EWSS Monthly Eligibility Check – July Extension and Error Fixing

In this blog post we will look at the recently announced extension in the time allowed to complete the July 2021 EWSS online eligibility check to 15 August 2021 and the consequences of that extension. We will also note some recently discovered errors with the EWSS online system which were  identified after the applications process started and which are currently being dealt with by Revenue.

July 2021 Online Eligibility Check Extension

As noted above, the deadline for the July 2021 EWSS eligibility check has been extended from 30 July to 15 August 2021.

EWSS online eligibility check is set up so that the first time you complete it you are required to provide details of your actual turnover for the first 6 months of 2019 and 2021, as well as monthly projections for the remaining 6 months of 2021. 

Then, on the 15th of each following month, you are required to update the projections you provided with the actual turnover value for the previous month.

Please note that two submissions will now be due on 15 August 2021, due to the extended deadline:

  • The first submission with the 2019 data, 2021 data and July estimates; and
  • The second submission being the July actual figures update.

Technical Errors

Recently there have been a few errors with Revenue’s eligibility check process, especially in relation to the completion of the Eligibility Review Form (“ERF”). There are three main categories of errors which have come up so far and that Revenue are dealing with:

1 – ERF eligibility check for businesses which commenced between 1 January and 31 October 2019 

Eligibility is assessed by comparing your 2019 submissions with those of the equivalent period in 2021 and unfortunately when the ERF was developed, the 2019 figures were annualised and compared with 2021 actual amounts. This has had unintended consequences whereby a relatively small number of submissions have been incorrectly deemed ineligible or eligible for EWSS.

Ineligible Business / Not Claiming

  • A business who is ineligible is not required to complete the online eligibility check and should deregister for EWSS. 
  • If such an employer completes it (for whatever reason) and the ERF incorrectly states they are eligible, this should be ignored and EWSS should not be claimed. 
  • Any EWSS claimed in error should be refunded.

Eligible Business Intending to claim

  • Completion of the ERF is required for eligible businesses who are claiming EWSS. 
  • those who are incorrectly deemed ineligible, please make contact through MyEnquiries seeking to have the stop on EWSS payment removed.

A solution here is being looked at seriously and will be announced as soon as implemented.

2 – ERF declaration for businesses which commenced between 1 January and 31 October 2019 

It seems that Revenue has had an influx of communication from employers who have displayed a reluctance to sign the declaration due to the fact that the 2019 totals showing on the submission differ from those submitted due to the 2019 annualization by the system (discussed above). 

Revenue has advised that employers should sign this declaration if they are satisfied the figures entered by them are correct. They are currently working on revised wording for declarations by these businesses and will advise when it is available.

3 – Employers with more than one business type

There are three categories of employers (business type) for selection at the initial stage of the ERF completion:

  1.  Registered childcare businesses;
  2.  New Businesses (those who commenced after 1 November 2019); and
  3.  All Others.

In instances where employers fit into ‘All Others’ as well as one of the other two, they should select the ‘All Others’ option and ignore any other applicable options

Where employers have a number of eligible businesses, one ERF should be completed with details of all eligible businesses included.

4 – The ‘New Business’ 

There have been situations where employers of entities which have activity prior to 1 November 2019 have selected ‘New Business’ and have consequently been rejected. 

Where employers have incorrectly selected this option, contact should be made through ‘MyEnquiries’ setting out details of error made and seeking that same be amended.

Any further queries on the above should be directed to the appropriate Revenue channel.

Should you have any questions regarding SimplePay or any of our services, please feel free to contact [email protected] for assistance.

Keep well and stay safe.

Team SimplePay

Employment Wage Subsidy Scheme – eligibility reporting from July 2021

Our last blog post explored the extension of the EWSS to 31 December 2021. As you know, to qualify for the EWSS employers must show a 30% reduction in turnover in comparison to the same period in 2019. Employers are required to review their eligibility on a monthly basis, but this was an internal check. 

On 1 July 2021 Revenue introduced an important change to this review process, where now employers need to submit reports directly to ROS. The purpose of today’s post is to provide an overview of this change and outline the steps you need to take to remain compliant.

EWSS eligibility review from 1 July 2021

From 1 July onwards, to be able to continue benefiting from the EWSS employers are required to complete an “Eligibility Review Form” on ROS. Forms are completed on a monthly basis and must be completed:

  • Between 21st and 30th July for your July submission; and
  • By the 15th of the month for each subsequent submission.

