Wednesday, 20 May 2020
Department of Finance
Covid-19 Pandemic Supports
103. To ask the Minister for Finance if residents of direct provision centres that were in taxable employment prior to the Covid-19 restrictions being put in place are eligible to participate in the wage subsidy scheme; and if not, the reason therefor. [6314/20]
The Temporary Wage Subsidy Scheme (TWSS) makes no distinction between employees by reference to their place of residence. All eligible employees of qualifying employers are entitled to the wage subsidy.
The TWSS is provided for in section 28 of the recently enacted Emergency Measures in the Public Interest (Covid-19) Act 2020 (The Act). Of necessity, the underlying legislation and the scheme itself have been developed very quickly, having regard to the objective of getting much needed assistance to employers and employees, where businesses have been seriously affected by the pandemic and the necessary restrictions introduced to fight the spread of the Covid-19 virus.
The TWSS builds on data returned to Revenue through its real-time PAYE system. It must be accepted that the underlying legislation and the scheme itself cannot be tailored to meet every individual unique set of circumstances for either employers or employees. The core principles of the scheme are that
- the business is suffering significant negative economic impact due to the pandemic,
- the employees were on the payroll at 29 February 2020, and
- the employer had fulfilled its PAYE reporting obligations for February 2020, by 15 March 2020 (which date was recently extended to 31 March 2020 by Revenue concession and subject to conditions).
The TWSS is predicated on the employer wanting to keep the employees on the payroll and to retain them until business picks up. The amount of the subsidy for each employee is calculated based on the average net weekly pay reported for January and February 2020.
There is no distinction made with regard to the subsidy amount, on the basis of whether the business has closed due to the restrictions brought in by the Government, or whether the business has continued to trade with employees continuing to work part-time or full time with similar hours as before the Covid-19 pandemic.