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RTÉ to avail of government's wage subsidy scheme

RTÉ has seen a significant decline in TV licence fee revenue as well as commercial income.

Image: Mark Stedman

RTÉ WILL AVAIL of the government’s Covid-19 Wage Subsidy Scheme, it has been revealed.

In a statement to TheJournal.ie, the national broadcaster confirmed that like many national and local media outlets, it has been impacted by the public health emergency.

It stated that RTÉ is seeing significant declines in TV licence fee revenue as well as commercial income.

“RTÉ was already implementing cost-cutting measures as part of our revised strategy, so these declines have put further pressure on finances at a time when the need to provide vital news, information and entertainment to the public is more crucial than ever.

“RTÉ will avail of the Government’s Covid-19 Wage Subsidy Scheme, and is engaged in a dialogue with Government on a range of issues at present including the public health crisis, additional emergency measures and longer term structural reforms necessary to sustain public broadcasting beyond this crisis.”

It is understood workers earning up to €78,000 in RTÉ received communication today that they will be placed on the wage subsidy scheme. It is understood that hundreds of workers are impacted. 

Director General Dee Forbes is understood to have told staff members that the national broadcaster has been very badly hit by a sharp reduction in advertising spend, particularly in television. 

Speaking on RTÉ’s Drivetime, reporter Katie Hannon said advertising revenue has fallen by 25%-35%, which could account for €85-€118 million in revenue. 

Trends in TV licence fee payments have also emerged, with Drivetime hearing that people are not able to get to the post office to pay their licence fee.

National and local media have been hit hard by the Covid-19 crisis, with advertising revenue experiencing a significant downfall. 

A number of pay cuts have rolled out in national and local newspapers, as well as radio stations, with job losses and newspaper closures resulting in some cases. 

Take-up of the Temporary Wage Subsidy Scheme introduced by government is continuing to grow with over 47,400 employers  registered with Revenue for the scheme.

Today, Revenue has generated further payments to employers under the scheme of €28.1 million.

The cumulative value of payments made to employers under the scheme is now approximately €378 million.

The wage subsidy scheme is available to employers who keep employees on the payroll throughout the Covid-19 pandemic. 

A subsidy of 85% is payable to employees whose net weekly income does not exceed €412. 

A subsidy of 70% payable by the State to those whose net weekly pay was previously no more than €500 but less than €586, with a cap of €410.

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