Upcoming Operational Phase for the Temporary COVID-19 Wage Subsidy Scheme

Updated 5 May 2020: Revenue have made the CSV file available in ROS Employer Services under “Request RPN’s”. A new option is available called Download Temporary Wage Subsidy Scheme calculation.

Updated 4 May 2020: We have updated our Help Site here with the changes.

With the Operational Phase of the Temporary COVID-19 Wage Subsidy Scheme coming into effect on 4 May 2020, we would like to remind you of the changes that you can expect.

The amount of employees’ wage subsidy and top-up will be calculated differently from 4 May and will no longer use their respective calculation of 70% and 30% of the Average Revenue Net Weekly Pay (ARNWP). Revenue provides information on their website on how you will be required to calculate the subsidy amounts based on the following tiers: 

  • An ARNWP less than €412
  • An ARNWP more than €412, but less than €500
  • An ARNWP more than €500, but less than €586
  • An ARNWP more than €586, but less than €960
  • An ARNWP more than €960

Please make use of the Revenue calculator mentioned below to ensure that your employees are paid the correct subsidy amounts.

Process Overview

Revenue will provide employers with a CSV file, which contains the information required for you to accurately calculate the maximum wage subsidy and the maximum top-up amount above which you will be required to reduce the subsidy amount paid to ensure employees do not earn more than their ARNWP. When the Operational Phase goes live on the 4th of May, Revenue will also provide a calculator on their website. You should use this to calculate the wage subsidy you want to pay your employees if you pay a top-up amount greater than the max top-up amount shown in the CSV. 

Once you have determined the wage subsidy and top-up amounts to use for each of your employees, you can simply add the Temporary COVID-19 Wage Subsidy Scheme item with the correct amounts to your employee’s payslips using our Bulk Inputs functionality. More information on how to add this scheme using Bulk Inputs can be found here. Please note that you will only be able to do this for this particular scheme from 4 May 2020.

Revenue Issue with Cessation Dates

Revenue has informed us that there is a known issue for certain submissions made through the Temporary COVID-19 Wage Subsidy Scheme. Submissions which contain PRSI class J9, but also include the cessation date of an employee may lead to refunds being rejected. They are busy investigating and will look to make a fix after the Operational phase of the scheme goes live on 4 May. 

For more information on the Temporary COVID-19 Wage Subsidy Scheme please visit the Revenue FAQ or take a look at our previous blog to see how to add it on SimplePay.

We hope that this information proves useful to you. If you have any queries on how the above relates to payroll and the SimplePay system, please feel free to get in touch with our customer support team at [email protected]

Keep well. Stay home. Stay safe.

Team SimplePay

Updates to the Temporary COVID-19 Wage Subsidy Scheme

The Temporary COVID-19 Wage Subsidy Scheme provides financial support to employees affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. This scheme allows employers to pay their employees a non-taxable subsidy amount as well as an additional top-up amount. These amounts are subject to certain maximums based on the employee’s Average Revenue Net Weekly Pay (ARNWP), calculated based on the amounts submitted to Revenue for January and February 2020. 

For more information on the Scheme and how you can operate it through SimplePay, please visit our blog post here.

Since introducing subsidy measures, there have been a few changes in the rules and application. On Wednesday 15 April, the Minister for Finance announced further updates to the Temporary COVID-19 Wage Subsidy Scheme. These changes allow for employees with an ARNWP of more than €960 to now receive support under this scheme with effect from the 16th April 2020. Previously employees with an ARNWP higher than €960 were offered no relief in the form of subsidies.

From 4 May 2020, the Scheme will ensure that employers are informed by Revenue of the maximum subsidy amount payable per employee based on their ARNWP. It will also allow Revenue to refund employers a more accurate amount.

Additionally, from 4 May, employees whose ARNWP is less than €500 will also benefit from an improved subsidy amount.

Note: The subsidy will be tapered to ensure that the employee’s current net weekly pay (subsidy amount plus top-up amount) does not exceed the lesser of the ARNWP and €960 per week. Effectively, this means that employees whose usual pay amount has been reduced but is still above €960 are not eligible for the subsidy.

