The Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment has written to every registered business in Ireland to urge them to prepare for Brexit and to thank them for the burden they have carried in the fight against Covid-19.
The letter from Leo Varadkar was sent to about 225,000 businesses registered with the Companies Registration Office.
It thanks business owners for the work they have done over the past year in preventing the spread of the the coronavirus.
It also informs the businesses of changes to the National Minimum Wage and Illness Benefit in 2021.
“Business has had to shoulder a huge burden. Thank you for all you’ve done, for keeping our economy going, for keeping so many people in employment and for co-operating with all the public health restrictions,” Mr Varadkar wrote in the letter.
“Your efforts have saved many lives and prevented many more from getting sick,” he added.
The Tánaiste’s letter also urges business owners to prepare urgently for the changes that will come into effect from January, with Britain’s exit from the single market and customs union.
“It is now only days away from the next Brexit milestone. Britain will leave the single market and customs union on 1 January,” he said.
“This will mean significant changes for you and your business, in often unexpected ways,” he added.
“I urge you in the limited time remaining to prepare for these changes now. The Government is here to help, training, advice and financial support are available,” he wrote.
The Tánaiste also took the opportunity to highlight the changes to the National Minimum Wage and Illness Benefit that will be taking place in the new year.
From January 1, 2021, the National Minimum Wage will rise by 10 cent to €10.20 an hour.
There will also be a change to Illness Benefit from March next year, which will mean employees will be eligible for the payment, after a period of three days of illness, down from six previously. This will reduce the financial burden on those employers who currently provide sick pay for staff, he said.
The letter from Leo Varadkar also includes all relevant information and contact details to help businesses access more information on the Government grants and advice that are available for Brexit and the changes to both the National Minimum Wage and Illness Benefit.