A decision to proceed with cuts to the Employment Wage Subsidy Scheme from Wednesday has been blasted as a "monumental blow".
The Department of Finance has confirmed that the ending of enhanced rates will kick in, despite the announcement of further restrictions in recent days.
The Restaurants Association of Ireland has described the cuts to the EWSS supports as a monumental blow to the Irish Hospitality Sector at a critical time for businesses in the lead up to Christmas.
In a statement, the RAI said the combination of messaging from Government regarding reducing social contacts and now a cut to the EWSS will cause untold economic damage to a currently financially distressed sector.
Under the enhanced terms, an employer availing of the EWSS for an employee on a weekly wage of €350, the subsidy has increased from €203 per week to €300 per week.
Similarly, for an employee on a weekly wage of €475 the subsidy has increased from €203 per week to €350 per week.
The Department of Finance said that from December 1 2021 to February 28 2022, the original two-rate subsidy of €151.50 and €203 will apply.
For March and April 2022, a single flat rate of €100 will apply and the reduced rate of Employers’ PRSI will be reinstated for these two months.
Businesses availing of the EWSS on 31 December 2021 will continue to be supported until 30 April 2022. The scheme will close to new employers from 1 January 2022.
Despite the reduction, government sources have said the matter will be kept under review.
In money terms, the overall support provided to-date (November 25) by EWSS is almost €6.5bn comprising direct subsidy payments of €5.58bn and PRSI forgone of €877m to 51,700 employers in respect of over 690,300 employees.
A spokesman for Paschal Donohoe said Government policy has been that there will be no cliff edge to the support, at the same time it is necessary to gradually unwind and phase out this temporary emergency support measure.