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Coronavirus COVID-19 Wage Subsidy Scheme: what does it mean for employers?

Coronavirus (COVID-19) has significantly impacted businesses in Ireland, with whole industries – such as hospitality and travel – ground to a halt, leaving many employers facing tough decisions when it comes to staff retention.

In light of this, and in a bid to support those impacted by the virus, the government announced the introduction of temporary new measures. These measures come as welcome news to employers, as they aim to provide financial assistance to help businesses retain their workforce through the coronavirus crisis and safeguard workers from being made redundant.

Here we look at what we already know about the Coronavirus Wage Subsidy Scheme– who it applies to, how long will it last and other questions which are crucial to your understanding of what it means for you and your employees.

At Boyce Kelly Solicitors LLP, we are here to help you through this time. You can contact us on 074 9890190 or by completing the online enquiry form, and one of our specialists will get back to you as soon as possible.

How does the scheme work?

The Coronavirus COVID-19 Wage Subsidy Scheme offers employers a refund to cover 70 per cent of wage costs for their staff, up to a maximum of €410.00 per employee per week ( until 4th May, when the rates change). As an employer, it is at your own discretion, whether you can or decide to top up the remaining 30 per cent of your employees’ wages. The scheme is very flexible in that you can benefit from it whether your employees are working or not. You should seek your employee’s consent to being placed on the Scheme.

Am I eligible for the scheme?

The Wage Subsidy Scheme will apply to all employers who have lost a minimum of 25% of turnover because of the COVID-19 pandemic between 14th March and 30th June 2020. A declaration to that effect will have to be made by each employer availing of the scheme to Revenue.

IN addition, to be eligible you must be unable to pay normal wages and normal outgoings fully and you must keep your employees on your payroll. Employees must have been on the payroll on 29th February 2020 and you must have made a payroll submission on their behalf between 1st February and 15th March 2020.

**This has now been revised. You can now access the scheme if you made your February payroll submission to Revenue prior to 1st April 2020 and all other payroll submissions had been made prior to 15th March 2020.

How can I apply for the scheme?

If your accountant looks after your payroll filings, he/she will apply for the subsidy on your behalf as they have direct access to the ROS system and your company details. Otherwise, you can apply online by logging in to ROS myEnquiries and selecting the category COVID-19: Temporary Wage Subsidy, submit the declaration, make your payroll submission, check your bank account details are correct for the refund and pay your staff member as appropriate. The subsidy should arrive on your account within 2 working days on the payroll submission being made.

What information do I need to make a claim?

All of your payroll information will already be stored on ROS, the online Revenue service. You just need to know whether you are topping up your employee(s) wages over and above the amount of the subsidy and add this amount when prompted on the application.

Find out more

Find out more about your options for retaining your staff, without making redundancies, in our article here.

Can my employees still do some work for me while they are on the Wage Subsidy Scheme?

Yes, the scheme allows employees to work where they are working in an ‘essential service’, or not work, if there is no work for them.

Contact our Employment Lawyers in Donegal

For further advice and support for employers, on this topic or any other employment law query, contact us today on 074 9890190 or complete our online enquiry form.

This guide does not constitute legal advice and is provided for general information purposes only. If you require specific legal advice you should contact one of our lawyers who can advise you based on your own circumstances.

Please note this information is accurate as of 1 May 2020 and is subject to change as official guidance is adapted to reflect the implications of the virus.

Employment Law Coronavirus COVID-19 Wage Subsidy Scheme: what does it mean for employers?