Covid-19

Employment Wage Subsidy Scheme

The Employment Wage Subsidy Scheme (“EWSS”), first announced as part of the government’s July Jobs Stimulus, is a flat-rate subsidy support for employers.  Employers that meet certain criteria can claim the EWSS.

The Minister for Finance announced as part of Budget 2021 that a scheme similar to the EWSS will be in place until the end of 2021.  Details on the form and extension of such a scheme are expected later when economic conditions are clearer. 

Qualifying criteria

An employer must demonstrate to Revenue’s satisfaction that a reduction of at least 30% in turnover or orders will occur, due to the impacts of COVID-19, in the period from 1 July to 31 December 2020 compared with the same period in 2019.

For employers who commenced their business later than 1 July 2019 and before 1 November 2019, the reduction in turnover or orders is relative to the date of commencement to 31 December 2019. Employers who commenced their businesses after 1 November 2019 the reduction is compared to projected turnover or orders had Covid-19 not arisen.

Employers registered under the Child Care Act 1991 may participate in the EWSS.

All employers who wish to avail of the EWSS, even if previously registered for the Temporary Wage Subsidy Scheme (“TWSS”), must apply via ROS and submit a declaration of their eligibility for the scheme.

Eligible employees

If an employee, in relation to the employer, was a qualifying employee for the TWSS.

Any employee who during the period from 1 July 2020 to 31 March 2021 is in receipt of emoluments from the employer – seasonal and new hires are included.

Proprietary directors were initially excluded from the scheme, however, after a review of the key role played by certain proprietary directors, they are included from 1 September 2020.  Certain terms and conditions apply; the key conditions include;

  • The employer meets the eligibility criteria;
  • The proprietary director is on the payroll and has been paid wages which were reported to Revenue on the payroll at any stage between 1 July 2019 and 30 June 2020.

Excluded from the scheme are employees who are connected (e.g. spouse, sibling, child) with the employer unless such employees were on the payroll of that employer and received a payment, during the period from 1 July 2019 to 30 June 2020.

Subsidy rates

Following the announcement by the Government on Monday 19 October 2020 that the entire country will move to Level 5 of the Government’s “Living with Covid” programme, the EWSS subsidy rates will change as outlined below effective from the next payroll date on or after 20 October 2020 until the end of January 2021:

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The scheme is a weekly flat-rate amount payable per eligible employee based on gross weekly wages. The revised scheme will run until end of January 2021.

It is expected that a form of EWSS will continue until the end of 2021. We await confirmation in due course on the format of the scheme post 31 March 2021. 

Employer’s PRSI for those employees for whom a subsidy is being claimed, will apply at a rate of 0.5%.

Sweep Back Mechanism

If you are a qualifying employer, you may have back dated a claim for the EWSS to 1 July 2020 for eligible employees in certain circumstances.

To claim a subsidy on behalf of an eligible employee for July and August, a Sweepback template was available on the Revenue website. The closing date to apply for the ‘Sweep Back’ was 14 October 2020.

Self-review

The scheme requires employers to review their business circumstances at the end of each month (excluding July 2020).  If it transpires to the employer that reduction of at least 30% in turnover or customer orders will not occur, then the employer should:

  • make a declaration that the employer is no longer an eligible employer for the scheme – this declaration will be effective from the first day of the next income tax month; and
  • cease claiming the EWSS supports with effect from that date.

 

Employment Wage Subsidy Scheme

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