Wednesday, 29 July 2020
Department of Finance
Covid-19 Pandemic Supports
127. To ask the Minister for Finance the reason the rate of wage subsidy payment to an employee (details supplied) in County Kerry has been reduced; if the rate will be reviewed; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [19386/20]
The Temporary Wage Subsidy Scheme (TWSS) was introduced on 26 March 2020 to provide income support to eligible employees where the employer’s business activities have been negatively impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic.
The transitional phase of the scheme operated until 3 May 2020, while the necessary IT systems were being developed. This transitional phase provided a subsidy of 70% of the average net weekly pay up to a maximum of €410 in respect of eligible employees. The operational phase of the scheme was introduced from 4 May 2020 and included increased subsidy rates of 85% as well as a tapering mechanism that ensures the subsidy payment plus any additional payment by the employer does not exceed the employee’s ‘normal’ average weekly wage. The amount of subsidy due to eligible employees is based on their ‘average net weekly pay’ (ARNWP), which is calculated using the pay and tax details as reported to Revenue in the employer’s payroll submission for each pay date in January and February 2020.
I am advised by Revenue that the person in question had two active employments in January and February 2020. One of these employments was ceased on 30 April 2020 and that employer did not avail of the TWSS on behalf of the person. However, in order to calculate the amount of wage subsidy payable to the person, the earnings from both active employments were combined and each employer was provided with details of the Maximum Weekly Wage Subsidy payable and the Maximum Weekly Employer Pay before tapering would apply.
The person’s current employer has received TWSS payments on her behalf since 15 April 2020. During the transitional phase of the scheme, i.e. for pay dates between 15 April and 3 May 2020, the employer received a subsidy of €410 per week. In the operational phase of the scheme, i.e. for pay dates from 4 May 2020 onwards, the maximum wage subsidy payable is €247.71. The employer may also pay an additional gross (top-up) payment such that the gross pay plus the temporary wage subsidy for the person does not exceed €299.88 per week.
Revenue has confirmed that for pay dates from 13 May 2020 to 24 June 2020 the employer paid €104.34 per fortnight (€52.17 per week), which is the maximum top-up amount payable under the scheme before tapering of the wage subsidy would apply. The additional fortnightly gross amount paid on 8 July 2020 was reduced by the employer to €52.17. It was reduced further by the employer on 22 July 2020 to €48.
While employers are expected to make best efforts to maintain employees’ net income as close as possible to their ‘normal’ wage, there is no minimum amount that the employer must pay as an additional gross (top-up) payment in order to be eligible for the scheme. In the specific case to which the Deputy is referring, it is a matter for the person in question to address with the employer why the additional top-up amounts have reduced in recent weeks.