Tuesday, 13 October 2020
Department of Finance
Wage Subsidy Scheme
108. To ask the Minister for Finance if an employer remains eligible to recoup the maximum allowable weekly subsidy for an individual employee based on their average revenue net weekly pay, ARNWP, for January and February 2020 as referred to in the Revenue Commissioners’ guidelines on the temporary wage subsidy scheme if the employee had since been subjected to a short-time working week and was in receipt of jobseeker's benefit for days of unemployment during the short-time week; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [30077/20]
109. To ask the Minister for Finance if the Revenue Commissioners will seek to recoup an overpayment of subsidy in the case of an employee who has been placed on a short-time working week and is in receipt of Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection benefits and their net pay for each remaining day of paid employment during the week exceeded one fifth of their ARNWP; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [30078/20]
I propose to take Questions Nos. 108 and 109 together.
The Temporary Wage Subsidy Scheme (TWSS) ceased on 31 August 2020 and was replaced by the Employment Wage Subsidy Scheme (EWSS) from 1 September 2020. When operational, the TWSS supported more than 66,000 employers in respect of approximately 664,000 employees at a cost of €2.9 billion to the Exchequer.
The TWSS was predicated on the employer wanting to keep the employees on the payroll and to retain them until business picks up. The TWSS only operated in respect of an employee, whether full-time or part-time, who was on the payroll of the relevant employer as at 29 February 2020.
The amount of the wage subsidy for each employee was based on the average net weekly pay reported by the employer under the PAYE system for January and February 2020. There was no distinction made regarding the wage subsidy amount based on whether the business was closed due to the Covid-19 restrictions or had continued to trade with employees working part-time or continuing to work full-time with similar hours as before the Covid-19 pandemic. There was also no requirement for employers to pro rata the subsidy based on whether the employee was temporarily laid off or working full or part-time. The employer was expected to make best efforts to maintain the employee’s net income as close as possible to normal net income for the duration of the scheme. There was, however, no minimum amount that the employer was obligated to pay as an additional payment in order to be eligible for the scheme, but for Revenue operational systems reasons the employer needed to enter at least €0.01 in gross pay when running its payroll.
The Short-Time Work Support Payment, administered by the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection (DEASP), provides access to social welfare support for individuals who have been placed temporarily on a shorter working week, where certification from their employer is provided. The Short-Time Work Support scheme is not a specific Covid-19 measure and did not constitute a claim for duplicate COVID support for the purposes of the TWSS. Thus, an individual’s entitlements to such DEASP support for the days he or she was not working is a matter for DEASP but it had no impact on the individual’s eligibility for the TWSS. Therefore, Revenue will not seek to recoup an overpayment of subsidy in the case of an employee that has been placed on a short-time working week.