Temporary COVID-19 Wage Subsidy Scheme


Yesterday, the Government announced new measures to provide financial support to Irish workers affected by the Covid-19 crisis. As part of these measures, Revenue will operate a Temporary Wage Subsidy Scheme. The scheme, enables employees, whose employers are affected by the pandemic, to receive significant supports directly from their employer. The scheme will run for 12 weeks from 26 March 2020. Draft legislation governing the scheme will be published shortly.

The operation of the Temporary Wage Subsidy Scheme will be available to employers who keep employees on the payroll throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, meaning employers can retain links with employees for when business picks up after the crisis. Additionally, the operation of the scheme will reduce the burden on the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection (DEASP) which is dealing with the other Covid-19 related payments.

Employers are encouraged to facilitate employees by operating the scheme, by retaining employees on their books and by making best efforts to maintain a significant, or 100% income, for the period of the scheme.

Key Features of the scheme

* (details on this will be made available by Revenue in due course).

Who does the scheme apply to?

The Scheme is available to employers from all sectors (excluding the public service and non-commercial semi-state sector) whose business activities are being adversely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The scheme is available for employers who retain staff on payroll; some of the staff may be temporarily not working or some may be on reduced hours and/or reduced pay. Provided the employer meets the conditions set out below and subject to the levels of pay to the employees the employer may be eligible for the scheme for some or all of the employees.

To qualify for the scheme, employers must

The Scheme is confined to employees who were on the employer’s payroll as at 29 February 2020, and for whom a payroll submission has already been made to Revenue in the period from 1 February 2020 to 15 March 2020.

The names of all employers operating this scheme will be published on Revenue’s website in due course, after the scheme has expired.

Registering for the Temporary Wage Subsidy Scheme

Any employer, already registered with Revenue for the purposes of the Employer COVID-19 Refund Scheme, is not required to take any further action. The employer may make payroll submissions from 26 March 2020 under the subsidy scheme arrangements on the same basis as they were doing for the Employer Refund Scheme, and €410 will be refunded in respect of each eligible employee per week.

Employers, or their agents, wishing to register for the scheme can apply to Revenue by carrying out the following steps:

Operating the scheme from Thursday 26 March 2020

The employer runs the payroll as normal, entering the following details for each relevant employee under the Scheme:

Income tax, USC, LPT, if applicable, and PRSI are not deducted from the Temporary Wage Subsidy.

In many cases the payment of the Temporary Wage Subsidy and any additional income paid by the employer will result in the refund of Income Tax or USC already paid by the employee.  Any Income Tax and USC refunds that arise as a result of the application of tax credits and rate bands can be repaid by the employer and Revenue will also refund this amount to the employer.

Employers must not operate this scheme for any employee who is making a claim for duplicate support (e.g. Pandemic Unemployment Payment) from the DEASP.

Based on the information provided in payroll submissions and adherence to the maximum limits, described above, Revenue will credit employers with the temporary wage subsidy paid to each employee. 

Penalties will apply to any abuse of the Subsidy Scheme by self-declaring incorrectly, not providing funds to employees or non-adherence to Revenue, and any other relevant, guidelines.

Guidance/Information

For general issues relating to the scheme, contact Revenue’s National Employer Helpdesk via the myEnquiries system, providing details of the query and a direct dial contact number.

Employers should make sure to select ‘Employer’s PAYE’ and then ‘Employer’s PAYE General Enquiry’ when submitting the query through myEnquiries.

The link to the Revenue website guidance is https://www.revenue.ie/en/corporate/communications/covid19/temporary-covid-19-wage-subsidy-scheme.aspx

OSK are available to support clients throughout the current crisis - please contact your Director or Manager directly. Alternatively, send us an email or call 014394200. 

 

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