Employment Wage Subsidy Scheme – Extension Announced

Update 10 June 2021: The system item for EWSS has been updated to allow for the extension.

Today’s blog post will look at the recently announced extension of the Employment Wage Subsidy Scheme (EWSS), to 31 December 2021. 

As discussed in previous blog posts, the EWSS is the follow-on program from the previously implemented Temporary Wage Subsidy Scheme (TWSS). It represents a substantial and key part of the Government’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic with the aim of supporting businesses, encouraging employment and helping to maintain the link between employers and employees.

The scheme represents an important bridge between the Pandemic Unemployment Payment (PUP) and regular employment, which is the ultimate goal.

It has recently been announced that the Employment Wage Subsidy Scheme will be extended beyond 30 June 2021, until 31 December 2021.

It should be noted that:

  • Current enhanced payment rates will be maintained for Quarter 3 (July, August, September) at current turnover thresholds. 
  • In order to benefit more firms, the time period for assessment will be broadened from the current 6 month period of assessment to a full 12 month period. This will ensure businesses and their workers are supported through the earlier part of the recovery and in recognition of the value of workers maintaining their links to the labour market. 
  • Two important questions have come up recently which have not been resolved, but have been noted and will be considered during the remainder of 2021:
    • whether an employer contribution to employee benefits in terms of the scheme will be required; and 
    • the issue of the appropriate calibration of rates of subsidy for the final quarter of the year. 

The EWSS is seen as a very important part of the re-opening process and it is hoped that it will align incentives with the need for businesses to attract staff and that people benefit from a return to employment.

Our team is already working on the necessary updates to the system which will allow you to apply the EWSS system item to your employees for payslips beyond June 2021 and up to the new end date.

If you have any questions on how the information above relates to SimplePay, please feel free to contact us at [email protected].

Keep well and stay safe.

Team SimplePay

Pandemic Unemployment Payment and Returning to Work

Monday 12 April 2021 was a day that gave cause for cautious optimism, as the Government began loosening restrictions and reopening the country. Provided COVID-19 numbers remain subdued over the coming months, many employees that have been relying on Pandemic Unemployment Payments (PUPs) since December 2020 can begin to return to work. 

Our blog post today is aimed at informing you on the process and what is required of you and your employees when making this transition.

Returning to Work

The very first thing that your employee needs to do on the date that they return to work is close their PUP claim on the DEASP website.

Until this is done, the process to change the employee’s RPN cannot begin and so will result in them paying more tax. The process is as follows:

  1. Your employee closes their PUP claim on the DEASP website.
  2. DEASP will make the last PUP payment due to your employee, before closing the claim on their system and informing Revenue.
  3. On receiving the information for DEASP, Revenue will update your employee’s tax credits in line with the amount received through PUP, before creating an updated RPN on a week 1 basis. 

From the date your employee(s) close their PUP claim, it will take approximately two weeks before an updated week 1 RPN will be available. If your employees are paid weekly or fortnightly for these pay periods they will pay more tax, due to no tax credits being available on the RPN.

This is unfortunately an unavoidable feature of the transition, but there are some things that you as an employer can do to minimise the extra tax your employees will have to pay:

  1. Encourage your employees to close their PUP claim on their first day back at work – this will get the process started.
  2. Pull RPNs for your employees as close to the payment date as possible – this will maximise the chances of receiving an updated RPN for your employee(s), reflecting that they’ve returned to work.

Any overpayments of tax and/or USC will be reimbursed, but employees will need to wait for their Statement of Liability in 2022, meaning that it is better to use the updated information  now if possible and save the wait.

NOTE: Overlap between PUP payments and first week back

The PUP system works as follows:

  • Friday of any given week: people enrolled for PUP are noted for payment in the following week.
  • Tuesday of the following week: PUP payments are made in accordance with the list of people collected on the Friday.

If your employee returns to work on a Monday and immediately closes their PUP claim, as they were still registered as unemployed on Friday they will still receive a PUP payment for their first week back at work. In other words the first week back they will receive both their salary and a PUP payment.

This is not an error so do not be concerned when this occurs. If you would like to learn more about the taxation of PUP for 2021 and the effect of returning to work, you can find out more on the Revenue page.

We hope that you have found the above information useful. If you have any questions on how the information above relates to SimplePay, please feel free to contact us at [email protected]

Equally, if you are not yet a client of SimplePay but would like to be, or if you’d like to know how we can take the effort out of filing and calculating payroll, get in contact with us or visit our website: www.simplepay.ie

Keep well and stay safe.

