As part of Budget 2022, the Government agreed the future of the Employment Wage Subsidy Scheme (EWSS), including the graduated step-down in subsidy rates payable, with a view to bringing the scheme to an end by April 2022. This means that with effect from last Tuesday, most businesses availing of support under EWSS moved to the reduced weekly rates of support of either €203 or €151.50 per employee (depending on the gross weekly wage paid) for the month of February. For March and April 2022, a weekly flat rate subsidy of €100 per employee will be payable.
However, last month, the Minister for Finance, Paschal Donohoe, T.D., announced that businesses availing of EWSS that were directly impacted by the public health restrictions in operation from 20 December 2021 to 22 January 2022 will receive additional support under the scheme to assist them as they fully reopen.
Under these revised arrangements, such businesses will continue to receive the enhanced rates of EWSS subsidy for the month of February and the graduated step-down in subsidy rates, as outlined above, will be delayed by one month. This means that such businesses will continue to receive support under the EWSS until 31 May 2022.
Today (3/2/2022), Revenue confirmed that it is operating the changes to the scheme on an administrative basis pending enactment of the necessary legislation. Revenue also provided important information to employers, who were directly impacted by last December’s public health restrictions, on how to make a claim for the additional support.
Eligible employers, such as those operating in the hospitality sector that were required to close at 8pm each night or those operating entertainment venues where capacity was limited, can make a claim in respect of each eligible employee by either:
- selecting the ‘EWSS_PHR’ option from the drop-down box when submitting their EWSS claim on ROS or
- selecting the ‘EWSS_PHR’ marker if using a payroll software package.
Employers who have already submitted eligible EWSS payroll submissions in respect of February 2022, some of whom may have already received a subsidy payment calculated at the reduced rate should re-submit the relevant payslips to include the necessary ‘EWSS_PHR’ marker. Revenue confirmed that, once corrections are received from employers, it will recalculate the subsidy due having regard to the enhanced rates and pay the balance due shortly after.
Updated guidance, including in relation to claiming the additional support due to employers directly impacted by last December’s public health restrictions, can be found here on the Revenue website.
Separately today, Revenue announced its decision to further defer the implementation of the findings of its review of the flat rate expenses (FRE) regime to 1 January 2023. Revenue’s decision has been taken pending decisions by the Minister for Finance on the policy options put forward by the Tax Strategy Group (TSG) on various matters relating to employment expenses and the enactment of legislative changes in that area, if appropriate. Copies of correspondence on this matter recently exchanged between the Minister and Revenue Chairman, Niall Cody, can be found here on the Revenue website.
Finally, Revenue has, today, published updated Covid-19 Support Scheme Statistics which can be found here.