The Government has announced a five-point Road Map for ‘Reopening Society & Business’, from Monday 18 May. Engineers Ireland welcomes these measures which aim to ease Covid-19 restrictions and will facilitate a return to broader economic and business activity. However, it is important that all of us in our dealings continue to adhere to the HSE, National Public Health Emergency Team and the Health and Safety Authority guidelines that are in place to stop any further spread of the Coronavirus.
Central to this phased reopening will be the adherence to social distancing and necessary hygiene practices. We in Engineers Ireland look forward to working together with you, our members, and your colleagues, to get through this period of phased reopening as smoothly as possible. Right now, we are fully available to our members and are contactable by phone, video conference, email, social media; please do reach out to discuss work, or any other issues you wish to talk through. While the way we work has changed for now, our commitment to quality delivery and shared cooperation has not. Contact phone numbers for our key departments are available on our website here.
In relation to members working in the built environment and construction sector, please see links below to safe working methods, safety practices and guidelines which have been designed by members of the Construction Industry Council of which Engineers Ireland is a member. These guidelines will be useful for our members working in these sectors when the time comes for businesses and sites to be reopened post 18 May.
The CIF has issued the following new operating procedures.
The RIAI has produced the following note on restarting of construction activity.
The ACEI has provided the following guidance note in relation to site inspections.
The most recent statement from the Construction Industry Council is here from 29 April 2020. The statement acknowledges the efforts of members to provide best services to clients and for members’ commitment during these difficult times.
Additionally, guidance from the HSE and the Health and Safety Authority remains of paramount importance. See the Health and Safety Authority guide here. This provides advice for employers and employees across a range of professions.
If your business has been impacted by this crisis, our information base, provides links to the financial supports from Government. (To make things easier, further down this page we provide an at-a-glance summary of the main supports). Business supports were announced in March and on Saturday 2 May.
CPD and CPD Free supports
In relation to our CPD training we are seeking to provide online options for training where possible. Our full range of CPD courses is here.
On the 15 May there is a complimentary, one-hour webinar for our members on ‘Managing Projects Remotely’. See this link here.
We would like to remind members of our other complimentary online modules and CPD courses available (member-content only): here. Areas covered include; Finance for Engineers, Communication and Presentation Skills, Introduction to Project Management, Negotiation and Influencing Skills.
Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any queries.
Our CPD re-accreditation audits are continuing virtually as is our Effective Mentoring programme.
Our Membership Team is fully available to our members. Please email email@example.com for any new member query or a reinstatement query. For existing members who are interested in our Professional Titles such as Chartered Engineer or have any other query, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
The telephone number for our Membership Team is 01 6651334.
Three podcasts to support you in becoming a Chartered Engineer are available here.
Our Chartered Engineer interviewer process is continuing remotely. The summer deadline for applications to become a Chartered Engineer has been extended from June to Friday 31 July.
An outline of our Member Benefits is here on our website.
This is the season for our Sectoral A.G.M.s and many have taken place remotely with more to come. Please see here for details.
In relation to other events organised by our Regional branches, Engineering divisions or Societies (i.e. Sectors), please check with your Committee Chair to determine if your meeting is going ahead. Please continue to contact our Sector Support Team on any matter on email@example.com
Your viewing of Engineers TV, which contains presentations, technical lectures, courses and seminar recordings can be counted as part of your overall CPD for the year and is available here.
You can pay your annual subscription online on your member profile here or call our Finance hotline on 01 6651320.
Information is also available here for our Northern Region members and GB Region members. Please note you will be directed to external websites.
Government’s Supports at-a-glance for employers (ROI)
Temporary COVID-19 Wage Subsidy Scheme
The Temporary COVID-19 Wage Subsidy Scheme allows employers to pay their employees during the current pandemic. If you are an employer who can show that you have lost at least 25 percent of your trade, you will be able to claim a percentage of your employees’ net wage back. The employer is expected to make their best efforts to maintain as close to 100% of normal income as possible for the subsidised period. The scheme supports employers who keep employees on the payroll through the current Covid-related trading difficulties, meaning employers can retain links with employees for when business picks up.
Employers have to sign up to the Scheme through Revenue.
On 15 April 2020, changes to the Temporary COVID-19 Wage Subsidy Scheme were announced. These changes came into effect on 4 May:
For employees previously earning up to €586 net per week:
There is more information here, including for employees previously earning more than €586 net per week: Temporary COVID-19 Wage Subsidy Scheme
If you are self-employed, you can apply for the COVID-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment. This payment is €350 per week. It is available to employees and the self-employed who have lost their job on (or after) March 13 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The COVID-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment will be in place until at least 8 June.
Short Time Work Support for your staff
If you have to put your employees on a shorter working week or have had to cut their hours because of the Covid-19 pandemic, your employees can apply for Short Time Work Support. Put simply, it is a form of Jobseeker’s Benefit and is an income support payment if your employee has to be temporarily placed on a shorter working week.
