Employment Wage Subsidy Scheme – Extension Announced

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

Week 53 Guidance for Non-Monthly Salaried Employees

Week 53 payments apply to employees that you pay on a weekly, fortnightly or four-weekly basis and whose final pay date of the year falls on 30 or 31 December. They arise every five or six years, due to the fact that a standard year has 52 weeks and one (1) day. 

This year has a week 53 scenario, so to ensure that your employees get tax credits and deductions and so reduce the amount of tax they pay, we’ve made this blog post to guide you on the steps to follow.

Weekly / Fortnightly Employees Whose Pay Dates Don’t Fall on Friday, 1 January 2021.

By week 52 of the tax year, an employee taxed on the cumulative basis has exhausted his or her annual allowances, tax credits and rate bands. This means that if week 53 continued to be taxed in the same way, your employees would experience a drop in their take home pay.

To get around this, the submission for Week 53 needs to be done on a week 1 basis for your non-monthly paid employees.

To do this, all you need to do on SimplePay is:

  1. Ensure you have the correct / latest RPN or the relevant employees; and
  2. complete your submission to Revenue for the relevant period.

Your employees will receive additional amounts of tax credits and rate bands, proportional to their pay frequency to accommodate the extra submission (e.g. an increase of 1/52 the value of the credits and deductions is provided for weekly paid employees).

Weekly / Fortnightly Employees’ Whose Pay Date Falls on Friday, 1 January 2021.

You are normally required to report your employees’ pay to Revenue on or before their pay date. However, if you pay your non-monthly paid employees on a Friday, the week 53 pay date falls on Friday, 1 January 2021, which is a bank holiday. 

Where an employee’s pay date falls on a bank holiday you’re allowed to pay your employees on the previous working day (i.e. Thursday 31 December 2020). If this applies to some of your employees, you must do the following:

  1. Ensure you have the correct / latest RPN or the relevant employees;
  2. Record the pay date as 1 January 2021 and NOT 31 December 2020
  3. Complete your submission to Revenue for the relevant period.

SimplePay will use the RPN to calculate the amounts due, based on the 2021 credit rates and rate bands. Because this allows the use of 2021 rates, the payment falls in the 2021 tax year and so it is not a week 53 payment.

Reminder for 2021 Payroll Submissions

At the start of each year the RPNs from the previous year will expire, meaning that for us to calculate your employees’ tax liability, we need you to create / request a new RPN for the new year. The default until this has been completed is to process tax on the emergency basis, so we would strongly recommend you do this before making any payments or submissions for 2021.

As we like to make your life easy, SimplePay allows you to do this as one single bulk action. All you need to do is sign into your SimplePay profile and go to:

  • Employees > Bulk Actions > Update RPNs.
  • Use the checkboxes next to the employees’ names to select which employees you wish to request an RPN for.
  • Click Create / Update at the top of the screen.

That’s it, you’re then ready to complete your first pay run of 2021. Easy! More information on this can be found on our help site page, linked here

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

UI Tweaks for Profile Pages

We take our mission of simplifying payroll seriously! It’s why we believe that the small details matter. With that in mind, you may have noticed some slight changes to our user interface for profile pages, such as Companies, Billing and User Profile. These are the pages that you can access when clicking on the profile icon. 

We’ve made these changes so that you can more easily identify when you are working on your profile as opposed to within a specific company, eliminating any confusion around whether your changes will apply at a company or profile level. 

When working in a specific company, you’ll see the usual interface that you have come to know. When working on one of the profile pages, you’ll now see the following changes:

  • In the top left corner, you’ll now see the G-ref number for your profile or the page name, depending on which page you are on. The top bar has also changed to a darker colour to make it clear that you are working on the profile as a whole and not on a specific company.
  • The sidebar menu for the company that you were working in no longer appears. To return to the company, click on the link that says “Go back to <company name>” that appears in the top left corner next to the G-reference number of page name.

We hope you enjoy this small, but useful change to your user experience.

Not a SimplePay client but want a payroll software provider that cares about your experience? SimplePay offers a free 30-day trial that allows you to see just how easy your payroll experience can be. You can sign up here.

Team SimplePay

New System Items for Salary Sacrifices

Providing employees with bicycles as part of the Bike-to-Work scheme or travel passes for commuting to work can be great ways to offer tax-free benefits to employees while also encouraging more sustainable travel solutions. You may wish to recoup some or all of the costs associated with these benefits by offering employees a salary sacrifice. Our new system items simplify the process of correctly recording and reporting these salary sacrifices.

