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Retail and hospitality businesses in Ireland are set to receive a big financial boost. A new enterprise support package is being finalized by the Government and is scheduled for Cabinet approval on Tuesday. This initiative aims to infuse thousands of euros into sectors severely impacted by rising costs and economic challenges.

Discussions over the weekend with the Department of Public Expenditure focused on redirecting unspent funds from an existing €257 million scheme. This reallocation is expected to provide a crucial financial boost to businesses most affected by current economic pressures.

A major feature of the proposed package is an enhancement of the existing Increased Cost of Business scheme. Presently, businesses can claim up to 50% of their previous year’s rates bill, capped at €10,000, equating to a maximum grant of €5,000. The new plan proposes a second round of grants, allowing eligible businesses in the retail and hospitality sectors to receive an additional €5,000.

To further alleviate financial pressures on employers, a €50 million measure will increase the PRSI threshold for employers. Currently, employers pay an 8.8% PRSI rate for employees earning up to €441 per week, which rises to 11.05% for higher earnings. With the minimum wage increased to €12.70 per hour in January, the PRSI threshold will be adjusted to €495 per week, potentially saving businesses hundreds of euros each week.

Ministers are also considering a potential pause on future increases to statutory sick leave days. Initially, workers were set to receive seven sick leave days from January, up from five, with a planned increase to 10 days by 2026. Additionally, the pace of future minimum wage increases may be slowed, subject to recommendations from the Low Pay Commission.

A €1.5 billion surplus in the National Training Fund could be allocated for employers to invest in education and training for their employees.

As the Government moves to finalize this comprehensive support package, retail and hospitality businesses throughout Ireland can anticipate a much-needed financial lifeline. These measures are designed not only to provide immediate relief but also to enhance the long-term sustainability of these vital sectors in the Irish economy.