More information on the aforementioned changes be found on the Revenue website here.

Updates to COVID-19 System Items

We have implemented two changes to our COVID-19 system items: Temporary COVID-19 Wage Subsidy Scheme and COVID-19 Employer Refund Scheme.

Temporary COVID-19 Wage Subsidy Scheme

Revenue has introduced a new field to the Payment Submission Request (PSR) for amounts paid to employees under the Temporary COVID-19 Wage Subsidy Scheme.

We have updated our system to incorporate this change. When adding the Temporary COVID-19 Wage Subsidy Scheme system item to an employee’s payslip (outlined in this blog post) the subsidy amount will be reported separately to Revenue. This is reflected in the Other Payments column in the Excel spreadsheet showing submissions to Revenue. Revenue has indicated that they may use this field when doing reconciliation later in the year for the subsidy payments made to employees.

To view the Excel spreadsheet, go to Filing > Regular submissions and click on the Excel link under the relevant period date.

 COVID-19 Employer Refund Scheme

The COVID-19 Employer Refund Scheme was applicable from the 15th to the 25th March 2020. To avoid errors in reporting, the system item for it was removed when the Temporary COVID-19 Wage Subsidy Scheme replaced the COVID-19 Employer Refund Scheme. However, we have made the system item available again for those employers who paid employees under this Refund scheme but did not finalise payslips and submit the information to Revenue. Please only use this system item if you made an actual payment to employees during the 15-25 March period. If the payment was made after the 25th March, you must use the Temporary COVID-19 Wage Subsidy Scheme system item.

To add the system item to payslips with a payment date in the 15-25 March period, go to the employee’s profile. Click on Add next to Payslip Inputs and select COVID-19 Employer Refund Scheme (obsolete).

Pay Frequency Expansion

At SimplePay, we realise the importance of balancing simplicity with functionality that allows you to customise the system for your payroll needs. That’s why we’ve expanded our pay frequency settings to give you more flexibility to customise payment dates.

As most employers align their pay frequency end date with the payment date to employees, SimplePay based all calculations on the payslip end date, which you could customise for your business. The extension of the pay frequencies functionality caters for employers where there are significant differences between the payslip end date and the payment date (for example, an employee is only paid one week after their payslip date). You can now set a payment date that falls in the current, previous or following month (for monthly pay frequencies) or set a payment date relative to the payslip end date (for other pay frequencies). You can also edit the payment date for individual payslips.

This increased flexibility to tailor the system allows you to better align the tax, tax credits, tax cut-offs and year-to-date total calculations with your business practices. The payment date will also be used to determine in which submission and tax year the payslip will be included.

To specify a payment date:

  • Go to Settings > Pay Frequencies
  • Select the pay frequency to edit or add a new pay frequency. Editing pay frequencies will impact tax calculations, so this should be done with caution.
  • Select the checkbox Pay date is different to the period end date?
  • For monthly pay frequencies, specify the date of the payment in the current, previous or next month
  • For other pay frequencies, specify the relative payment date
  • Click Save when you are satisfied with the pay frequency set up.

For more information on pay frequencies, head over to our help page here.

Team SimplePay

New Feature: Managing End of Service in Bulk

To ease the payroll burden on employers and payroll administrators during the COVID-19 pandemic, we have introduced a new Employee Actions section to our Bulk Actions page to allow users to do the following for their employees in bulk:

  • End Service
  • Reinstate
  • Undo End of Service

This new bulk functionality allows you to manage multiple employees’ services in one place on SimplePay. This means that whether you are putting your employees on Reduced Working Time due to COVID-19, or you are reinstating them when business has returned to normal, you will be able to do this easily and for all your employees at once!

To learn more about how this functionality works, head over to our help page here.

For larger companies we recommend limiting this bulk functionality to batches of 50 employees to ensure smoother results.

If you have any questions, please contact our support team.

