Update: Employer COVID-19 Refund Scheme

Author: Alan Homewood

    3 minute read    

Yesterday you may have read our blog about the new Employer COVID-19 Refund Scheme, a special support payment of €203 per week, which allows employers to pay their employees who are temporarily laid off. This amount can be paid by the employer through payroll, being refunded the day after the submission is made. You can read more about this on our blog post here.

We have been hard at work making changes to our system in order to cater for these payments to employees and the submissions to Revenue. A new COVID-19 Employer Refund Scheme item can be added as follows:

  • Go to Employees
  • Select an employee
  • Select Add next to Payslip Inputs
  • Select the COVID-19 Employer Refund Scheme item
  • Enter the corresponding amount based on the employee’s pay frequency

Employees who have been temporarily laid off can be paid €203 per week under this scheme. Therefore employers must input the correct amount based on the employee’s pay frequency:

  • Weekly – €203
  • Every 2 weeks – €406
  • Monthly – €812 (for 4 weeks in a month) or €1015 (for 5 weeks in a month)

This amount is not subject to tax, USC or PRSI. 

If you have multiple employees per week and want to save some time, you can use our Bulk Input functionality. Visit our Help Site here for more information.

Employees under this scheme must not receive any other wage payments from their employer, including wage top ups, overtime, shift allowance and on-call payments. As such, you will need to set the Basic Salary to 0 and remove any other Payslip Items and Regular Items on the payslip before finalising. 

Finalised payslips with the COVID-19 Employer Refund Scheme item added will generate a submission, with the J9 PRSI class included. This PRSI class lets Revenue know that the employee has been paid under the COVID-19 Employer Refund Scheme. You will not need to make any changes to the employee’s PRSI class or PRSI exemption status, this is done automatically when the COVID-19 Employer Refund Scheme item is added.

One possible situation that could lead to complications is where employees are paid monthly or fortnightly, but have been laid-off part way through their pay period. In this scenario, employers should not finalise the payslip, but should first switch their employees to a weekly pay frequency, allowing for the worked weeks to be separated from payments under the COVID-19 Employer Refund Scheme. The worked weeks should have the monthly pay pro-rated accordingly. This is in line with Revenue’s recommendations in their guide for the Operation of the COVID-19 Employer Refund Scheme, which can be viewed here

Note: In the aforementioned guide, a pay amount of €0.01 is required in order for payroll to run. The reason for this is that some payroll systems require a sum submitted under salary in order to function. Luckily for you, with SimplePay no amount is needed under Basic Salary for you to run your payroll, meaning the payslips’ basic salary will read zero. Revenue has communicated directly with us that the €0.01 is not required and employers will still receive a refund when submitting €0.00. 

Revenue has advised that if an employee has already been terminated due to temporary lay-offs, the special payment will need to be claimed directly from the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection (DEASP) and not through payroll. Even if you reinstate your employee through payroll, Revenue will not be refunding employers if they have previously made a payroll submission with the employee’s cessation date.

Please refer to the Revenue guide for the Operation of the COVID-19 Employer Refund Scheme as it provides a more in depth overview of the scheme. To register for the scheme please follow the guidelines provided by Revenue here.

Team SimplePay