COVID-19 Wage Subsidy Scheme

COVID-19 Wage Subsidy Scheme - FAQ - Guidance for Employers

Employers doing the refund scheme can now pay €350 per week instead of the €203. Is the Covid Employers refund scheme as it was but now employers pay €350 and not 203 from 25th March onwards for 12 week? 

  • The Employer Covid Refund Scheme, operated by Revenue on behalf of DEASP, was replaced by the Temporary COVID Wage Subsidy with effect from 26th March.  Revenue is transferring those employers who participated in the Refund scheme to the new Temporary Covid Wage Subsidy Scheme (TWS).
  • Initially, the subsidy scheme will refund employers up to 70% of the employee’s weekly wages to a maximum of €410 per each qualifying employee. However, employers should pay no more than the normal weekly net pay of the employee. 
  • Employers make the support payment through their normal payroll process and employers will be reimbursed for amounts paid to employees and notified to Revenue via the payroll process.  Employers may top-up the wages.
  • In April, the scheme will move to a subsidy payment based on 70% of the normal net weekly pay for each employee up to a maximum of €410.
  • Many people who are on low incomes are in receipt of additional income support from the State, for example, Working Family Payment, Casuals and Jobs Seeker Transition, will still be getting €350 per week or more if they stay in work which is the desired outcome.   
  • Guidance is available at www.revenue.ie/en/corporate/communications/covid19/temporary-covid-19-wage-subsidy-scheme.aspx and www.revenue.ie/en/employing-people/documents/pmod-topics/guidance-on-operation-of-temporary-covid-wage-subsidy-scheme.pdf

If an employee went to DEASP but the employer now feels they can pay them directly based on this newly introduced schemes, what is the process and the timeline for this change?

  • An online facility is being put in place by DEASP to enable workers to close their PUP claim.
  • In the meantime, the employee can call the Intreo line and details will be taken to update their recorded.  They should then advise their employer that they are returning to work and can put them back on the payroll immediately as of 26th March.

If someone earns less than €350 a week, do they  still get 350 per week? 

  • €350 is the new, higher amount to be paid to workers who have been laid off on the COVID Pandemic Unemployment Payment.
  • Workers who are being paid on the payroll by their employer (subject to Revenue eligibility) can avail of the TWS at a rate of €410 or €350 as appropriate.

Many part-time staff work for multiple employers. How does the employer know with the refund scheme if they are claiming from other places? If another employer claimed first, how do they get the monies paid back and/or how soon will they know this mistake was made so they can stop payment? 

  • Where an employee has multiple employers, each employer can operate the TWS scheme based on 70% of the employee’s average weekly wages from that employment.  

If any employer tops up wages from annual leave accrued and/or hours owed from time in lieu, does this still qualify them for the subsidy refund of €410? How would revenue/DEASP know? What instruction needs to go on their payroll? 

  • The Temporary Covid Wage Subsidy Scheme is operated via the payroll system and covers employers who are in a position to provide top-ups and those who are not.  TWS does not allow for the employer to pay (subsidy + top-up) the employee more than the normal weekly net pay of the employee.

If the employee is going directly to DEASP and is owed annual leave or hours and the employer pays them, will this stop their social welfare payment of €350 that week/indefinitely?  

  • If a worker has been let go and is due accrued entitlements, the employer should do this in the normal way and cease the employee through ROS in the normal way. This is no different from any other period when an employee finishes and becomes unemployed.

The scheme says it applies to those who are unable to pay normal wages and normal outgoing’s fully? If employers have cash reserves for refurbs and security etc. – if they have these, do they disqualify for the scheme or is it just operational income that determines eligibility? 

 Employers are asked to make best efforts to maintain a significant income for their employees over the period of the scheme, however, the scheme applies to both the employers who make additional payments to employees and those who are not able to do so.

How long does the reimbursement take? 

  • Under the Temporary Wage Subsidy, the amounts paid to employees and notified to Revenue will be transferred into the employer’s bank account by Revenue. This reimbursement will, in general, be made within two working days after the date of receipt of the payroll submission. 
  • If Revenue receives a payroll submission on Day 1 the refunds will be processed and sent to the employer’s bank account on the next working day (Day 2). Depending on the bank used the refund will be available to the employer on Day 3. 
  • Submissions made more than 4 days in advance of the pay dates will not be processed until 4 days before the pay day.  In fact, in many instances, the employer is refunded in advance of paying its employees.

 

 

Why are they listing employers who use the scheme? If so, from a GDPR perspective, can an employer say they do not approve to this – why is this?

  •  The publication of employers’ names is to ensure transparency of the wage subsidy scheme and to confirm the payments are passed on in full to the employee. It will provide clarity for all employees.  
  • It will allow employees to identify if their employer participated in the scheme and that the wage subsidy has been fully reflected in their pay and will help to safeguard against abuse of the scheme.

 

What employes are eligible?

  • An eligible employee is someone who their employer cannot afford to fully pay because of the COVID-19 crisis, but who is being kept on the books of the employer. 
  • The employee must be on the payroll on 29 February 2020 and the employer must, between 1 February 2020 and 15 March 2020, have made payroll submissions for payments to the employee to Revenue with pay-dates between 1 Feb 2020 and 29 Feb 2020.
  • There is no age restriction for employees to be eligible. 
  • The scheme includes employees on fulltime, part-time and short-time work arrangements.”