Varadkar: Wage subsidy scheme likely to be extended longer than Covid unemployment payment

Varadkar: Wage subsidy scheme likely to be extended longer than Covid unemployment payment

Leo Varadkar has said it is likely the wage subsidy scheme will be extended longer than the Covid unemployment payments.

Both measures will be extended beyond mid-June but the Taoiseach has not been able to say when they will end.

The government believes the payments are unsustainable long term.

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar says the wage subsidy programme could be around the longest.

"One thing we will probably do is extend what is called the Temporary Wage Subsidy Scheme longer than the pandemic unemployment payment because we will be encouraging employers to take people back on," said Mr Varadkar.

"To help transition them from the pandemic unemployment payment to the wage subsidy scheme.

"So when you are offered your job back your employer will be able to take you back on the wage subsidy scheme."

If you refuse it the offer of your job back, you lose your pandemic unemployment payment.

The Taoiseach has also said that he is more confident now that the country can begin to reopen from next week.

The National Public Health Emergency Team will make a recommendation to government on Friday.

At the moment outdoor construction work, DIY shops and small outside gatherings will be allowed from next week.

But Mr Varadkar says that still depends on the figures going in the right direction.

"There is always a possibility that things may change over the next couple of days but I don't think so.

"I don't want to raise expectations and then dash them on Friday but things are going in the right direction and have been for a few weeks.

"I am much more hopeful now than I would have been a week ago or two weeks ago."

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