Tax

COVID 19: Enhanced Illness Benefit Payment

Emer Joyce Emer Joyce

When a worker is told to self-isolate by a doctor or has been diagnosed with COVID-19 (Coronavirus) by a doctor, they can apply for an enhanced Illness Benefit payment of €305 per week.

To be eligible for this payment a person must be confined to their home or a medical facility.

How to Qualify:

To receive the enhanced payment, you must be:

  • self-isolating on the instruction of a doctor or diagnosed with COVID-19 (Coronavirus)
  • be absent from work and not getting paid by your employer

Rates of Payment:

The personal rate for this payment is €305, as compared with the normal Illness Benefit rate of €203.

It will be paid for a maximum of 2 weeks where a person has been instructed by a doctor to self-isolate, however it will be paid for the full duration of a person's absence from work if they have been diagnosed with COVID-19 (Coronavirus) by a medical professional.

How to Apply

  1. If any of your employees are suffering from COVID-19 or a doctor advises that they self-isolate, the doctor will then complete a medical certificate on their behalf and send this directly to the Department of Social Protection.

     To receive a payment, the employee will need to provide their doctor with their:

  • name
  • PPS number
  • date of birth
  1. The employee will now need to complete an application form for Illness Benefit (Form IB 1).

    There are three ways that they can make an application:

  • call 1890 800 024 or 01 2481398 between 9.00am and 5.00pm Monday to Friday to get an application form by post
  • organise someone to pick up a form at their doctor’s surgery or at their local Intreo Centre
  • an online application process will be available by the end of March

It is important that they complete part 5 of the Illness Benefit form as this contains how they would like to be paid – they should refer to the company’s sick policy to determine whether this needs to be paid directly to their company or into their own bank account.

Applications can be sent by Freepost to:

Social Welfare Services

Address: PO Box 1650, Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection, Dublin 1

Once both the application form and the medical certificate are received payment will be processed.

Payroll Treatment

Illness Benefit is subject to PAYE only, it is not subject to USC or PRSI.

Since 1st January 2018, employers are no longer required to tax Illness Benefit through the payroll.

Instead, Revenue adjusts the employee's tax credits and cut off points via the employee's Revenue Payroll Notification (RPN).

Therefore, you should ensure that you check for updated RPNs before each pay run.

In addition, since 1st January 2018, Illness Benefit letters are no longer delivered to the ROS Inbox.

How to record illness benefit

If the employee keeps the welfare payments and also receives company pay?

If an employee keeps the illness benefit welfare payments paid by the Department of Social Protection and also receives pay from your company, you must record the employee’s reduced salary on your payroll. Do not record the illness benefit payments.

If the employee keeps the welfare payments but doesn’t receive company pay?

In cases where the employee keeps the illness benefit welfare payments but doesn’t receive any pay from your company, you shouldn’t save any pay details for them during the periods of their sickness leave. This is because your company is not making any payment to the employee.

When the employee returns back to work, you must record their taxable salary as normal on your payroll. Do not record the illness benefit payments.

If my company gets the welfare payments and pays the employee?

When you’re processing the employee’s pay details, you must record the illness benefit as a non-taxable payment in addition to their reduced taxable salary.

Useful links

COVID-19: Wage Subsidy Scheme – FAQs for Employers

Temporary Wage Subsidy Scheme Employer Eligibility and Supporting Proofs

COVID-19 pandemic unemployment payment

COVID-19 wage subsidy

Revenue Measures to Support SMEs