COVID-19 Key Questions and Answers

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COVID-19 Key Questions and Answers

Posted: 15th April 2020

Updated 15th April 2020

1. Fís Éireann/Screen Ireland Operations

Fís Éireann/Screen Ireland staff in both the Dublin and Galway offices will work remotely for the immediate future. With a business continuity plan in place, the agency expects day-to-day operations to continue as normal wherever possible.

2. Application Deadlines

All funding application deadlines currently still apply, and are as set out on the Screen Ireland website.

3. Projects currently in Development or Production

All normal procedures continue to apply in respect of payment of invoices. Normal documentation, as set out in your funding contract, should be provided to facilitate any payments which will be processed on a weekly basis as normal.

Payments and invoices outside of production and development funding will also be processed as normal.

4. Projects due to go into production in April or May

Please stay in contact with your assigned Project Manager. Projects are being reviewed and assessed on a case-by-case basis with our co-financiers.

5. Government Financial Supports

The Government has announced a number of measures to provide financial support to employers and employees affected by the COVID-19 crisis.

a. COVID-19 PANDEMIC UNEMPLOYMENT PAYMENT

An emergency payment of €350 per week was introduced by the Government for a 12 week and is intended to compensate workers whose employers cannot retain them on their payroll. The payment will also be made to those who are self-employed. Further information can be found at https://www.gov.ie/en/publication/eca524-covid-19-information-for-employees/

b. ENHANCED ILLNESS BENEFIT PAYMENT FOR COVID-19 ABSENCES

When a worker is told to self-isolate by a doctor or the HSE or has been diagnosed with COVID-19 (Coronavirus) by a doctor, they can apply for an enhanced Illness Benefit payment. Further information can be found at https://www.gov.ie/en/publication/eca524-covid-19-information-for-employees/

c. TEMPORARY COVID-19  WAGE SUBSIDY SCHEME

Provides for employers to pay their employees during the current pandemic. Employers will be refunded up to 70 percent of an employee’s nett (after tax) wages. Further information can be found at revenue.ie.

Revenue have also issued updated guidance on the scheme in the form of FAQs here.

d. SHORT-TIME WORK SUPPORT

Workers who are put on short-time working by their employer due to a reduction in business activity related to COVID-19 may apply for a Short Time Work Support payment – further information on this payment is available at https://www.gov.ie/en/service/c20e1b-short-time-work-support/

e. DEASP have also issued guidance for workers who are laid off temporarily, without pay, due to a reduction in business activity. These workers can apply for a Jobseeker payment. The application for this can be made online at www.mywelfare.ie.

f. The above information should be read in conjunction with the individual scheme information available at http://www.gov.ie/deaspcovid19. This information may be updated, and any updates will be published on the dedicated website at http://www.gov.ie/deaspcovid19.

g. The above is for information purposes only and Screen Ireland makes no guarantees or assertions as to an individual’s or company’s entitlement to claim or qualify for any benefit or relief.

6. Government supports for working capital

a. THE CREDIT GUARANTEE SCHEME FOR COVID-19

The Credit Guarantee Scheme supports loans of up to €1million for periods of up to seven (7) years. Applications may be made to AIB, Bank of Ireland and Ulster Bank. Eligibility criteria apply. Further information can be found here.

b. MICROFINANCE IRELAND COVID-19 BUSINESS LOAN

This fund is a government initiative to support microenterprises, with access to Covid-19 Business Loans of up to €50,000 from Microfinance Ireland. The terms and condition of lending can be found here.

c. SBCI COVID-19 WORKING CAPITAL SCHEME

The SBCI Covid-19 Working Capital Scheme for eligible businesses supports loans in amounts of between €25,000 - €1.5m (first €500,000 unsecured) with a maximum interest rate of 4%. The loans will be available through AIB, Bank of Ireland and Ulster Bank. Funds are to be used for future working capital requirements and to fund innovation, change or adaptation of the business to mitigate the impact of Covid-19. Further information on who can apply and eligibility criteria can be found here.

d. ENTERPRISE IRELAND COVID-19 SUPPORTS

i. Sustaining Enterprise Fund

This is a new fund of up to €180million specifically aimed at firms with 10 or more employees that are impacted by Covid-19. The fund is operated by Enterprise Ireland, providing repayable advances to eligible companies of up to €800,000. Further information can be found here.

ii. Business Continuity Voucher

The Lean Business Continuity Voucher is available to eligible companies to access up to €2,500 in training or advisory services support related to the continued operation of their businesses during the current pandemic. Further information can be found here.

iii. Business Financial Planning Grant

The Covid-19 Business Financial Planning Grant is designed to help eligible companies to develop a robust financial plan, including the preparation of documentation required to support applications for external finance from banks and/or other finance providers. Up to €5,000 will enable companies to access support from approved financial consultants to prepare a financial plan to secure the company in the short to medium terms. Further information can be found here.

7. General Information

  1. The government has agreed with local authorities that they should agree to defer rates payments due from the most immediately impacted businesses - primarily in the retail, hospitality, leisure and childcare sectors, for three months, until end-May. This measure will be implemented by each local authority in its own area.

  2. Information concerning employment rights is available at the Workplace Relations Commission website www.workplacerelations.ie.

  3. Employment Permits System Contingency Arrangements. The Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation has implemented a contingency plan to ensure that the Employment Permits system will continue to operate in all scenarios for the duration of the Covid-19 crisis. Temporary arrangements will allow for an electronic version (PDF) of an employment permit to issue by email the employer/employee/agents as proof of an employment permit having granted for the named employee. The electronic version of the employment permit will be accompanied by a letter from the Department both of which should be presented to immigration officials for verification purposes. Further information can be found at the following link: https://dbei.gov.ie/en/Publications/Publication-files/COVID-19-Employment-Permits-System-Contingency-Arrangements.pdf

8. Third Party Organisations

  1. Creative Europe “are applying the maximum flexibility we can in the implementation of the programme, within the limits of the applicable legal framework” https://ec.europa.eu/programmes/creative-europe/content/corona-virus-consequences-creative-europe-programme-and-related-activities_en

  2. EU COMMISSION  are taking measures to counter the economic impact of COVID-19: "EU State aid rules enable Member States to help companies cope with liquidity shortages and needing urgent rescue aid. Article 107(2)(b) TFEU enables Member States to compensate companies for the damage directly caused by exceptional occurrences, including measures in sectors such as aviation and tourism" https://ec.europa.eu/commission/presscorner/detail/en/ip_20_459

9. Useful Links