Tuesday, 29 September 2020
Department of Finance
Wage Subsidy Scheme
64. To ask the Minister for Finance if taxi drivers will be transferred to the employment wage subsidy scheme in view of the fact that the income from their business has been greatly reduced and once they return to work they are no longer eligible for the pandemic unemployment payment; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [25970/20]
80. To ask the Minister for Finance if he will meet with the four taxi representative groups (details supplied) to discuss a wage subsidy scheme for their industry; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [26719/20]
I propose to take Questions Nos. 64 and 80 together.
Bearing in mind my schedule in the run up to the Budget, I would be happy to arrange a meeting between senior officials from my Department and the groups mentioned.
However, I would also like to inform the Deputy that I am aware already of the concerns that have been raised from a number of quarters regarding the pace of recovery for certain sectors of the economy and that it has been suggested that the application of the EWSS should be delineated on the basis of explicit sectoral qualification criteria.
At the same time, the reality of COVID-19 is that our whole economy and labour market have been rapidly transformed by this unprecedented shock and nearly all sectors have been negatively impacted either directly or indirectly.
The EWSS has therefore been deliberately designed as an economy wide measure that is open to all sectors as was the case for the TWSS before it.
The availability of the support by reference to a turnover test means that the scheme can be applied across the whole economy while at the same time remain targeted at employers who are considered to be most in need of support.
For those businesses who need further support, there are a number of options open to them – including State backed loans which may be repaid using EWSS funds as well as grants. Particular attention is drawn to the comprehensive package of business and employer supports that have been made available as part of the July Stimulus Plan - including the Credit Guarantee Scheme, the SBCI Working Capital Scheme, Sustaining Enterprise Fund, and the Covid-19 Business Loans Scheme.
The ongoing economic impact will continue to be monitored closely, as will the recovery.
65. To ask the Minister for Finance the number of persons in County Louth aged between 18 to 21, 22 to 25, 25 to 30, 30 to 35 and 35 to 40 years of age respectively, in receipt of the employment wage subsidy scheme in tabular form. [26519/20]
The Temporary Wage Subsidy Scheme (TWSS), which was provided for in section 28 of the Emergency Measures in the Public Interest (COVID-19) Act 2020, expired on 31 August 2020. It was replaced by the Employment Wage Subsidy Scheme (EWSS) from September 1 2020, which was legislated for under the Financial Provisions (Covid-19) (No. 2) Act 2020. The specific nature and terms of the EWSS are separate and distinct from the TWSS.
It is important to emphasise that the EWSS is a subsidy to the employer, unlike the TWSS which was an income support to the employee paid via the employer. The EWSS is an economy-wide scheme that focuses primarily on business eligibility, delivering a per-head subsidy on a flat rate basis. A subsidy of either €151.50 or €203 may be claimed by the employer retrospectively for every worker who is paid between €151.50 and €1,462 per week.
EWSS registered employers must file payslips with Revenue for claims in respect of relevant pay periods. Until these processes are completed it is not possible to know the number of employees (nor their characteristics or locations) that will be supported under the scheme. For example, the payslip information for EWSS recipient employers for September will be available in mid-October and Revenue has confirmed that it will publish employee level information as soon as is practicable after that date.
The Deputy may be interested to note that Revenue has already begun to publish weekly statistics updates on the EWSS as employers continue to complete the registration process. These statistics are available on www.revenue.ie. By 25 September 2020, some 36,746 employers had registered for EWSS. The statistics show the breakdown of the registered employers by size, sector and county.