Press Release

SIPTU supports new wage compensation scheme and increase in COVID-19 emergency payment

Date Released: 24 March 2020

SIPTU General Secretary, Joe Cunningham, has welcomed the Government’s wage subsidy scheme which was announced today (Tuesday, 24th March) and is intended to retain workers in employment.

Under the scheme, an employer will receive a subsidy of 70% in respect of an employee’s net wage, up to €38,000 per annum. The scheme is intended to continue for a 12-week period although further details have yet to be provided. The latest government proposals also include an increase from €203 to €350 per week in the COVID-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment.

Joe Cunningham said: “The Government’s announcement will go a long way towards protecting employment and businesses during this emergency. It will provide security for workers and help ensure the economy will be in a strong position to recover once this public health crisis is over.”

“SIPTU and the Irish Congress of Trade Unions have been calling for the introduction of such a scheme. While we await further details, the outline announced by the Government today is consistent with what we have been seeking.

“In particular, it has the capacity to keep employers and employees connected, which means that once the emergency has passed, the economy will be in a stronger position to recover. While we would have preferred the scheme to be extended to workers who have been temporarily laid off, the increase in the Pandemic Unemployment Payment is to be welcomed. We will be seeking clarification as to whether this increase will also apply to Jobseekers payments.”

“We are calling on employers to engage positively with this scheme so that workers and the economy receive its potential benefits.  We also call on employers to work with their employees and their trade union representatives to ensure maximum participation.”


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