Team SimplePay

Temporary COVID-19 Wage Subsidy Scheme

31 March 2020: Clarified that only submissions made on or after the 26th March 2020, with a Pay Date on or after the 26th March 2020 will qualify for this scheme.

27 March 2020: Included a note that the subsidy amount is reckonable income that may be taxed at a later stage by Revenue.

On Tuesday, 24 March the Government announced a new Temporary COVID-19 Wage Subsidy Scheme which is aimed at providing financial support to employees affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. This new scheme comes into effect for any submissions made from, and with a Pay Date from, the 26 March 2020. This new scheme builds on the previous Employer COVID-19 Refund Scheme, mentioned in our recent blogs:

Employers, who have applied on ROS to operate under the Temporary COVID-19 Wage Subsidy Scheme,  will be able to make a non-taxable subsidy payment to employees along with a taxable top-up contribution through payroll. The subsidy payment will be refunded by Revenue to the employer after the submission is made to Revenue.

The Temporary COVID-19 Wage Subsidy Scheme will be available for employers who keep employees on their payroll throughout the COVID-19 pandemic and is not limited to employees who are temporarily laid-off as per the previous scheme.

How to Add the Temporary COVID-19 Wage Subsidy Scheme item on SimplePay

We have revised the scheme item we previously blogged about and have introduced a new Temporary COVID-19 Wage Subsidy Scheme item. This item can be added as follows:

  • Go to Employees
  • Select an employee
  • Select Add next to Payslip Inputs
  • Select the Temporary COVID-19 Wage Subsidy Scheme item
  • Enter the Subsidy amount
  • Enter the Top-up amount

In an effort to allow employers to continue to pay their employees the amount they would normally be paid, Revenue have allowed for a maximum amount of 70% of the employee’s Average Net Weekly Pay to be subsidised by the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection (DEASP) and a maximum amount of 30% of the employee’s Average Net Weekly Pay to be topped up by employers. More information on this is provided below.

Subsidy Amount

The Subsidy amount entered should be equal to 70% of the employee’s net weekly pay, with:

  • A maximum of €410 per week where the Average Net Weekly Pay is less than or equal to €586; or
  • A maximum of €350 per week where the Average Net Weekly Pay is greater than €586 and less than or equal to €960

The Subsidy amount will not be subject to Income Tax, USC or PRSI.

Please note: the Subsidy amount is reckonable income, which may be taxed at a later stage by Revenue. Revenue will be providing information on this on their website.

Top-Up Amount

If an employer wants to make a taxable payment to their employee, they can capture an amount less than or equal to 30% of the employee’s Average Net Weekly Pay in the Top-up amount field. This amount will be included in Gross Pay and will be subject to Income Tax, USC and PRSI as calculated by the RPN. However, there will be no employee PRSI applied and the employer PRSI will be reduced to 0.5% of the top-up payment. 

Note that if the employer captures more than 30% in the Top-up amount field (i.e. the employee receives more than their Average Net Weekly Pay), Revenue may reduce the Subsidy amount refunded to the employer. 

Calculating the Average Net Weekly Pay

For now, employers are required to calculate the employee’s Average Net Weekly Pay when capturing these amounts. To calculate the Average Net Weekly Pay, employers must use the values in the payroll submission for each pay date in Jan and Feb 2020:

  1. Take the employee’s “Gross pay” and from it subtract the “Income Tax Paid”, the “USC Paid” and the “Employee PRSI Paid“.
  2. Total this figure for each pay date in Jan and Feb 2020 and divide this by the number of insurable weeks (capped at 9) for the period.
  3. This gives you the employee’s average pay that is to be used for the Subsidy amount field.

Revenue has published guidance in the form of Frequently Asked Questions, which provide a worked example for the calculation of the employee’s Average Net Weekly Pay. This can be found here.

