Wednesday, 17 February 2021

Questions (158)

Seán Sherlock


158. Deputy Sean Sherlock asked the Minister for Finance the status of the employment wage subsidy scheme; and if it has an end date. [8596/21]

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Written answers (Question to Finance)

The objective of the Employment Wage Subsidy Scheme (EWSS) is to support all employment and maintain the link between the employer and employee insofar as is possible. To date, subsidy payments of almost €2 billion have been made and PRSI relief worth over €300m granted to over 46,600 employers in respect of over 532,000 employees.

I have been clear that there will be no cliff-edge to the EWSS. It is noted that the legislation implementing the measure provides that it will be in place until 31 March 2021, but also provides that the scheme may be extended until the end of June 2021, should it be required.

It is likely that continued support will be necessary out to the end of 2021 to help maintain viable businesses and employment and to provide businesses with certainty to the maximum extent possible. Decisions on the form of such support will take account of emerging circumstances and economic conditions as they become clearer.

In the meantime I am satisfied that the design of the Employment Wage Subsidy Scheme (EWSS) fully takes account of the changing environment around living with the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Government remains fully committed to supporting businesses and employers insofar as is possible at this time.

As I am sure the Deputy is aware, to date, additional expenditure of well over €13 billion has been paid out with more planned still in 2021 to sustain businesses and help people to manage financially in the midst of these very difficult times.

Question No. 159 answered with Question No. 151.