Other financial supports for your staff
The Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection has other supports for your staff during a Covid-19 related absence or temporary layoff from work. These include income supports for workers who are not diagnosed with Covid-19 who self-isolate, or who need to take time off to care for a person affected by Covid-19. That information is here.
On Saturday 2 May, the Government announced new supports for business. The €6.5bn in crisis measures are:
• A three-month commercial rates waiver for impacted businesses; to help with the costs of upgrading premises to comply with social distancing rules, there will be a write-off of up to €10,000 for businesses, at a total cost of €250m
• A €2 billion Pandemic Stabilisation and Recovery Fund within the Ireland Strategic Investment Fund (ISIF), which will make capital available to medium and large enterprises on commercial terms; this is a new fund to invest across the capital structure in businesses employing more than 250 people or with annual turnover in excess of €50m will be set up under the direction of the Ireland Strategic Investment Fund (ISIF), Ireland's sovereign wealth fund and will have total capital of €2bn.
• A €2 billion COVID-19 Credit Guarantee Scheme to aid the SME sector (less than 250 employees, turnover <€50m), the Government will set up a new lending scheme where the Government will guarantee 80% of the loan. Facilities will be between €10,000-€1m, with terms of up to 7 years.
• The ‘warehousing’ of tax liabilities for a period of twelve months after recommencement of trading during which time there will be no debt enforcement action taken by Revenue and no interest charge accruing in respect of the warehoused debt;
• A commitment to local authorities to make up the rates shortfall, so that local authorities can continue provide full services to the public;
• A €10,000 restart grant for micro and small businesses based on a rates/waiver rebate from 2019.
More information on this specific suite of supports is here.
Mortgage breaks and repossession deferrals
On the 30 April, the State’s five banks agreed to a further payment break to mortgage holders and businesses. These concessions, which must be applied for, have been extended further - up to 6 months in total. Please see this statement on the Irish Banking and Payments Federation website here.
Covid-19 Online Retail Scheme
On 30 April, the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation announced a new Enterprise Ireland €2 million Covid-19 Online Retail Scheme to support retail companies to enhance their digital capability. The new fund, which builds on two previous successful calls of the pilot Online Retail Scheme, will be open to indigenous retailers employing 10 or more people to develop a more competitive online offer in response to the Covid-19 crisis. See Enterprise Ireland’s website here.
Business Continuity Voucher
A Business Continuity Voucher is available throughout Ireland’s Local Enterprise Offices and is open to sole traders and companies across every business sector that employ up to 50 people. The voucher is worth up to €2,500 in third party consultancy costs and can be used by companies and sole traders to develop short-term and long-term strategies to respond to the Covid-19 pandemic. The goal is to help business owners make informed decisions about what immediate measures and actions should be taken to protect staff and sales. See here for more information.
Other supports announced in March by the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation include:
A €200m Strategic Banking Corporation of Ireland (SBCI) Working Capital scheme for eligible businesses impacted by COVID-19. Loans of up to
€1.5m will be available at reduced rates, with up to the first €500,000 unsecured. Applications can be made through the SBCI website.
A €200m Package for Enterprise Supports including a Rescue and Restructuring Scheme available through Enterprise Ireland for vulnerable but viable firms that need to restructure or transform their business.
The maximum loan available from MicroFinance Ireland will be increased from €25,000 to €50,000 as an immediate measure to specifically deal with exceptional circumstances that micro-enterprises – (sole traders and firms with up to 9 employees) - are facing. Applications can be made through the MFI website or through your local LEO.
The Credit Guarantee Scheme will be available to COVID-19 impacted firms through the Pillar Banks. Loans of up to €1m will be available at terms of up to 7 years. Read about this information directly at the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation’s website here:
The Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection has a number of specific, welfare supports at this time, including:
COVID-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment
This payment is available to employees and self-employed people who have lost their job on or after March 13 due the Covid-19 pandemic. This COVID-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment will be in place for the duration of the crisis. The Payment is paid at a flat rate of €350 per week for the duration of the pandemic emergency. It was originally set at a rate of €203 but it was increased to €350 by Government on 24 March. See here for more detail.
If you have been temporarily placed on a shorter working week, you may qualify for Short Time Work Support.
COVID-19 Enhanced illness Benefit
If you have been diagnosed with Covid-19 or are medically certified to self-isolate as a result of Covid-19, you can apply for the Covid-19 Enhanced Illness Benefit. This is higher than the standard rate. You can apply for this whether you are an employee or if you are self-employed. There are other income supports available from the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection and they are available here.
Our Engineers Ireland information base has more useful links. For information about protecting yourself from Covid-19 please see the HSE’s website here for symptoms and causes, testing, self-isolation and movement restriction.
Northern Ireland and GB members
Key information from the Northern Ireland Assembly is available on this link. This link provides information about financial supports available for businesses in Northern Ireland including the Small Business Grant Scheme and the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme. It also provides advice to individual workers.
For GB members, the UK Government has the following link regarding business supports.
For broader UK information, please see the following link which includes information about driving and transport and information for self-employed workers.
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