These new system items are set up to automatically reduce the gross pay that is reported to Revenue by the amount of the salary sacrifice for the period. The reduced gross pay also means that the salary sacrifice for the period correctly reduces the PAYE, USC and PRSI automatically calculated by the system, without you needing to manually set up a custom item for this.

The Bike to Work – Salary Sacrifice system item allows you to spread the salary sacrifice over multiple pay periods, since these are usually large once-off purchases. You can record the total value of the benefit that needs to be recouped through a salary sacrifice and how much of this will be recouped on each payslip. The system will then automatically keep track of the balance that still needs to be recouped in forthcoming pay periods.

For information on how to use these system items, refer to the following help pages:

More information on the concepts of Bike to Work, travel passes and salary sacrifices can be found in the following articles:

We hope these new system items make your payroll processing even easier.

Not a SimplePay client but want an easy-to-use payroll software solution that is tailored to Irish payroll legislation? We offer a free 30-day trial that allows you to see just how simple payroll processing can be. You can learn more and sign up 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

New Process for Company Transfers

At SimplePay, the protection of your data and privacy is of utmost importance to us. With that in mind, we’re changing the way that we do company transfers. Our new 4-step process makes company transfers even more secure and gives you greater control over the process. 

Company transfers involve moving a company from one SimplePay profile to another. Transferring the company will change which profile owns the company on SimplePay and consequently which profile gets billed for the company.

It is important to note the following, which often causes confusion:

  • Ownership of a company on SimplePay is not necessarily related to the actual ownership of a business. When a new company is added to SimplePay, it belongs to the profile that the user was logged into when creating it. For example, a small business may be owned by an entrepreneur, but the company’s payroll is managed by an accounting firm. If the company was added to the accounting firm’s profile, the accounting firm is the owner of the company on SimplePay, even though they are not the owners of the registered business.
  • The need for company transfers must not be confused with the need for different users. If you need to give or revoke an individual’s access to a company, this can be done by adding or removing the individuals as users. (The exception being that you cannot remove the account owner i.e. the user with the email address used to create the profile that owns the company).

The following examples illustrate when company transfers are necessary:

  • A business’s payroll is managed by an accounting firm and the business now wishes to process their own payroll. The company on SimplePay would be transferred from the accounting firm’s profile to the business’s profile.
  • A business is sold. The previous owners should no longer have ownership of the company on SimplePay. The company on SimplePay would need to be transferred from the prior owner’s profile to the new owner’s profile.

If you have determined that a company transfer is necessary, you will need to follow our 4-step process for company transfers, which is outlined in the following help article:

Can I transfer a company to a different profile?

Not a SimplePay client but want to enjoy the benefits of secure payroll? Unfortunately our payroll system is only available to clients. The good news is that we offer a 30 day free trial and sign up is a breeze! You can find out more and sign up for a trial here. Come and experience the joy of stress-free payroll.

Team SimplePay

Improved Functionality for Deleting Leave Requests

At SimplePay, we believe in continuous improvement and are therefore committed to refining and enhancing the system to better suit your needs. With that in mind, we have made tweaks to our leave functionality to improve the deleting of leave requests. We’d like to highlight some of these changes:

  • In addition to payroll administrators and leave admins, previously approved leave requests can now also be deleted by any leave approver that is part of the employee’s approval group.
  • Where the payslip for the period when the leave dates occurred is unfinalised, the leave request will immediately be deleted in its entirety when clicking on Delete
  • Leave requests with leave dates that fall during a pay period with finalised payslips will result in the opening of a new screen when clicking on Delete. From this screen, you can
    • see which of the leave days cannot be deleted as they impact the pay on a finalised payslip, and which of them can be deleted;
    • directly open the payslip where the nett pay is impacted by the leave, if you have administrator rights in addition to being a leave approver; 
    • opt to delete leave in its entirety (the default) or superficially*.

*The Retain these leave dates? checkbox is used to indicate whether leave should be deleted in its entirety or superficially. If you leave the option unchecked, the leave request will be deleted in its entirety (the leave request will be deleted, the leave days will be removed from the calendar and the leave days will be added back to the employee’s leave balance). If you select the checkbox, the leave request will be deleted superficially (only the actual request will be deleted, but the leave will remain recorded in the leave calendar and the leave balance will still take into account the leave days recorded).

You can read more about deleting leave on our help page here.

We hope these improvements provide more useful information and a more enjoyable user experience. 

If you require any assistance, please reach out to our Support team here.

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