Written answers

Wednesday, 20 May 2020

Department of Finance

Covid-19 Pandemic Supports

Johnny Mythen (Wexford, Sinn Fein)
Link to this: Individually | In context | Oireachtas source

128. To ask the Minister for Finance if the procedures of the wage subsidy scheme will be investigated (details supplied). [6822/20]

Photo of Paschal DonohoePaschal Donohoe (Dublin Central, Fine Gael)
Link to this: Individually | In context | Oireachtas source

Section 28 of the Emergency Measures in the Public Interest (Covid-19) Act 2020 is the legislation underpinning the Temporary Wage Subsidy Scheme (TWSS).  The Government’s priority in so far as the TWSS is concerned was, and is, to ensure that all employers experiencing significant negative economic disruption from COVID-19 can register for, and start to receive, payment quickly. The purpose of the scheme is to ensure that the relationship between employers and employees is maintained to the greatest extent possible so that businesses can restart operations quickly once that is possible. Eligibility for the scheme can be satisfied by an employer once they meet the relevant criteria. 

The TWSS scheme is available to eligible employers across all sectors, excluding the Public Service and Non-Commercial Semi-State Sector. This includes businesses that have closed due to the Covid-19 restrictions and those that continue to operate and employ their workforce.  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 regarding the subsidy amount based on whether the business has closed for any defined period due to the restrictions brought in by the Government or has continued to trade with employees continuing to work full time or part time, with similar hours as before the Covid-19 pandemic.  

The employer is expected to make best efforts to maintain the employee’s net income, reflected in the average net weekly payment for January and February 2020, for the duration of the TWSS. There is, however, no minimum amount that the employer must pay as an additional payment in order to be eligible for the scheme, but, for Revenue operational systems reasons, the employer will need to enter at least €0.01 in Gross Pay when running its payroll.  If the employer makes an additional payment greater than the difference allowed by the scheme, then the subsidy value refundable to the employer will be reduced by this excess amount when the refund reconciliation is performed by Revenue in due course. 

Revenue published detailed guidance on employer eligibility and supporting proofs for the TWSS and it is available on the Revenue website:

www.revenue.ie/en/corporate/communications/documents/guidance-on-employer-eligibility-and-supporting-proofs.pdf.

Photo of Martin HeydonMartin Heydon (Kildare South, Fine Gael)
Link to this: Individually | In context | Oireachtas source

130. To ask the Minister for Finance if he has considered an extension of the wage subsidy scheme to include self-employed persons; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [6859/20]

Photo of Paschal DonohoePaschal Donohoe (Dublin Central, Fine Gael)
Link to this: Individually | In context | Oireachtas source

The legislation underpinning the Temporary Wage Subsidy Scheme (TWSS) is contained in Section 28 of the Emergency Measures in the Public Interest (Covid-19) Act 2020. Of necessity, the legislation and the scheme itself were developed very quickly to support the urgent Government objective of getting much needed assistance to employers and employees that have been seriously affected by the pandemic. 

The TWSS builds on data returned to Revenue through its real-time PAYE system. The self-employed are not taxed under the PAYE system. It must be accepted that the underlying legislation and the scheme itself simply cannot be tailored to meet every individual unique set of circumstances. 

The TWSS in its current form allows the concentration of resources to protect incomes, in a proportionate way having regard to available resources, employer contribution and the broader suite of COVID-19 related supports put in place by the Government.

As you are aware, the Government has announced a range of measures designed to support businesses during the COVID-19 crisis, details of which are available at: www.gov.ie/en/publication/fe8f00-government-outlines-further-measures-to-support-businesses-impacted-/. 

Currently, I have no plans to extend the TWSS to self-employed persons.  However, the Deputy may wish to be aware that the Pandemic Unemployment Payment mentioned in the above Press Release is available to self-employed persons.

Cormac Devlin (Dún Laoghaire, Fianna Fail)
Link to this: Individually | In context | Oireachtas source

131. To ask the Minister for Finance the status of the temporary wage subsidy scheme; the number of companies availing of the scheme; the cost and value of refunds due to companies for each of the weeks ending 15 March to 3 May 2020, in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [6887/20]

Photo of Paschal DonohoePaschal Donohoe (Dublin Central, Fine Gael)
Link to this: Individually | In context | Oireachtas source

The Temporary Wage Supplement Scheme (TWSS) commenced on 26 March 2020.  

Revenue has regularly published statistics on the operation of the Temporary Wage Subsidy Scheme (TWSS) since 9 April 2020.

On 14 May, Revenue published updated and expanded statistical information in relation to the scheme. These statistics are available on Revenue’s website at the following link:

www.revenue.ie/en/corporate/information-about-revenue/statistics/number-of-taxpayers-and-returns/covid-19-wage-subsidy-scheme-statistics.aspx.  

The data published include the cost of the scheme to date as well as detailed information on employers and employees in receipt of payments under the scheme.

As at 14 May, Revenue report that over 53,900 employers had registered with Revenue for the TWSS and that over 47,300 employers had received subsidy payments.

The cumulative costs as reported by Revenue are as follows:

Date Reported Cumulative Cost (€M)
9 April 155
17 April 300
23 April 430
30 April 712
7 May 838
14 May 936

Revenue has advised me that it is continuing to undertake further analysis of TWSS and will publish updated and expanded statistics on a regular basis. These updates will also be published at the link above.

Comments

No comments

Log in or join to post a public comment.