Upcoming Operational Phase for the Temporary COVID-19 Wage Subsidy Scheme

Updated 5 May 2020: Revenue have made the CSV file available in ROS Employer Services under “Request RPN’s”. A new option is available called Download Temporary Wage Subsidy Scheme calculation.

Updated 4 May 2020: We have updated our Help Site here with the changes.

With the Operational Phase of the Temporary COVID-19 Wage Subsidy Scheme coming into effect on 4 May 2020, we would like to remind you of the changes that you can expect.

The amount of employees’ wage subsidy and top-up will be calculated differently from 4 May and will no longer use their respective calculation of 70% and 30% of the Average Revenue Net Weekly Pay (ARNWP). Revenue provides information on their website on how you will be required to calculate the subsidy amounts based on the following tiers: 

  • An ARNWP less than €412
  • An ARNWP more than €412, but less than €500
  • An ARNWP more than €500, but less than €586
  • An ARNWP more than €586, but less than €960
  • An ARNWP more than €960

Please make use of the Revenue calculator mentioned below to ensure that your employees are paid the correct subsidy amounts.

Process Overview

Revenue will provide employers with a CSV file, which contains the information required for you to accurately calculate the maximum wage subsidy and the maximum top-up amount above which you will be required to reduce the subsidy amount paid to ensure employees do not earn more than their ARNWP. When the Operational Phase goes live on the 4th of May, Revenue will also provide a calculator on their website. You should use this to calculate the wage subsidy you want to pay your employees if you pay a top-up amount greater than the max top-up amount shown in the CSV. 

Once you have determined the wage subsidy and top-up amounts to use for each of your employees, you can simply add the Temporary COVID-19 Wage Subsidy Scheme item with the correct amounts to your employee’s payslips using our Bulk Inputs functionality. More information on how to add this scheme using Bulk Inputs can be found here. Please note that you will only be able to do this for this particular scheme from 4 May 2020.

Revenue Issue with Cessation Dates

Revenue has informed us that there is a known issue for certain submissions made through the Temporary COVID-19 Wage Subsidy Scheme. Submissions which contain PRSI class J9, but also include the cessation date of an employee may lead to refunds being rejected. They are busy investigating and will look to make a fix after the Operational phase of the scheme goes live on 4 May. 

For more information on the Temporary COVID-19 Wage Subsidy Scheme please visit the Revenue FAQ or take a look at our previous blog to see how to add it on SimplePay.

We hope that this information proves useful to you. If you have any queries on how the above relates to payroll and the SimplePay system, please feel free to get in touch with our customer support team at [email protected]

Keep well. Stay home. Stay safe.

Team SimplePay

Updates to the Temporary COVID-19 Wage Subsidy Scheme

The Temporary COVID-19 Wage Subsidy Scheme provides financial support to employees affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. This scheme allows employers to pay their employees a non-taxable subsidy amount as well as an additional top-up amount. These amounts are subject to certain maximums based on the employee’s Average Revenue Net Weekly Pay (ARNWP), calculated based on the amounts submitted to Revenue for January and February 2020. 

For more information on the Scheme and how you can operate it through SimplePay, please visit our blog post here.

Since introducing subsidy measures, there have been a few changes in the rules and application. On Wednesday 15 April, the Minister for Finance announced further updates to the Temporary COVID-19 Wage Subsidy Scheme. These changes allow for employees with an ARNWP of more than €960 to now receive support under this scheme with effect from the 16th April 2020. Previously employees with an ARNWP higher than €960 were offered no relief in the form of subsidies.

From 4 May 2020, the Scheme will ensure that employers are informed by Revenue of the maximum subsidy amount payable per employee based on their ARNWP. It will also allow Revenue to refund employers a more accurate amount.

Additionally, from 4 May, employees whose ARNWP is less than €500 will also benefit from an improved subsidy amount.

Note: The subsidy will be tapered to ensure that the employee’s current net weekly pay (subsidy amount plus top-up amount) does not exceed the lesser of the ARNWP and €960 per week. Effectively, this means that employees whose usual pay amount has been reduced but is still above €960 are not eligible for the subsidy.

More information on the aforementioned changes be found on the Revenue website here.

Updates to COVID-19 System Items

We have implemented two changes to our COVID-19 system items: Temporary COVID-19 Wage Subsidy Scheme and COVID-19 Employer Refund Scheme.

Temporary COVID-19 Wage Subsidy Scheme

Revenue has introduced a new field to the Payment Submission Request (PSR) for amounts paid to employees under the Temporary COVID-19 Wage Subsidy Scheme.

We have updated our system to incorporate this change. When adding the Temporary COVID-19 Wage Subsidy Scheme system item to an employee’s payslip (outlined in this blog post) the subsidy amount will be reported separately to Revenue. This is reflected in the Other Payments column in the Excel spreadsheet showing submissions to Revenue. Revenue has indicated that they may use this field when doing reconciliation later in the year for the subsidy payments made to employees.

To view the Excel spreadsheet, go to Filing > Regular submissions and click on the Excel link under the relevant period date.

 COVID-19 Employer Refund Scheme

The COVID-19 Employer Refund Scheme was applicable from the 15th to the 25th March 2020. To avoid errors in reporting, the system item for it was removed when the Temporary COVID-19 Wage Subsidy Scheme replaced the COVID-19 Employer Refund Scheme. However, we have made the system item available again for those employers who paid employees under this Refund scheme but did not finalise payslips and submit the information to Revenue. Please only use this system item if you made an actual payment to employees during the 15-25 March period. If the payment was made after the 25th March, you must use the Temporary COVID-19 Wage Subsidy Scheme system item.

To add the system item to payslips with a payment date in the 15-25 March period, go to the employee’s profile. Click on Add next to Payslip Inputs and select COVID-19 Employer Refund Scheme (obsolete).

Pay Frequency Expansion

At SimplePay, we realise the importance of balancing simplicity with functionality that allows you to customise the system for your payroll needs. That’s why we’ve expanded our pay frequency settings to give you more flexibility to customise payment dates.

As most employers align their pay frequency end date with the payment date to employees, SimplePay based all calculations on the payslip end date, which you could customise for your business. The extension of the pay frequencies functionality caters for employers where there are significant differences between the payslip end date and the payment date (for example, an employee is only paid one week after their payslip date). You can now set a payment date that falls in the current, previous or following month (for monthly pay frequencies) or set a payment date relative to the payslip end date (for other pay frequencies). You can also edit the payment date for individual payslips.

This increased flexibility to tailor the system allows you to better align the tax, tax credits, tax cut-offs and year-to-date total calculations with your business practices. The payment date will also be used to determine in which submission and tax year the payslip will be included.

To specify a payment date:

  • Go to Settings > Pay Frequencies
  • Select the pay frequency to edit or add a new pay frequency. Editing pay frequencies will impact tax calculations, so this should be done with caution.
  • Select the checkbox Pay date is different to the period end date?
  • For monthly pay frequencies, specify the date of the payment in the current, previous or next month
  • For other pay frequencies, specify the relative payment date
  • Click Save when you are satisfied with the pay frequency set up.

For more information on pay frequencies, head over to our help page here.

Team SimplePay