Frequently Asked Questions on the Employment Wage Subsidy Scheme (EWSS)

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Frequently Asked Questions on the Employment Wage Subsidy Scheme (EWSS)The Employment Wage Subsidy Scheme replaced the current Temporary Wage Subsidy Scheme (TWSS) for Irish employers from 1st September. The scheme is expected to run until the end of March 2021, and the switch to it will significantly impact many organisations’ payroll services.

At a recent Payroll Event, two of our payroll experts addressed several of the most frequently asked questions:

Is EWSS eligibility calculated on month to month basis? (For instance. If your business has 65% of 2019 turnover for September, but then 72% of turnover for October, is it still eligible for the wage subsidy.)

  • EWSS eligibility is based on July to December 2019 as a cumulative rather than a month by month basis. Employers are then asked to consciously review their eligibility on the last day of every month to ensure they continue to meet the edibility criteria.

Can the EWSS be applied to new staff?

  • Correct. Unlike the TWSS, the EWSS is available to new hires and seasonal staff

Where can I register for the EWSS scheme on ROS?

  • You must log onto your ROS account, and scroll to the bottom of the screen, and select ‘Manage Tax Registrations’. On the eRegistration screen scroll down to EMPLOYMENT WAGE SUBSIDY SCHEME (EWSS) and click “Select Action”. Click on “Link to a new registration”. Employers who operate payroll weekly may need to consider registering as soon as possible to ensure that they can claim the subsidy in respect of the first pay period in September.

Must each staff member be a full-time member, or working a certain number of hours a week to qualify for the EWSS?

  • There are no guidelines issued by Revenue in relation to Full Time / Part Time employees. It is based on the gross pay the employee is to be pay in that pay period. If it falls into the €151.50 to €202.99, the employer will receive €151.50 subsidy, from €203 to €1,462 the employer will receive €203, anything below €151.50 or above €1,462 the employer will receive zero subsidy.

Are the Restart Grant and monies received from the previous Temporary Wage subsidy Scheme (TWSS) considered to be state aid?

  • The EWSS states that in order to be eligible for the scheme that you need to prove that your business is experiencing at least a 30% decline in trade and this decline factors in sales/orders and state aid received during the six-month period from 1st July to 31st December 2020. Revenue states that subsidies received are taxed on the employers as part of their trading income but are ignored in the calculation of the 30% reduction in turnover. For the purposes of qualifying for the EWSS and on a without prejudice basis, Revenue regards the recently announced Restart Grant as capital in nature and therefore not included in the definition of turnover for the purposes of assessing employer eligibility for the scheme.

By Morgan Campbell of Paycheck Plus