Government announces extension of key Covid payment as cases soar

The Irish Government today confirmed that the Covid-19 sickness benefit will be available until September 2022 as cases rise again.

In what has been dubbed the ‘summer surge’, around 10,000 people are thought to test positive daily – that’s according to estimates from Professor Christine Loscher, who spoke last week.

While some are asymptomatic and able to work from home, others are unable to perform face-to-face duties, which means they are not entitled to be paid by their employers.

READ MORE: Covid Ireland: Under-65s may need another booster shot

Sick pay will therefore continue from the end of June and will continue until September, when things will be reassessed again.

The Enhanced Sickness Benefit was introduced at the start of the pandemic to help people diagnosed with the virus – who were unable to get to work.

Beneficiaries will continue to receive a weekly rate of €350, which is paid from the first day of illness.

More than 516,000 people were eligible for payment, with the total amount paid amounting to €313 million.

During the week of June 10-16, 2022, some 4,546 people were medically certified to receive a Covid-19 sickness benefit.

Speaking about the announcement, Social Care Minister Heather Humphreys said: “While we are currently experiencing an increase in the number of people diagnosed with Covid-19 in our communities, my government colleagues and I want to ensure that this financial support continues to be available to these workers, should they contract the virus.

The period for which Enhanced Sick Pay was to be made available was previously extended from February 2022 to the end of June 2022.

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Elaine R. Knight