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More than 39,000 employers register for temporary wage subsidy scheme

A total of 87 million euro in wage refunds has been paid out by the Government to help workers left unemployed.

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Liz Canavan said the scheme is continuing to have a strong uptake (Brian Lawless/PA)

Liz Canavan said the scheme is continuing to have a strong uptake (Brian Lawless/PA)

Liz Canavan said the scheme is continuing to have a strong uptake (Brian Lawless/PA)

More than 39,000 employers have registered for the temporary wage subsidy scheme, it has been confirmed.

A total of 87 million euro in wage refunds has been paid out by the Government to help workers left unemployed because of the coronavirus crisis.

Liz Canavan, assistant secretary general at the Department of the Taoiseach, said the scheme is continuing to have a “strong uptake”.

The scheme is designed to help employers keep their staff by the Government paying a portion of their salary.

Speaking during Monday’s Government briefing, Ms Canavan said: “Today, Revenue has generated further refunds under the scheme worth 14 million euro, these payments will be in the bank accounts of the majority of the respective employers tomorrow.

“The cumulative value of payments made under the scheme is almost 87 million euro.”

A business support call centre has received 1,500 queries since it opened on March 13.

The support centre receives, on average, 55 calls a day, with the majority of queries relating to essential services including retail and online trading, as well as income supports and business and financial supports.

Ms Canavan also paid tribute to people working in essential services including those working in the food sector, pharmacies and people ensuring critical infrastructure is safe including electricity, gas, water, waste, transport, information and communications technology, and repair and maintenance.

She also said that further work is under way in direct provision centres to protect the health and welfare of asylum seekers and refugees.

Ms Canavan added: “Centres have been requested to generate onsite self-isolation capacity and as a further protection for all residents, some centres have been temporarily closed to visitors.

“Last week, we announced 650 new temporary hotel beds which have been procured following intensive negotiations by the Department of Justice within a very short space of time.

“These new beds are being used in a number of ways including to support the measures required for vulnerable residents, to provide offsite accommodation for self-isolation, and to help with social distancing measures by reducing the overall number in some existing centres.

“This increased capacity is a critical part of the overall strategy to protect residents.

“Further offsite self-isolation facilities are being examined on a regular basis as well.”

The Government said it has also helped 2,700 Irish citizens return home since the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Government is currently trying to help a further 2,000 citizens to return home.

Many are in small groups, but the majority are in Australia with a couple of hundred in New Zealand.

PA