PRSI Class J9

Finalised payslips with the Temporary COVID-19 Wage Subsidy Scheme item added will generate a submission, with the J9 PRSI class included. This PRSI class lets Revenue know that the employee has been paid under the Temporary COVID-19 Wage Subsidy Scheme. You will not need to make any changes to the employee’s PRSI class or PRSI exemption status, this is done automatically when the Temporary COVID-19 Wage Subsidy Scheme item is added.

Gross Pay of €0.01

Revenue have stated that a pay amount of €0.01 should be included in Gross Pay if no Top-up amount is captured. The reason for this is that some payroll systems require a sum submitted under salary in order to function. Luckily for you, with SimplePay no amount is needed under Basic Salary for you to run your payroll, meaning the payslips’ basic salary will read zero. Revenue has communicated directly with us that the €0.01 is not required and employers will still receive a refund when submitting €0.00.

How to Apply to the Scheme:

Employers, and their agents, will need to apply to Revenue to operate the Temporary COVID-19 Wage Subsidy Scheme. To do this, please follow the steps outlined by Revenue in the “Registering for the Temporary Wage Subsidy Scheme” section. Employers, already registered with Revenue for the purposes of the Employer COVID-19 Refund Scheme, are not required to take any further action.

Employers must not operate this scheme for any employee who is making a claim for duplicate support (e.g. Pandemic Unemployment Payment) from the DEASP.

More information on the scheme can be found on Revenue’s website here.

As always, we’re here to help where we can. Please feel free to get in touch if you need help with any of the above on SimplePay.

Team SimplePay

Update: Employer COVID-19 Refund Scheme

Yesterday you may have read our blog about the new Employer COVID-19 Refund Scheme, a special support payment of €203 per week, which allows employers to pay their employees who are temporarily laid off. This amount can be paid by the employer through payroll, being refunded the day after the submission is made. You can read more about this on our blog post here.

We have been hard at work making changes to our system in order to cater for these payments to employees and the submissions to Revenue. A new COVID-19 Employer Refund Scheme item can be added as follows:

  • Go to Employees
  • Select an employee
  • Select Add next to Payslip Inputs
  • Select the COVID-19 Employer Refund Scheme item
  • Enter the corresponding amount based on the employee’s pay frequency

Employees who have been temporarily laid off can be paid €203 per week under this scheme. Therefore employers must input the correct amount based on the employee’s pay frequency:

  • Weekly – €203
  • Every 2 weeks – €406
  • Monthly – €812 (for 4 weeks in a month) or €1015 (for 5 weeks in a month)

This amount is not subject to tax, USC or PRSI. 

If you have multiple employees per week and want to save some time, you can use our Bulk Input functionality. Visit our Help Site here for more information.

Employees under this scheme must not receive any other wage payments from their employer, including wage top ups, overtime, shift allowance and on-call payments. As such, you will need to set the Basic Salary to 0 and remove any other Payslip Items and Regular Items on the payslip before finalising. 

Finalised payslips with the COVID-19 Employer Refund Scheme item added will generate a submission, with the J9 PRSI class included. This PRSI class lets Revenue know that the employee has been paid under the COVID-19 Employer Refund Scheme. You will not need to make any changes to the employee’s PRSI class or PRSI exemption status, this is done automatically when the COVID-19 Employer Refund Scheme item is added.

One possible situation that could lead to complications is where employees are paid monthly or fortnightly, but have been laid-off part way through their pay period. In this scenario, employers should not finalise the payslip, but should first switch their employees to a weekly pay frequency, allowing for the worked weeks to be separated from payments under the COVID-19 Employer Refund Scheme. The worked weeks should have the monthly pay pro-rated accordingly. This is in line with Revenue’s recommendations in their guide for the Operation of the COVID-19 Employer Refund Scheme, which can be viewed here

Note: In the aforementioned guide, a pay amount of €0.01 is required in order for payroll to run. The reason for this is that some payroll systems require a sum submitted under salary in order to function. Luckily for you, with SimplePay no amount is needed under Basic Salary for you to run your payroll, meaning the payslips’ basic salary will read zero. Revenue has communicated directly with us that the €0.01 is not required and employers will still receive a refund when submitting €0.00. 