Team SimplePay

TWSS Reconciliation

As you’re likely aware, the Temporary Wage Subsidy Scheme (TWSS) was introduced last year to help mitigate the adverse effects of the pandemic on employment. Affected employers could receive income support for their employees, helping avoid layoffs over the period that trade was restricted. A requirement to partaking in TWSS was that employers would need to carry out a reconciliation process after the scheme had reached completion. The first phase of this occurred in October 2020, where employers were required to submit reconciliation reports, as covered in our previous blog post.

This Monday (22 March 2021) the reconciliation window for TWSS opened. Between now and 30 June 2021 you will need to log into ROS, check the information recorded to be correct, make amendments if necessary, and submit your reconciliation. 

If you haven’t already, you will receive a notification in your ROS inbox when your reconciliation information is available.

IMPORTANT: The deadline for completing the reconciliation is not until 30 June 2021. Before you review and accept your reconciliation balance on ROS, you need to read through Revenue’s guidance on the TWSS reconciliation to ensure that you complete it correctly. This provides a useful overview, as well as information on each key step of the reconciliation process.

In section 4 “How to review and correct subsidy paid data” we would recommend that you make any necessary amendments directly on ROS. This will immediately update your information to give you an up to date statement of account on submission.

Information about TWSS reconciliation can also be found in this Revenue Press Release, and in this Extensive Guide which covers the whole process in detail.

What Happens Next?

Whether or not you make any amendments to the amount of TWSS paid to your employees on ROS, Revenue will combine this information with any payments you have already made to issue you with a statement of account. This will show the amount that either you or Revenue owe to the other.

PRSI Corrections Post TWSS Reconciliation

The J9 PRSI class contributes to the number of insurable weeks of the last used non-J9 PRSI class. As a result, you’re unlikely to need to make any manual changes to the PRSI class.

However, where PRSI Class J9 was applied to your employees’ payslips and:

  • You opted out / reversed out of TWSS;
  • You were ineligible for TWSS;
  • One or more of your employees were ineligible for TWSS; or
  • Certain payslips were ineligible

then an adjustment may be required.

If Revenue has raised a PAYE or PRSI assessment with you for some or all of 26 March to 31 August 2020, then you should confirm with the caseworker whether you need to make any adjustments.

More information on changing PRSI classes on payslips for the TWSS period can be found here.

Useful Links

We hope that you have found the above information useful. If you have any questions on how the information above relates to SimplePay, please feel free to contact us at [email protected]

Equally, if you are not yet a client of SimplePay but would like to be, or if you’d like to know how we can take the effort out of filing and calculating payroll, get in contact with us or visit our website: www.simplepay.ie

Keep well and stay safe.

Team SimplePay

Level 5: Support for Businesses

As of midnight on 21 October, the whole of Ireland entered into level 5 of lockdown for a period of 6 weeks. Our blog post today looks into changes that have or are to be made to existing schemes, in order to help support your business and employees.

Employment Wage Support Scheme (EWSS)

The rate of subsidy for EWSS has been revised to help support your business under level 5. The EWSS rates are to be aligned with the PUP rates of payment. If your employees’ gross earnings were €400 or more per week prior to the pandemic, they will now receive €350.

These changes will be effective from the next payroll date, after 19 October 2020. For convenience we have attached the revised rates in the table below:

COVID-19 Restriction Support Scheme (CRSS)

The eligibility criteria for CRSS have been relaxed, meaning your company can qualify for it provided that your turnover is no more than 25% of the average weekly turnover for a period equal to the same number of weeks in 2019. New businesses will instead be required to use figures from 2020. If your business is affected by entering into level 5, this might provide you with a means of further relief, in addition to EWSS.

To qualify, your business must be operating from premises wholly located in a region which is subject to restrictions under the Government’s “Resilience and Recovery 2020: Plan for Living with Covid-19”.  As a result, you must be required to prohibit or restrict members of the public from entering your premises. Generally, restrictions apply at levels 3, 4 and 5, but your business might still qualify at lower levels, depending on your circumstances.

The support provided is as follows. Up to the first €20,000 of your company’s 2019 average weekly turnover, you will receive a 10% cash payment. If your business’s weekly turnover was greater than €20,000, any  amounts above this will accumulate additional payments at 5%, up to a maximum payment of €5,000 per week from the scheme. Therefore, to get the maximum amount, your business’s average weekly turnover in 2019 would need to be €80,000.

