit the employer bank account for payroll submissions received before 2:00 PM each day.  Depending on the individual bank, the refund should be with the employer on the next banking day.
  • If the employee(s) resume employment with the employer, or obtains other supports from DEASP, or secures employment elsewhere, the employer will not include the employee(s) concerned in future submissions.
  • Based on the information provided in payroll submissions, Revenue will credit €203 per employee per week to the employer’s bank account recorded in ROS.  The credit will include the reference COVID Employer Refund. (The main identifiers include Employer Number Gross Pay of €0.01, J9 PRSI class, Pay Frequency and Employee PPSN, Employment ID).

Who does the scheme apply to?

  • Employers who have temporarily laid off staff as a result of the impact on their business of the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic
  • Employers that keep their staff on payroll and have not ceased the employee(s) with Revenue
  • Employees for whom a payroll submission was made by the employer in the period from 1 February 2020 to 15 March 2020
  • Employers that are unable to make top-up payments over and above the emergency payment of €203 per week.

Employee Refund Scheme Overview

Recently, the Minister announced the implementation of exceptional measures to enable workers who are temporarily laid off claim a special COVID-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment of €203 per week.  

In addition to minimising the demand on the processing capacity of the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection this approach would, critically, help maintain the link between employers and workers and make the return to work more seamless.
In support of this approach the Minister also stated that the department would introduce a refund scheme for employers who kept workers on their payroll during the period of a temporary lay-off.

The approach to this refund scheme has now been agreed. Revenue has come forward and offered to implement the refund system on the department’s behalf. The Minister wishes to acknowledge the support of the Revenue Commissioners as it will help speed up the refund process and reduce the need for employers to rely on short-term finance.

Under the arrangement developed with Revenue, employers who have to temporarily lay-off staff and who are not in a position to make any wage payment to them, are asked to keep their employees on the payroll and pay them an amount of €203 – the equivalent of the COVID-19 Support Payment. When they submit payroll returns to Revenue via their payroll provider, Revenue will refund the employer the €203.

Employee Refund Update (Source;

 Revenue has worked closely with DEASP to provide an option for employers to make this payment to their employees through the normal payroll process. The amounts paid to employees under the scheme are not subject to tax, USC or PRSI.

Employers are encouraged to facilitate employees by operating the scheme. The amounts paid to employees and notified to Revenue will then be transferred into the employer’s bank account by Revenue. This reimbursement will, in general, be made on a ‘next day’ basis. It will ensure a speedy payment process for employees and minimise the hardship for employees who are temporarily laid off. Refunds of income tax or USC that an employee may be entitled to because of being laid off will also be administered by the employer, and will be repaid (to the employer) through the scheme.

The scheme can be operated for all employees for whom a payroll submission was made by the employer in the period from 1 February 2020 to 15 March 2020. Where employees have already been laid off and their employer has ceased their employment, they can apply directly to DEASP for the payment.

Short Time Work Support / Reduced Days/hours (Source;

Full information, guidance documents and application forms for Short Time Work Support can be found HERE

If you have employees, who are still on your payroll but have been place on a reduced working week, then these employees should apply for what is known as a “Short Time Work Support” payment to help support their income on the days they are not working.

What is Short Time Work Support?

Short-time Work Support is a form of Jobseeker’s Benefit and is an income support payment if you have been temporarily placed on a shorter working week.

The payment is made in respect of your regular salary 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.
To qualify for Short-time Work Support, you must satisfy the two main PRSI Conditions for Jobseeker’s Benefit
Employees must work 3 days per week or less to qualify, having previously been employed on a full time basis.

Minister Donohoe outlines measures to support individuals and businesses impacted by COVID-19 (Source;

For full information on measures announced, please see HERE.

The Minister for Finance and Public Expenditure & Reform, Paschal Donohoe TD, today (Wednesday) welcomed the ongoing work of the Central Bank of Ireland, Banking and Payments Federation Ireland (BPFI), and the Revenue Commissioners to support customers in difficulties due to COVID-19.

Support for bank borrowers

The banking sector’s coordinated approach to supporting customers whose income has been impacted by COVID-19 is to be welcomed. The range of supports proposed by the BPFI, and to be discussed with the Central Bank, are customer focused so as to cater for the different impacts of COVID-19 on each individual customer.
These proposals include:

  • flexible arrangements, including a payment break for mortgages and other loans. Customers affected by COVID-19 must contact their bank to discuss the flexibility available to them, including the possibility of a payment break of up to 3 months
  • support for buy-to-let bank customers with tenants affected by COVID 19 – customers with rental property in which the tenants are adversely impacted by COVID-19 will also be provided with flexibility including with an opportunity to seek a payment break of up to 3 months, which will allow them to exercise due levels of forbearance to their tenants
  • extensive supports for SME customers – banks are working to ensure a wide range of credit, cash flow and supply chain supports are offered to businesses who are trying to manage the pressures arising from COVID-19. A deferral of up to 3-months on loan repayments will be of assistance to many businesses
  • in addition, the banks are adopting a customer-focused approach to these businesses with a wide variety of tailored supports including extensions of credit lines, risk guarantees, and trade finance

These supports complement the range of Government supports available through the Strategic Banking Corporation of Ireland.

Government Releases National Action Plan for COVID-19 (source;

 Full details on the Action plan can be downloaded HERE

The Cabinet Committee on COVID-19 has approved a National Action Plan. The plan has been prepared following involvements from all departments and key agencies.
Its main aims are to:

  • minimise the risk of people becoming unwell
  • minimise the health, wellbeing and social impact for people who may be at greater risk
  • reduce the economic and social disruption associated with the COVID-19 outbreak

Valuable Advice from the Fantastic Hairdresser; Three steps to survive a Coronavirus shutdown (Source; The Fantastic Hairdresser)

Industry Expert Alan Austin Smith offers invaluable advice in his most recent blog post which can be readHERE 

This post is well worth taking the time to read, Alan looks at these three points

Alan Austin-Smith and Carolyn Field have over 35 years of experience in the salon industry, from their early days at Sassoons through to successful careers as creative hairdressers, educators, salon owners and in Alan’s case; 8 years with L’Oreal, before forming the leading business education company in the UK Salon Industry.

With a customer list that includes Trevor Sorbie, Michael Van Clarke, HOB, Rainbow Room, Clipso, Headmasters, Toni & Guy, Brooks & Brooks, Hooker & Young, Umberto Giannini, Wella, Aveda, Goldwell and Alfaparf, not to mention the vast amount of ‘normal’ fantastic salons out there that we work with on an ongoing basis, it’s easy to trust that The Fantastic Hairdresser gets real results!

HR Support

HR Expert, Caroline McEnery from the HR Suite, will be hosting a Free Webinar
on Thursday the 19th of March from 1pm -1.45pm, click HERE to Join.

Caroline has also been posting regular video updates to provide employers with clear information on their legal requirements during this tough time.  These video are available on Instagram HERE  and Facebook HERE

How can HABIC support YOU?

If there is additional information or assistance the you require at this time, please post in the comment box below and we will endeavour to address your query. #HABICtogether

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