The first time you complete the form you’ll be required to provide details of actual turnover (excluding VAT) for the first 6 months of 2019 and 2021, as well as monthly projections for the remaining 6 months of 2021. Then, on the 15th of each following month, you will need to update the projections with the actual turnover value for the previous month.

Having completed the form, if you are calculated to no longer qualify for EWSS a warning message will appear on ROS, instructing you to cease claiming the subsidy and de-register. Equally, if you fail to complete the form for a given month, your subsidy payment will be suspended until the review form has been completed.

More information on the changes mentioned above can be found in Revenue’s “Guidelines on eligibility for the Employment Wage Subsidy Scheme from 1 July 2021”, released on 9 July 2021. If you have any technical queries about the Eligibility Review Form, you can contact the ROS technical help desk on  01 738 3699, or email them at [email protected]

If you found the above information useful but are not yet a client of SimplePay, you can get in touch with us at [email protected], browse our website or sign up for a free 30-day trial to get an idea of how we can save you time and effort on your payroll! 

Keep well and stay safe.

Team SimplePay

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

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

Updates to the Temporary Wage Subsidy Scheme

The Temporary Wage Subsidy Scheme (TWSS) was introduced to provide financial support to employees affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. This scheme came into effect on the 26 March 2020. More information on the TWSS can be found on our help site here.

Extension of the TWSS

Last week Minister Donohoe announced that the TWSS will remain in place until the end of August, extending the expected end date by two months. Discussions will be held towards the end of August to determine whether further extension of the scheme will take place after this extended period. 

Employees Returning from Maternity and Other Related Leave

On 29 May 2020, the Minister also announced that the eligibility of employees for the TWSS will be expanded to include employees returning to work following a period of maternity, paternity or other related leave. Additionally, employees that were in receipt of illness or other benefits paid by the Department of Employment Affairs & Social Protection (DEASP) may also now be eligible for the scheme.

Employers wishing to avail of the scheme for the aforementioned employees, can now apply through ROS myEnquiries. These employees will be included in a revised CSV file, which employers can use to pay their employees a subsidy amount. More information on which employees will now be eligible, as well as the steps required to apply can be found on Revenue’s website here.

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].

Team SimplePay

Temporary COVID-19 Wage Subsidy Scheme

31 March 2020: Clarified that only submissions made on or after the 26th March 2020, with a Pay Date on or after the 26th March 2020 will qualify for this scheme.

27 March 2020: Included a note that the subsidy amount is reckonable income that may be taxed at a later stage by Revenue.

On Tuesday, 24 March the Government announced a new Temporary COVID-19 Wage Subsidy Scheme which is aimed at providing financial support to employees affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. This new scheme comes into effect for any submissions made from, and with a Pay Date from, the 26 March 2020. This new scheme builds on the previous Employer COVID-19 Refund Scheme, mentioned in our recent blogs:

Employers, who have applied on ROS to operate under the Temporary COVID-19 Wage Subsidy Scheme,  will be able to make a non-taxable subsidy payment to employees along with a taxable top-up contribution through payroll. The subsidy payment will be refunded by Revenue to the employer after the submission is made to Revenue.

The Temporary COVID-19 Wage Subsidy Scheme will be available for employers who keep employees on their payroll throughout the COVID-19 pandemic and is not limited to employees who are temporarily laid-off as per the previous scheme.

How to Add the Temporary COVID-19 Wage Subsidy Scheme item on SimplePay

We have revised the scheme item we previously blogged about and have introduced a new Temporary COVID-19 Wage Subsidy Scheme item. This item can be added as follows:

  • Go to Employees
  • Select an employee
  • Select Add next to Payslip Inputs
  • Select the Temporary COVID-19 Wage Subsidy Scheme item
  • Enter the Subsidy amount
  • Enter the Top-up amount

In an effort to allow employers to continue to pay their employees the amount they would normally be paid, Revenue have allowed for a maximum amount of 70% of the employee’s Average Net Weekly Pay to be subsidised by the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection (DEASP) and a maximum amount of 30% of the employee’s Average Net Weekly Pay to be topped up by employers. More information on this is provided below.

Subsidy Amount

The Subsidy amount entered should be equal to 70% of the employee’s net weekly pay, with:

  • 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

The Subsidy amount will not be subject to Income Tax, USC or PRSI.

