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Employment Wage Subsidy Scheme (EWSS) – Updates

The Employment Wage Subsidy Scheme (EWSS) provides income support to eligible employers, with respect to employees on their payroll, where the business activities have been negatively impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.  The EWSS is scheduled to continue in operation until 31 March 2021. Under the Government’s ‘Resilience and Recovery 2021 – the Path Ahead (23 February 2021)’ the scheme is extended until 30 June 2021. Two key updates to the EWSS have been introduced for 2021.

1.  New eligibility criteria to claim EWSS from 1 January 2021

An employer’s eligibility to make an EWSS claim from 1 January 2021 will be based on demonstrating that due to COVID-19, at least a 30% reduction in their business turnover / customer orders will occur in the period from 1 January 2021 to 30 June 2021 by reference to the period from 1 January 2019 to 30 June 2019. [Note: Childcare businesses registered in accordance with Section 58C of the Child Care Act 1991, are not required to meet the reduction in turnover or customer orders test].

Where the business did not exist for the first six months of 2019, the benchmarked periods to determine eligibility depend on when the business operations began:

  • Where the business began on or before 1 May 2019

The 30% decline in turnover or customer orders, due to COVID-19, must be determined in 2021 by reference to the same period in 2019 in which the business was operating.

For example, if the business started on 1 March 2019, then the business must be able to show that there has been a 30% decline in the period from 1 March 2021 to 30 June 2021 when compared to 1 March 2019 to 30 June 2019, due to COVID-19.

  • Where the business began after 1 May 2019

The employer must analyse projected/actual turnover or customer orders from 1 January 2021 to 30 June 2021 and compare this to the projected turnover for the same period (i.e. January to June 2021) on the basis COVID-19 had not occurred.

Employers are still required to undertake a review on the last day of every month to ensure they continue to meet the eligibility criteria.

2  Extension of existing EWSS subsidy rates until 31 March 2021

The Minister for Finance, Paschal Donohoe, confirmed that the existing Employment Wage Subsidy Scheme (EWSS) rates will be extended until 31 March 2021.  The EWSS subsidy rates which will prevail until 31 March 2021 are:

EWSS Jan table.png

Under the Government’s ‘Resilience and Recovery 2021 – the Path Ahead (23 February 2021)’ the scheme is extended until 30 June 2021.


Please contact your Grant Thornton adviser should you wish to discuss the above or any aspect of the Employment Wage Subsidy Scheme.

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