“Phone tracking app set to be used as next step to fight Covid-19” is the lead on this week’s Business Post. The paper reports that the government will soon be asking us to opt into a mobile phone “tracking and tracing app” in a bid to fight the spread of the coronavirus. It’s also reported that all medical consultants will be moved to public-only contracts from Monday.
On page six, it’s reported that business owners across the country have been told that their properties will be insured against fewer risks if left unoccupied for a period of time. That is despite government advice that they should close during the current crisis. The risks businesses will lose cover for include damage caused by fire, lightning, explosions and aircraft. Most of the so-called “unoccupied clauses” kick-in after 30 days although FBD said it would extend this time period to 90 days.
After a week which saw the government announce substantial emergency measures to try and preserve jobs and business during the crisis, Peter O’Dwyer talks to business lobby groups to gauge their reaction. IBEC said the measures, which see the government pay up to 70% of workers’ wages (up to €410 a week) if the business has suffered a 25% drop in turnover, would play a “crucial role” in enabling the economy to bounce back. Meanwhile, the Small Firms Association said the package was “along the lines of what it had been asking for”. However, the Irish Hotels Federation warned that the measures were “not nearly enough”.
So should business owners who avail of the 70% wage subsidy scheme “top up” their employees’ wages with the remaining 30%? According to Brady & Associates, a Dublin accountancy firm, the answer is not straightforward as the top-up would be subject to PAYE, PRSI and USC but would not be tax deductible for employers. “Before entering this scheme, employers should carry out a detailed calculation of their employees’ net pay and the implication of the 30% top up over a 12-week period,” the firm says. “Employers who jump into this scheme without calculating the risks could be left with a large bill at the end of the 12 weeks.”
· The public sector is unlikely to get wage hikes in the next round of pay talks due to Covid-19
· Taxi app firm Lynk has signed up nearly a 100 small grocery stores for its new delivery service
· Larry Goodman is set to take sole control over the Hermitage Clinic in west Dublin
· Artificial intelligence firm Everseen has raised €3.43m in fresh funding from investors
· Microsoft’s Irish operation paid more than $110bn in dividends to its US parent in 2019
· Greencore is to reduce CEO Patrick Coveney’s annual €315k pension payment