Jack Quann
Jack Quann

06.41 1 Sep 2020


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The Government's new scheme aimed at providing payroll support for businesses affected by COVID-19 takes effect from today.

The Employment Wage Subsidy Scheme (EWSS) replaces the Temporary Wage Subsidy Scheme (TWSS), and will continue until March next year.

Criteria for the new measure will be tighter but it will allow employers to seek wage subsidy's for a broader range of employees - including new hires and seasonal workers.

As part of the registration process an employer must make a self-declaration to Revenue confirming eligibility for the scheme.

The rate of weekly subsidy the employer will receive per paid eligible employee is:

Source: Revenue

Employers who are currently claiming the TWSS have to separately register for the EWSS, as there is different eligibility conditions to both schemes.

Registration for the EWSS is effective from the date of application, and cannot be backdated.

But employers registered for the EWSS  can make a claim for subsidy payments under the scheme in respect of new hires and seasonal workers from July 1st.

To qualify for the EWSS, an employer must file their payroll submission electronically, hold a valid tax clearance certificate, be able to demonstrate that their business will experience a 30% reduction in turnover or customer orders between July 1st and December 31st 2020 and that the decline in business is caused by COVID-19.

The EWSS provides a flat-rate subsidy to employers based on the numbers of paid and eligible employees on their payroll.

The scheme also applies a reduced rate of employer PRSI of 0.5% on wages paid which are eligible for the subsidy payment.

The maximum amount that could be claimed per worker under the TWSS was €410, while the maximum under the EWSS is €203.

Sinn Féin's finance spokesperson Pearse Doherty has claimed the new scheme  risks a wave of lay-offs in the coming weeks and months.

He said: "Under the EWSS, employees with gross weekly pay of less than €152 per week will not be eligible for any subsidy.

"The Department of Finance have informed me that there are over 153,000 workers across the State, and over 61,000 workers whose employers had been availing of the TWSS.

"These workers are now locked out of the new scheme, with potentially dire consequences for their jobs, their incomes and their families."

While Sean Fleming, Minister of State at the Department of Finance, told Pat Kenny the situation has changed in the last few months.

"It's important that you actually look at what has happened in Ireland in the last six months.

"If you look at those figures and ignore the fact of what has happened in Ireland in the last six months that might be a fair comparison.

"When we brought in the TWSS first, there were up to 600,000 people on it - that has almost halved now down to approximately 350,000 people and that is a significant change.

"Even though some people could get the maximum, the average payment over recent weeks under the old scheme was 283.

"So the difference between the old rate and the new rate coming in today is much less than you would have said if you picked the maximum 400".

He added: "Now that the economy over the months has started to re-open and there are more people back at work now than there are last March - there are some people not back at work - so it's important that the scheme from today into next March reflect the actual current employment situation over the next six or seven months, rather than the situation in the last six or seven months".

Main image: Picture by: Frank Hoermann / SVEN SIMON/DPA/PA Images

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