Employers could be in line for financial incentives to take on staff or re-hire workers who lost their jobs as a result of the Covid crisis, under plans to be considered by the Government next week.

Proposed changes to the Temporary Wage Subsidy Scheme (TWSS) - which currently pays 85% of salaries of some 400,000 workers - would mean newly hired workers could benefit from the payment. 

The changes would also mean the inclusion of seasonal workers or those who were not on payrolls when the scheme was introduced at the end of February and have so far not been entitled to avail of it.

The scheme is due to expire on 30 August but Government sources have told RTÉ News that there is now an acceptance that it will be extended beyond that date.

Exactly what shape the payment will take will be discussed at the first meeting of the Cabinet sub-committee on economic recovery, which is due to take place on Wednesday.

The sub-committee - which is made up of the leaders of the three coalition parties as well as the Minister for Finance, Paschal Donohoe, and the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform, Michael McGrath - will discuss measures for the so called "July Jobs" stimulus.

That stimulus package will inject around €1 billion into small businesses, according to Government sources. It is expected to be announced later this month. 

The TWSS is currently available for payments to staff who were employed before February.

Under the plans being considered, it will be extended to companies in the hospitality and tourism sector to help pay for seasonal workers, as well as to start-ups or companies that want to rehire staff who were let go at the start of the Covid-19 crisis.

The aim is to persuade businesses to take on workers with the hope of reducing the numbers on people availing of the €350 a week pandemic unemployment payment (PUP). There are currently 439,000 in receipt of that payment.

Government sources said no decisions have been made around the July stimulus and these measures are currently just proposals that would have to be approved by Cabinet.

Earlier today, Minister McGrath said the Temporary Wage Subsidy Scheme said the scheme cannot come to an abrupt end and that he and Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe are in discussions as to its future. 

On the cost of the upcoming stimulus package, Mr McGrath said it will be "significant" in scale in order to match the task at hand.

Asked for clarity on the Government's proposed 'green list' of countries and when it would be published, Mr McGrath said it would be discussed by Cabinet tomorrow.


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