Revenue has advised that if an employee has already been terminated due to temporary lay-offs, the special payment will need to be claimed directly from the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection (DEASP) and not through payroll. Even if you reinstate your employee through payroll, Revenue will not be refunding employers if they have previously made a payroll submission with the employee’s cessation date.

Please refer to the Revenue guide for the Operation of the COVID-19 Employer Refund Scheme as it provides a more in depth overview of the scheme. To register for the scheme please follow the guidelines provided by Revenue here.

Team SimplePay

Employer COVID-19 Refund Scheme

On 15 March 2020, Regina Doherty, the current Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection (DEASP) announced that workers who are temporarily laid off due to COVID-19 (Coronavirus) will be able to claim a special support payment of €203 per week. 

Revenue and DEASP unveiled an optional “Employer COVID-19 Refund Scheme”, which allows for employers to make payments to the value of €203 per week to their employees directly, through the normal payroll process. 

The amounts paid to employees under the scheme are not subject to tax, USC or PRSI. Revenue will also reimburse these payments to the employer’s bank account the day after the submission is made (starting Tuesday 24 March).

We are currently working on changes to our system to allow for these payments to be correctly catered for in the submissions to ROS. We will keep you updated and let you know when these changes are Live! In the meantime, employers, and their agents, will need to apply to Revenue to operate this new Employer COVID-19 Refund Scheme. To do this, please follow the steps outlined by Revenue in the “Making an application for the Refund Scheme” section.

Some key requirements to be able to partake in the scheme include:

  • Employees must have been temporarily laid off. Employees who have merely had their hours reduced due to COVID-19 will not be eligible for this scheme.
  • Laid off employees must possess a PPSN.
  • Employees must have been included on a payroll submission, made by the employer between 1 February 2020 and 15 March 2020.
  • Employees must be receiving no other wage payment from their employer, including wage top ups, overtime, shift allowance and on-call payments.

IMPORTANT INFORMATION: Should employers wish to partake in this scheme, employees should not be terminated on SimplePay and should remain as active employees for the duration of the scheme. 

More information has been provided by the DEASP and Revenue

Thank you for your patience whilst we implement these changes.

Team SimplePay

National Minimum Wage and PRSI AX Changes

The national minimum wage in Ireland will increase from €9.80 to €10.10 per hour from 1 February 2020 for people aged 20 years and older. This will have an impact on both PRSI and USC.

PRSI will be impacted as follows:

  1. There will be no changes to the employee rates for PRSI.
  2. There will be no change to the employee PRSI credit.
  3. The PRSI employer threshold for class AX will change from €386 to €395 (weekly).

The PRSI contribution rates will therefore be as follows for private and some public sector employments:

As always, SimplePay takes the hassle out of compliance for our users. We have already made updates to the system to ensure that the PRSI calculation is correct, depending on the date of your payslip. This means that if you prepare payslips that are dated before 1 February 2020, the system will use the previous thresholds, while payslips dated from 1 February 2020 will use the updated thresholds. There is therefore no need for you to make any changes or updates on your end – you simply continue capturing payroll as usual.

The USC threshold for the 2% bracket will also change so that full-time minimum wage workers stay in the same USC bracket. This change will be reflected through changes in employee RPNs and will take effect on 1 March 2020.

For more information on PRSI and USC, check out our help pages here.

Team SimplePay

Bulk Import Employees from ROS

We have a new feature that we’re very excited about and think you will be too. It’s now possible to import new / additional employees and their RPNs directly from ROS. This means that you no longer need to manually add employees if they exist on ROS with a valid RPN. 

To import employees in bulk, navigate to Employees > Bulk Actions > Import Additional Employees. After importing the list of employees from ROS, simply select the employees you want to save, complete some basic employee information and select the save button. The selected employees will be created in SimplePay. 

For more information, please refer to our help site page or contact our Support team who will be more than happy to help you.

We hope you will enjoy this new feature us much as we will.

Team SimplePay