The Emergency Measures in the Public Interest (Covid-19) Bill 2020 was signed into law on 27 March 2020 and introduced the Temporary Wage Subsidy Scheme (TWSS). The TWSS, which superseded the Employer Covid-19 Refund Scheme, took effect from 26 March 2020. The scheme was expected to last 12 weeks from this date. On 5 June, the scheme was extended by the Minister for Finance and Public Expenditure and Reform, Paschal Donohoe T.D. to 31 August 2020.
Initially the subsidy scheme refunded employers €410 for each qualifying employee i.e. Transitional Phase of the TWSS. From 4 May 2020, the subsidy payment moved to a system based on the previous average net weekly pay for January and February 2020 for each employee i.e. Operational Phase of the TWSS.
To qualify for the scheme, a business must have experienced a significant negative economic disruption due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Key indicators of this were that the employer’s turnover was likely to decrease by 25% for quarter 2, 2020; that the business was unable to meet normal wages or normal outputs and any other indicators set out in Revenue guidelines.
Revenue will perform a reconciliation of employer refunds made to the employer for the duration of the scheme i.e. the difference between subsidy the employee was eligible for and the €410 that Revenue refunded to the employer during the Transitional phase. In Stage one, employers are required to report the actual subsidy paid to their employees for each pay date. In Stage two, Revenue will determine the amount of TWSS, if any, owing back to Revenue from employers. Each active payslip will be reconciled. This stage is due to commence in October 2020.
During the implementation of measures to combat the economic disruption resulting from the public health crisis the Institute was in constant contact with Revenue on the operation of the Temporary COVID-19 Wage Subsidy Scheme (TWSS). We submitted extensive lists of queries that members had raised with us, such as, issues relating to the employer eligibility criteria, qualifying employees, timelines, worked examples, payroll reconciliation exercises etc. Revenue responded directly to the Institute’s list of queries on the scheme and we circulated these responses to members in TaxFax on 3 April, 24 April and 12 June 2020.
To help members understand and implement the scheme, we held two complimentary webinars for members on the Transitional Phase of the TWSS and Operational Phase of the TWSS with Revenue on Thursday, 16 April 2020 and Monday, 8 June 2020 respectively. We held a third complimentary webinar on 17 August 2020, during which Revenue provided an update on the TWSS and answered questions on the TWSS compliance checks, reconciliation exercise and the end of year review.
The recordings of the webinars are available here:
Watch the webinar – 16 April
Watch the webinar – 8 June
Watch the webinar – 17 August
Revenue continued to work through the issues raised and update its Frequently Asked Questions: Guidance on the Operational Phase of the COVID-19 Temporary Wage Subsidy Scheme on an ongoing basis. We will keep members informed of developments through Twitter, this webpage and TaxFax.
September 2020 – COVID-19 Wage Subsidy Scheme statistics
March 2020 – Temporary COVID-19 Wage Subsidy Scheme
March 2020 – Employer COVID-19 Refund Scheme
Department of Finance
Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection (DEASP)