The Temporary Wage Subsidy Scheme (TWSS) was introduced on 26 March to support the viability of firms and preserve the relationship between the employer and employee, insofar as is possible, by subsidising a portion of the employer wage bill in circumstances where the employer’s business has been negatively impacted by COVID-19.
To date, over 58,000 employers have registered with Revenue for the TWSS, over €1.37 billion has been paid out to support over 514,000 employees who have received at least payment since the start of the Scheme.
The scheme initially commenced on 26 March and was expected to operate for 12 weeks which would have seen it come to an end in mid-June. However, it has been clear for many weeks that individuals and businesses will need greater support as the country only now begins to re-open on a phased basis following the lockdown.
On Friday 5 June the Government made the welcome announcement that the scheme will now remain in place until the end of August.
The eligibility criteria for employers has not changed with the extension of the scheme. Employers must demonstrate to Revenue’s satisfaction that they are experiencing significant negative business impact due to COVID-19 over the period 14 March to 30 June 2020. Eligibility is determined largely on a self-assessment basis and a declaration by the employer, combined with a risk-focussed follow up verification by Revenue.
With the exception employees returning to work following maternity leave or related leave (further details in this regard below) it remains that an employee must have been on the payroll on 29 February 2020 to be consider a specified employee for whom the temporary wage subsidy can be claimed.
The Operational Phase of the TWSS began on 4 May and will remain in place until the end of the scheme. The key features of this phase are based on Revenue's capacity to analyse and provide relevant information to employers. It also allowed Revenue to implement the revised rates which were announced 15 April which unfortunately has made the operation of the scheme more complex particularly for employers who are topping up their employees’ wages.
Employees returning to work following maternity or related leave
Revenue has implemented a change to the Scheme to accommodate employees returning to work and who were not on their employer’s payroll on 29 February 2020:
- following a period of Maternity, Adoptive leave or related unpaid leave, or a period of Paternity, Parental or related unpaid leave, or
- having been in receipt of Health and Safety or Parent's benefit paid by the DEASP for the month of February 2020, or
- having been in receipt of Illness benefit paid by the DEASP for the month of February 2020.
A manual process to introduce this facility for such employees and their employers is now available. Employers wishing to claim the subsidy for an employee returning to work following the receipt of one of the specified Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection (DEASP) benefits, should log on to ROS MyEnquiries, click ADD 'A New Enquiry' and select the current category 'Covid-19: Temporary Wage Subsidy', Subcategory: 'TWSS - Maternity and other Benefits'.
Revenue will then manually calculate a net weekly pay for each employee concerned and will create a revised ‘CSV file’ for the employer. For each employee who has returned to the payroll, Revenue will apply the scheme retrospectively to the date of return to employment or 26th March 2020 at the earliest.
We have taken great care to ensure the accuracy of this publication. However, the publication is written in general terms and you are strongly recommended to seek specific advice before taking any action on the information it contains.
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Tax legislation is that prevailing at the time, is subject to change without notice and depends on individual circumstances. Clients should always seek appropriate tax advice before making decisions.
Details sourced from gov.ie, correct as at 11 June 2020.