Temporary COVID-19 Wage Subsidy Scheme (TWSS)

Overview

Note

The TWSS ended on 31 August 2020 and was replaced by the Employment Wage Subsidy Scheme. The information on this page is for reference purposes.

Revenue operated the TWSS from 26 March 2020 to 31 August 2020. It enabled employees, whose employers were affected by the pandemic, to receive significant supports directly from their employer. The TWSS replaced the Employer COVID-19 Refund Scheme.

The TWSS was available to employers who kept their employees on the payroll throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. This meant employers could retain links with employees for when business picked up after the crisis.

Key features of the TWSS

  • The employer paid the wage subsidy, to qualifying employees, through the payroll process.
  • The employer was reimbursed, by Revenue, for the wage subsidy they paid to qualifying employees. The subsidy refund was, in general, made within two working days after receipt of the payroll submission.
  • The TWSS operated in two phases:
    • the transitional phase (26 March to 3 May 2020), during which:
      • the employer calculated an Average Revenue Net Weekly Pay (ARNWP) for each qualifying employee
      • the employer calculated the wage subsidy based on the ARNWP
      • Revenue refunded the employer the maximum subsidy amount of €410 per qualifying employee per week.
    • the operational phase (4 May to 31 August 2020) during which Revenue:
      • provided the employer with the relevant employee information to ensure the correct wage subsidy was paid to each employee
      • refunded the employer the correct subsidy amount on that basis.
  • Employers who were able to do so, could make an additional payment, with each wage subsidy, to employees. The total payment (the wage subsidy and the additional payment) could not exceed the employee’s pre-COVID average net weekly pay.
  • Income Tax (IT) and Universal Social Credit (USC) were not applied to the wage subsidy made through the payroll. However, these payments will be liable to IT and USC by way of an end of year review.
  • Employee Pay Related Social Insurance (PRSI) was not applied to the subsidy or any additional payment made through the payroll
  • Employer’s PRSI:
    • did not apply to the wage subsidy
    • was reduced from 11.05% to 0.5% on any additional payment.

Compliance programme

Revenue is conducting compliance checks on all employers who availed of the TWSS. Revenue will contact all employers to confirm that:

  • they met the qualifying criteria
  • their employees received the correct amount of subsidy
  • they correctly recorded the subsidy amount in employee payslips.

Letters will issue to employers and their agents, where relevant, mainly through their ROS Inbox. The programme is expected to last for several months.

The compliance programme will also:

  • address any identified issues about the operation of Real Time PAYE by employers over 2019 and 2020
  • provide an opportunity for employers to address any other outstanding tax issues. This will be of importance to employers who may intend to avail of the debt warehousing as up-to-date compliance is a pre-requisite. 

Employers who stopped taking part in the TWSS

A business may have had reasonable grounds for assuming the economic impact of the pandemic made them eligible for the TWSS. After taking part in the TWSS an employer might have reviewed their position and the economic impact of the pandemic. If after this review they considered that they did not meet the qualifying criteria they should have immediately ceased claiming the subsidy.

Employers who stopped participating in the TWSS will be included in the:

  • reconciliation phase of the TWSS
  • published list of TWSS participants.

Next: Qualifying criteria for employers and employees