On the 19th October 2020, the Irish government placed the country into Level 5 of the Plan for Living COVID-19, which took effect on the 21st October 2020 midnight for a period of six weeks, with limited exceptions for essential retail and essential services.
In lieu of the foregoing decision, the government has elected to revise the Employment Wage Subsidy Scheme and the Pandemic Unemployment Payment so as to counteract the significant impact businesses will face over the course of the next six weeks. As a result, both schemes will be increased from Tuesday the 27th October onwards until the end of January 2021.
EMPLOYMENT WAGE SUBSIDY SCHEME [‘EWSS’]
On the 1st September the EWSS replaced the Temporary Wage Subsidy Scheme.
The EWSS is available to those, as a result of COVID-19 have experienced a 30% reduction in turnover or orders between the 1st July 2020 – 31st December 2020. In consideration of such, regard showed be had to the following:
- The same period in 2019 where the business was in existence prior to July 2019 or
- The date of commencement to December 2019 or
- Where a business commenced after 1st November 2019, the projected turnover or orders
Employers must also have an up to date tax clearance certificate to be eligible for the EWSS.
Equally, employers must undertake a review on the last day of each month to ensure their continued eligibility for the EWSS. In the event that employers are no longer eligible must deregister with effect form the following day, that being the 1st of the next month.
EWSS is available to businesses as a whole or “business divisions” provide the company is:
- Formally structured into business divisions;
- The reduction in turnover can be separately identified; and
- The business divisions have clearly defined and distinct management structures which have been formalised prior to pandemic
Timing of Payment
The EWSS is paid to employers immediately following the monthly Employer PAYE Return Submission Statement is available, that being the 5th of the following month.
PANDEMIC UNEMPLOYMENT PAYMENT [‘PUP’]
The PUP is available to all individuals who register before 31st December 2020 and:
- Is aged between 18 and 66 years old and
- Is currently living in the Republic of Ireland and
- Has lost their job due to COVID-19 pandemic or
- Has been temporarily laid off due to COVID-19 pandemic or
- was self-employed and their trading income has ceased or reduced due to COVID-19 to the extent that they would be available to take up full-time employment; and
- not in receipt of income from an employer and is genuinely seeking work
As it stands, the PUP shall remain in place until April 2021. From the 27st October 2020 onwards PUP shall be paid on four rates, depending on the individuals prior earnings:
 the Financial Provisions (COVID-19) (No.2) Act 2020 (Act No.8 of 2020)