Updates on EWSS
On 1 June 2021, the Minister for Finance announced the extension of the Employment Wage Subsidy Scheme (EWSS) to 31 December 2021. Earlier this month, Revenue confirmed it is operating the changes to the scheme on an administrative basis and also provided important information for employers and their tax agents regarding the continued operation of EWSS.
Change to Assessment Period
The extension of the scheme provides for a significant change in the assessment period used to determine eligibility for pay dates between 1 July and 31 December 2021. Many businesses were fully closed or severely limited in their capacity to trade due to the public health restrictions in place for the first seven months of 2021. The change in the EWSS assessment period means that such businesses, taking account of the limited, if any, turnover in 2021 to date, can generate the equivalent of up to 70% of their calendar year 2019 turnover or customer orders for the remainder of 2021 and still remain eligible to claim support under the scheme.
Revenue reminded businesses who may not have been able to retain some or all their employees while public health restrictions were in place to check their eligibility for the scheme. In general, businesses that have tax clearance and meet the reduction in turnover/customer orders criteria will be able to register and apply for support under the scheme.
Monthly review to check eligibility
A key requirement since the introduction of the EWSS in September 2020, is that employers undertake a review on the last day of every month to ensure they continue to meet the eligibility criteria. To enable employers to meet this requirement, Revenue is providing an EWSS Eligibility Review Form, which will be made available in ROS from 21st July. Completing and submitting an EWSS Eligibility Review Form to Revenue will be necessary to continue to avail of EWSS supports with details of an employer’s monthly eligibility review check to be submitted by 30th July in respect of June’s review and by the 15th of the following month in respect of July to November.
Submitting the form on time is required to ensure continued access to the scheme and will provide assurance to both employers and Revenue that subsequent EWSS claims are appropriate and in line with the terms of the scheme.
EWSS Subsidy Rates
The existing subsidy rates continue to be applicable to EWSS payments in respect of payroll submissions with pay dates between 1 July to 30 September 2021. Additionally, a reduced rate of employer’s PRSI of 0.5% continue to apply to wages paid that are eligible for a subsidy payment under the scheme.
Qualifying childcare businesses
Childcare businesses are included in the EWSS and hile there is no requirement for them to meet the turnover test, the other EWSS eligibility criteria such as registration and tax clearance must be met to access or continue to access payments under the scheme.
Guidelines on eligibility for the EWSS from 1 July 2021 can be found at Guidelines on eligibility for the Employment Wage Subsidy Scheme on the Revenue website. Detailed operational guidance in relation to the scheme can be found at Employment Wage Subsidy Scheme Guidelines.
As part of the monthly submission, employers (or agents on their behalf) must sign a declaration that the information submitted is correct and accurate with best-estimate projections for future months. Failure to complete and submit the EWSS Eligibility Review Form that confirms the required reduction and related declaration will result in suspension of payment of EWSS claims.
Childcare businesses and businesses who commenced trading after 1 November 2019 will have to complete a declaration as part of the Employer Eligibility Review platform on ROS to confirm their exemption.