The Employment Wage Subsidy Scheme (EWSS) is a COVID-19 relief measure aimed to assist businesses which have had their continued commercial operations impacted by the pandemic from 1 September 2020. The scheme provides a subsidy to qualifying employers based on the number of eligible employees on their payroll and the gross pay made to employees.
EWSS replaced the Temporary Wage Subsidy Scheme (TWSS) which ended on 31 August 2020. The EWSS was initially set to run from 1 September 2020 until 31 March 2021, but was extended on different occasions by Revenue. The latest extension will see EWSS in effect until 30 April 2022.
From 1 February 2022, a separate form of the EWSS will be available for businesses directly affected by the public health restrictions imposed by government in December 2021 (“EWSS-PHR”). This support is expected to run until 31 May 2021. Businesses that were not impacted directly by the public health restrictions will remain on the existing EWSS (“EWSS-Normal”).
The EWSS comprises of two elements:
- It provides a flat-rate subsidy to qualifying employers based on the numbers of paid and eligible employees on the employer’s payroll; and
- It charges a reduced rate of employer PRSI of 0.5% on employee wages eligible for the subsidy payment. This will come to an end on 28 February 2022 and the full rate of employer’s PRSI will be reinstated for all businesses from 31 March 2021.
The Minister for Finance will continue to monitor the economy and may amend the terms of EWSS, specifically the end date, rate of subsidy payable, and the turnover test to determine employer eligibility, as is required.
To qualify for the subsidy, employers must have tax clearance from Revenue and must meet the eligibility criteria. On the whole, businesses must experience a 30% reduction in turnover or customer orders during a particular period as a result of Covid-19.
Employers who want to avail the EWSS-PHR will need to show that their businesses were directly impacted by the public health restrictions implemented in December 2021. EWSS-PHR support will be beneficial to businesses in the Hospitality and Arts and Entertainment sectors.
For more information regarding the eligibility criteria and the relevant turnover periods, please see Revenue’s Guidelines here.
An employee will qualify if they earn between €151.50 and €1,462 per week during the period of the scheme. Employees do not need to be actively working to be eligible for EWSS.
Proprietary directors will only qualify for EWSS if:
- They meet the eligibility criteria for EWSS; and
- They are on your payroll; and
- The wages paid to the proprietary director were reported to Revenue on your payroll at any stage between 1 July 2019 and 20 June 2020.
EWSS cannot be claimed in respect of certain connected parties, who were not on the payroll and paid at any time between 1 July 2019 and 30 June 2020. Connected parties include the following persons related to an individual or their spouse:
- Aunts or uncles;
- Nieces or nephews;
- Linear ancestors or descendants.
EWSS cannot be claimed in respect of domestic employees such as childminders, housekeepers, or gardeners.
For more information on the nature of EWSS and how to implement it on SimplePay, please refer to the following pages:
Detailed information on the scheme is available on Revenue’s website here.