Wednesday, 20 May 2020

Questions (61, 74, 77, 108)

Frank Feighan

Question:

61. Deputy Frankie Feighan asked the Minister for Finance if his attention has been drawn to the specific issues with the wage subsidy scheme and the attempts of a person (details supplied) to now reopen their businesses post Covid-19; if he will draw the attention of the Revenue Commissioners to the issue; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5620/20]

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Steven Matthews

Question:

74. Deputy Steven Matthews asked the Minister for Finance if his attention has been drawn to an issue that has arisen for some employers in accessing the temporary wage subsidy scheme in which employers that rehired staff previously let go after 1 May 2020 seem to be unable to qualify for a refund; if these employers will be refunded; and if so, the timeframe that businesses can expect for this. [5881/20]

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Fergus O'Dowd

Question:

77. Deputy Fergus O'Dowd asked the Minister for Finance if a reply will issue to concerns raised in correspondence from a person (details supplied) in respect of possible problems in creating the necessary supports for businesses to restart operations; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5897/20]

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Dara Calleary

Question:

108. Deputy Dara Calleary asked the Minister for Finance the reason employees rehired after 1 May 2020 will not be eligible for refunding under the wage subsidy scheme despite the reopening plan only being published at 7pm on 1 May 2020; if his attention has been drawn to the fact that employers could not have rehired prior to that due of the lack of knowledge prior to that time; his views on whether such a limitation will leave persons on the pandemic unemployment payment in spite of the wish to move persons from this payment to the wage subsidy scheme; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [6426/20]

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Written answers (Question to Finance)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 61, 74, 77 and 108 together.

The Temporary Wage Subsidy Scheme (TWSS) is provided for in section 28 of the recently enacted Emergency Measures in the Public Interest (Covid-19) Act 2020. Of necessity, the legislation and the scheme itself were developed very quickly to support the urgent Government objective of getting much needed assistance to employers and employees that have been seriously affected by the pandemic.

The TWSS builds on data returned to Revenue through its real-time PAYE system. The changes to Revenue’s systems required to fully implement the TWSS have been delivered incrementally since the scheme commenced on 26 March 2020. The latest phase of the scheme implements the revised subsidy rates, as determined by me, in accordance with the legislation and is effective from 4 May 2020 for most employees. This phase is based on providing employers with details of the maximum personal subsidy amount to be paid to individual employees based on their previous average net weekly pay.    

Revenue advise me that it is aware of the difficulty for employers in accessing TWSS in respect of staff that were rehired after 1 May 2020 and has assured me that it is not related to ceasing employees from the scheme. The implementation of the latest phase of TWSS required a series of calculations to be performed for each employee that was on employers’ payrolls on 1 May 2020 in order to generate their personal wage subsidy entitlements. Employees who were rehired after 1 May 2020 could not be included in these initial calculations and consequently Revenue is temporarily unable to provide the necessary personalised wage subsidy entitlements information to employers in respect of these persons.  

I have been assured by Revenue that it is actively working on an IT systems development to facilitate access to TWSS for rehired employees. It is anticipated that the development will be implemented in the coming weeks and will be retrospective to the date of rehiring.