The scheme is due to run between 13 October 2020 and 31 March 2021, but Revenue is still in the process of adapting their systems for the scheme. Therefore the first payment under CRSS will be delayed until the CRSS system is live.

For more information on the CRSS, you can read the Government’s overview letter here.

Pandemic Unemployment Payment (PUP)

In relation to PUP, the Government has introduced a fourth bracket of payment. If your employee’s gross earnings were €400 or more per week prior to the pandemic, they will now receive €350 from their PUP payment. This aligns PUP with EWSS.

This change takes effect for all new applications received from 16 October 2020. All the other PUP brackets remain unchanged at €203, €250 and €300.

New applicants are being urged to apply online at MyWelfare.ie.

Sectors Exempted from Level 5 of Lockdown

If your business falls within one of the Government’s listed essential services or essential retailers, your business is permitted to continue operating under level 5.

The list of essential retailers can be found here.

The list of essential services can be found here

Please note that both these lists only apply to level 5 and may be changed if the lockdown level drops.

We hope that you have found the above information useful. If you have any questions on how the information above relates to SimplePay, please feel free to contact us at [email protected] 

Equally, if you are not yet a client of SimplePay but would like to be, or if you’d like to know how we can take the effort out of filing and calculating payroll, get in contact with us or visit our website: www.simplepay.ie

Keep well and stay safe.

Team SimplePay

EWSS Sweepback Process

As you are no doubt aware, the Temporary Wage Subsidy Scheme (TWSS) came to a conclusion on 31 August, and has been replaced by the Employment Wage Subsidy Scheme (EWSS). If you are not familiar with EWSS, you can read about it on our help page. Some of your employees may not have been eligible for TWSS, adding to your financial burden. To make sure that support in relation to such employees doesn’t fall through the cracks, Revenue has implemented the July / August EWSS sweepback (the sweepback).

Under the sweepback, eligible employers can backdate a claim for EWSS to 1 July for the relevant eligible employees. This is allowed under the following circumstances:

  • The employer was not eligible for TWSS; or
  • The employer had employees ineligible for TWSS.

How to Apply

If you want to apply for the sweepback, you need to fill in this Sweepback CSV Template and submit it on ROS when this facility becomes available on 15 September 2020. All applications for the sweepback must be submitted before 14 October 2020 through ROS to be considered.

Revenue has released this handy guidance document for the sweepback process covering eligibility, how to apply, how to fill in the CSV as well as how to upload it to ROS. 

EWSS Claims from September Onwards

As we love making your payroll a doddle, for the wider EWSS scheme we have created a new EWSS system item. If you as a company and some or all of your employees qualify for EWSS, the relevant employees should have the EWSS item added for the months that they qualify from September onwards. This has no effect on the payslip or calculations, but will inform Revenue of the relevant amounts due. You can read more about this in our previous blog post from 31 August.

Not a SimplePay client? Our self-service portal allows employees to view payslips and tax certificates, update their personal information and submit leave and claims for payslip items. It’s one of the many features that makes payroll with SimplePay so easy. Not convinced? We offer a free 30 day trial that lets you try out our system to see if it suits your payroll needs. You can sign up for the trial here.

Team SimplePay

Employment Wage Subsidy Scheme

The Employment Wage Subsidy Scheme (EWSS), a COVID-19 relief measure, is effective from tomorrow (1 September 2020) is currently expected to run until 31 March 2021 (although provision has been made for a possible extension at a later stage). This scheme replaces the Temporary Wage Subsidy Scheme (TWSS) which comes to an end today (31 August 2020). 

If your business’s turnover has been impacted by COVID-19 and you require cash flow relief to pay employees, you may qualify for the new EWSS. The specific eligibility requirements for receiving the EWSS are outlined on our help page.

As a result of the changes discussed above, we have made adjustments to the system to assist you in making claims and to keep you compliant:

  • The Temporary COVID-19 Wage Subsidy Scheme system item on SimplePay can no longer be added to payslips dated after 31 August 2020. 
  • We have created a new system item called Employment Wage Subsidy Scheme which can be added to payslips dated after 31 August 2020. 

The new EWSS system item should only be added if you are a qualifying employer AND it should only be added to the payslips of qualifying employees. You need to evaluate eligibility on a monthly basis. Revenue may consider it an offence if you add it to payslips if the qualifying criteria have not been met for that period.  

