COVID-19 update: Government advises staff should WFH until mid-September

The rules are changing. The subsidy scheme is shifting, and if your people can work from home then you should make this happen now. Let’s get you up to speed…

BrightHR Team

The Government recently made another announcement about working from home and using public transport. It advised that, where possible:

  • All businesses should allow staff to work from home.
  • People should avoid using public transport.

These measures took effect on Tuesday 18th August and will remain in place until at least 13th September.

Playing your part

These are not mandatory restrictions, so if it’s not possible for your people to work from home then you’re entitled to keep your business open and ask your staff to come to the workplace.

But if it is possible for your people to work from home, then you should make sure staff are working remotely to play your part in preventing the spread of coronavirus and protect your people.  

New details on Employment Wage Subsidy Scheme

The Revenue has also released more information on the new Employee Wage Subsidy Scheme (EWSS) that will kick in when the Temporary Wage Subsidy Scheme (TWSS) stops at the end of August.

Timing of payments

One major change between the two schemes is the timing of payments.

You’ll have to wait for up to six weeks to receive payments under EWSS, so you’ll need to consider how this transition from the TWSS impacts your cashflow (as TWSS payments are usually made within 48 hours of submitting your payroll data). 

Tax clearance

If you’re going to apply for the EWSS, then the Revenue is advising that you apply for tax clearance immediately (this is a new condition, as there was no requirement for employers to have tax clearance to qualify for TWSS).

You’ll need a tax clearance certificate, which is confirmation from the Revenue that your business’ tax affairs are in order. If you’ve never previously applied for tax clearance, you can do this through the Revenue Online System (ROS).

Income tax deductions

If you qualify for EWSS, you’ll be a paid a flat-rate subsidy based on the number of paid and eligible employees on your payroll.

  • For each employee paid between €151.50 and €202.99 gross per week, you’ll receive a subsidy of €151.50.
  • For each employee paid between €203 and €1,462 gross per week, you’ll receive a subsidy of €203.

Unlike TWSS, you’ll have to process PAYE deductions on all EWSS payments, including income tax, USC (universal social charge), employee PRSI (pay related social insurance). A 0.5% rate of employer’s PRSI will apply.

BrightAdvice

We know this can all be a bit confusing, but BrightAdvice is here to help.

If you have a question about the subsidy scheme or anything else, our confidential employment law helpline is open 24/7. To speak to a friendly legal expert, phone today on 1800 279 841.