NEW – TEMPORARY COVID-19 WAGE SUBSIDY SCHEME
The Temporary Wage Subsidy Scheme is a new measure announced by Government to provide financial support to Irish workers affected by the COVID-19 crisis. Employers are able to claim back 70% of employees’ net (take home) wage, up to a maximum of €410 per week, if they have lost at least 25% of their turnover between 14th March 2020 and 30th June 2020, and keep employees on the payroll throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. Importantly it means employers can retain links with employees for when business picks up after the crisis.
The subsidy completely replaces the Covid-19 Employer Refund Scheme that was introduced last week.
The scheme will run for 12 weeks from Thursday 26th March 2020.
To qualify for the scheme, employers must:
- Be experiencing significant negative economic disruption due to Covid-19;
- Be able to demonstrate, to the satisfaction of Revenue, that they have suffered a minimum of a 25% decline in turnover;
- Be unable to pay normal wages and normal outgoings fully; and
- Retain their employees on the payroll.Note: The scheme is confined to employees who were on their employer payroll as at 29th February 2020, and for whom a payroll submission has already been made to Revenue in the period from 1st February 2020 to 15th March 2020.
Registration for this scheme is completed by the employer or their agent through ROS myEnquiries, selecting the ‘COVID-19: Temporary Wage Subsidy’, reviewing and submitting the self-declaration.
It is open to 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 its employees.
Key Features of the Temporary Wage Subsidy Scheme
- It replaces the previous COVID-19 Refund Scheme.
- It is open to employers who retain staff on payroll; some staff may be temporarily not working or some may be on reduced hours and/or reduced pay.
- Initially from 26th March 2020 the subsidy scheme will refund employers up to a maximum of €410 per week for each qualifying employee. However, employers should pay no more than the normal take home pay of the employee.
- The subsidy scheme applies to employers who top up employee wages and also those that are not in a position to do so.
- Employers make this special support payment to their employees through their normal payroll process.
- Employers will then be reimbursed for amounts paid to employees and notified to Revenue via the payroll process.
- The reimbursement will, in general, be made within two working days after receipt of the payroll submission.
- In April, the scheme will move to a subsidy payment based on 70% of the employee weekly net pay to:
- a maximum of €410 per week where the average net weekly pay is less than or equal to €586; or
- a maximum of €350 per week where the average net weekly pay is greater than €586 and less than or equal to €960.
- Income tax and USC will not be applied to the subsidy payment through the payroll. However, the Subsidy will be liable to Income Tax and USC on review at the end of the year.
- Employee PRSI will not apply to the subsidy or any top up payment by the employer.
- Employers PRSI will not apply to the subsidy will be reduced from the standard rate to 0.5% on the top up payment.
- The names of all employers operating this scheme will be published on Revenue’s website in due course, after the scheme has expired.
- 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.
UPDATE – COVID-19 PANDEMIC UNEMPLOYMENT PAYMENT
The COVID-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment has been increased from €203 to €350 per week effective from 24th March 2020. There are no changes to the qualifying criteria, so as before it is available to employees (including students and part-time workers) who have lost their jobs, and the self-employed who have ceased trading due to the COVID-19 Pandemic, provided you meet the qualifying conditions:
- be aged between 18 and 66,
- live in RoI, and
- as a result of the pandemic have lost your job or, if self-employed, have ceased trading.
If you have already applied before the 24th of March or are already in receipt of the Pandemic Unemployment Payment you do not need to do anything. Your next payment will be paid at the increased rate.
Importantly the scheme will now operate for the duration of the pandemic – originally it was limited to a maximum of 6 weeks. Therefore there is no necessity to apply for Jobseekers unless you have an adult and child dependant and may be entitled to more than the €350 weekly payment.
UPDATE – COVID-19 ILLNESS PAYMENT
The Government has increased the COVID-19 Illness benefit payment from €305 per week to €350 effective from 24th March 2020.
It will be paid for a maximum of 2 weeks where a person is self-isolating and for a maximum of 10 weeks if a person has been diagnosed with COVID-19 (Coronavirus). If a person has been certified for less than 10 weeks, they will be paid for the duration of their certificate.
To be eligible you must be self-isolating on the instruction of a doctor or diagnosed with COVID-19 by a doctor, and must be confined to your home or a medical facility.
If you are diagnosed with COVID-19, or advised to self-isolate by a doctor, the doctor will then complete a medical certificate on your behalf and send this directly to the department. To complete the medical certification, your doctor will ask you for your name, PPSN and Date of Birth.
Alternatively, if you have been advised by the HSE that you must self-isolate (e.g. contact tracing), you will have received a text or a letter from the HSE. You will need to submit a copy of this notification with your Illness Benefit application form – see below.
If you are returning from travel abroad and following HSE self-isolation advice, and are not being paid by your employer, you will require your GP to complete a medical certificate on your behalf.
You need to complete a paper application for Illness Benefit – Form IB1. This form is not available to download – see link below on how to apply: