As you will be aware a Temporary COVID-19 Wage Subsidy Scheme (“TWSS”) was introduced by Taoiseach Leo Varadkar on Tuesday evening, 24 March 2020. This scheme is set to replace the current Employer Refund Scheme, that was announced last week, as of Thursday 26 March 2020 and is expected to last for 12 weeks. The legislation issued on Wednesday 25 March shortly.
*This article has been updated 26/03/2020
The operation of the TWSS will be available to employers who keep employees on the payroll throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, meaning that they can link with employees when business picks up again. Employers are being encouraged to facilitate employees by operating the TWSS 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 TWSS*
- From Thursday 26 March – A refund to employers up to a maximum of €410 per each qualifying employees per week (capped at the lower of the individuals actual take home pay or €410, whichever is lower).
- Employers should pay no more than the normal take home pay. The scheme applies to Employers that “top-up” employees’ wages and those that are not in a position to do so.
- Payment is made through normal payroll process.
- Reimbursement from Revenue should be within 2 working days, in general.
- In April, the scheme will move to a subsidy payment based on either:
- 70% of the weekly average net pay for each qualifying employee up to a maximum of €410 per week for employees with average net weekly pay of €586 or less,
- A maximum of €350 per week for employees with average net weekly pay of between €586 and €960, or
- No subsidy will be due in respect of employees with an average net weekly pay of above €960.
- Neither Income tax nor Universal Social Charge (USC) will apply to the subsidy payment.
- Employees’ Pay Related Social Insurance (PRSI) will not apply to the subsidy or any top-up payment.
- Employers’ PRSI will not apply to the subsidy payment and will be reduced to 0.5% on any top up payment.
- The subsidy amount is not to be regarded as “emoluments” of the employees for the purposes of operating payroll on it but it will be treated as income chargeable to tax and will form part of the gross pay of the specified employee for the purposes of the Tax Acts.
Who does the TWSS apply to?
The TWSS is available to all employers (excluding public service and non-commercial semi-state sector) whose business activities are being adversely impacted by the COVID-19 Pandemic. The TWSS is available for employers who retain staff on payroll (some staff may be temporarily not working or on reduced hours/pay). Provided the conditions set out below are satisfied 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.
Conditions to qualify
- Be experiencing significant negative economic disruption due to COVID-19
- Be able to demonstrate, to the satisfaction of Revenue, a minimum of a 25% decline in turnover or customer orders received by the employer in the period 14 March 2020 to 30 June 2020
- Be unable to pay normal wages and normal outgoings fully, and
- Retain their employees on the payroll with the firm intention of continuing to employ the employee during the specified period (starting on 26 March 2020.
The Scheme is confined to employees who were on that 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.
Registering for and operating the TWSS
Details on how to register for and operate the scheme can be found Here, at the foot of the page, along with other useful information and advice from Revenue during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Just to note, Any employer, already registered with Revenue for the purposes of the Employer COVID-19 Refund Scheme (which is set to be replaced by the TWSS on Thursday 26 March), is not required to take any further action in terms of registering for the TWSS. It is important to ensure that refund account details on Revenue record are correct. These can be checked and updated in ROS under the “Manage Bank Accounts” section, and “Manage EFT” under the Refunds subsection as circled below in the ROS screenshot.
Please note that Government and 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 from their financial adviser before making financial decisions.
The following information is sourced from Revenue.ie (25 March 2020)
* Source: Revenue.ie
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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