Please note: the Subsidy amount is reckonable income, which may be taxed at a later stage by Revenue. Revenue will be providing information on this on their website.

Top-Up Amount

If an employer wants to make a taxable payment to their employee, they can capture an amount less than or equal to 30% of the employee’s Average Net Weekly Pay in the Top-up amount field. This amount will be included in Gross Pay and will be subject to Income Tax, USC and PRSI as calculated by the RPN. However, there will be no employee PRSI applied and the employer PRSI will be reduced to 0.5% of the top-up payment. 

Note that if the employer captures more than 30% in the Top-up amount field (i.e. the employee receives more than their Average Net Weekly Pay), Revenue may reduce the Subsidy amount refunded to the employer. 

Calculating the Average Net Weekly Pay

For now, employers are required to calculate the employee’s Average Net Weekly Pay when capturing these amounts. To calculate the Average Net Weekly Pay, employers must use the values in the payroll submission for each pay date in Jan and Feb 2020:

  1. Take the employee’s “Gross pay” and from it subtract the “Income Tax Paid”, the “USC Paid” and the “Employee PRSI Paid“.
  2. Total this figure for each pay date in Jan and Feb 2020 and divide this by the number of insurable weeks (capped at 9) for the period.
  3. This gives you the employee’s average pay that is to be used for the Subsidy amount field.

Revenue has published guidance in the form of Frequently Asked Questions, which provide a worked example for the calculation of the employee’s Average Net Weekly Pay. This can be found here.

PRSI Class J9

Finalised payslips with the Temporary COVID-19 Wage Subsidy 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 Temporary COVID-19 Wage Subsidy 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 Temporary COVID-19 Wage Subsidy Scheme item is added.

Gross Pay of €0.01

Revenue have stated that a pay amount of €0.01 should be included in Gross Pay if no Top-up amount is captured. 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.

How to Apply to the Scheme:

Employers, and their agents, will need to apply to Revenue to operate the Temporary COVID-19 Wage Subsidy Scheme. To do this, please follow the steps outlined by Revenue in the “Registering for the Temporary Wage Subsidy Scheme” section. Employers, already registered with Revenue for the purposes of the Employer COVID-19 Refund Scheme, are not required to take any further action.

Employers must not operate this scheme for any employee who is making a claim for duplicate support (e.g. Pandemic Unemployment Payment) from the DEASP.

More information on the scheme can be found on Revenue’s website here.

As always, we’re here to help where we can. Please feel free to get in touch if you need help with any of the above on SimplePay.

Team SimplePay

Update: Employer COVID-19 Refund Scheme

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

Employer COVID-19 Refund Scheme

On 15 March 2020, Regina Doherty, the current Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection (DEASP) announced that workers who are temporarily laid off due to COVID-19 (Coronavirus) will be able to claim a special support payment of €203 per week. 

Revenue and DEASP unveiled an optional “Employer COVID-19 Refund Scheme”, which allows for employers to make payments to the value of €203 per week to their employees directly, through the normal payroll process. 

The amounts paid to employees under the scheme are not subject to tax, USC or PRSI. Revenue will also reimburse these payments to the employer’s bank account the day after the submission is made (starting Tuesday 24 March).

We are currently working on changes to our system to allow for these payments to be correctly catered for in the submissions to ROS. We will keep you updated and let you know when these changes are Live! In the meantime, employers, and their agents, will need to apply to Revenue to operate this new Employer COVID-19 Refund Scheme. To do this, please follow the steps outlined by Revenue in the “Making an application for the Refund Scheme” section.

Some key requirements to be able to partake in the scheme include:

  • Employees must have been temporarily laid off. Employees who have merely had their hours reduced due to COVID-19 will not be eligible for this scheme.
  • Laid off employees must possess a PPSN.
  • Employees must have been included on a payroll submission, made by the employer between 1 February 2020 and 15 March 2020.
  • Employees must be receiving no other wage payment from their employer, including wage top ups, overtime, shift allowance and on-call payments.

IMPORTANT INFORMATION: Should employers wish to partake in this scheme, employees should not be terminated on SimplePay and should remain as active employees for the duration of the scheme. 

More information has been provided by the DEASP and Revenue

Thank you for your patience whilst we implement these changes.

Team SimplePay