Adding the new EWSS system item to an employee’s payslip will have no impact on an employee’s payslip or any of its calculations. However, it will be reported to Revenue when completing your submission for the pay period so that claims can be calculated and validated, since the subsidy amount depends on an employee’s earnings:

Employee Gross Weekly WagesSubsidy Payable
From € 151.50 to € 202.99€ 151.50
From € 203 to € 1,462€ 203

The total subsidy amount calculated for all employees as a result of these claims will then be paid out by Revenue on a monthly basis.

For more information on this scheme, head to our help page.

Team SimplePay

Introducing EWSS and TWSS Reconciliation

Amongst many other vital schemes, programmes and incentives, the Government’s July stimulus package signposted the upcoming transition from the Temporary Wage Subsidy Scheme (TWSS) to the Employment Wage Subsidy Scheme (EWSS). Naturally, as the TWSS starts to draw to a close, the reconciliation of this scheme will begin. In today’s blog we shall give you an outline of what you can expect in the near future with respect to EWSS, as well as the purpose of and likely process for TWSS reconciliation as we come to the end of TWSS.

Employee Wage Subsidy Scheme

The EWSS is due to succeed TWSS in supporting employers in paying employee’s wages and will at least run until April 2021, with the possibility of extension after this date. TWSS is currently still in operation, but is due to close on 31 August. Although EWSS has now opened and is available for the months of July and August, if you are currently participating in the TWSS scheme you should not switch to EWSS until 1 September 2020. There are some fundamental differences between the two schemes, which we have detailed below:

Update 6 August: Proprietary directors reinstated to the EWSS from 1 September – see here.

EWSS vs TWSS

TWSSEWSS
Eligibility Criteria25% reduction in turnover / Customer Orders / reasonable basis for Q2 of 202030% reduction in turnover / Customer Orders for the period of July to December 2020, compared to the same period in 2019. (More to be announced for companies not in operation before July 2019).
Proprietary directors can partake from 1 September.
Certain restrictions for connected persons.
Amount paid Under the schemeUp to €410 per employee per week, dependent on salary and employer top upsUp to €203 per employee per week, dependent on salary.
Purpose of the fundingEmployee wagesCompany subsidy
Tax on scheme amountsNot subject to PAYE, USC or PRSI for employees or employers, but taxable on assessment for employees. Reinstatement of PAYE, USC and employee PRSI payroll deductions for employees. Employers PRSI contributions reduced to 0.5%.
Unclear on the tax treatment of the payments to the employer from the EWSS. 
Scheme Operational between1 March to 31 August 20201 July 2020 to  31 March 2021

Revenue is finalising the exact ways in which the EWSS scheme will be run and processed through payroll. They have also stated that if employers wish to participate in EWSS before 1 September, this must be done separately to payroll and so SimplePay will unfortunately not be able to assist you if this is what you wish to do.

When we have a full picture of how the scheme will be implemented and put into effect, we shall inform you on how SimplePay is catering to your needs and making your payroll a doddle!

TWSS Reconciliation

Due to the nature of the situation brought about by COVID-19, the TWSS had to be implemented swiftly to ensure that companies and their employees were supported. Because it was important that employees received funds, the TWSS payments were treated as a non-taxable benefit in terms of PAYE, USC and PRSI, but would be taxable on assessment. Due to this expedited implementation, for the first two months that TWSS was running there was no way of recording the subsidy amount on an employee’s payroll submission. To address this, part way through the scheme Revenue introduced a new payment field labeled “other payment” to allow for subsidy payments to be recorded on employees’ payroll submissions.

The aim of the reconciliation is to:

  • establish the actual subsidy amounts which were paid to each employee; 
  • see if the correct amounts were paid to each employee in the months before accurate subsidy values were provided by Revenue; and
  • settle the difference for these early months between the employer’s and Revenue’s calculated values.

As the framework for this reconciliation process is being finalised, SimplePay will take all the necessary actions to make your processing of this as smooth and hassle free as possible.

We hope that you have found the above information useful. If you have any questions on how the information above relates to SimplePay, please feel free to contact us at [email protected] 

Equally, if you are not yet a client of SimplePay but would like to be, or if you’d like to know how we can take the effort out of filing and calculating payroll, get in contact with us or visit our website: www.simplepay.ie

Keep well and stay safe.

Team SimplePay

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.