The Financial Provisions (Covid-19) (2) Act 2020 (Act No. 8 of 2020) was signed into law on Saturday 1 August 2020. It inserted section 28B into the Emergency Measures in the Public Interest (Covid-19) Act 2020. This provides for the introduction of the EWSS.

EWSS is economy-wide enterprise support that focuses primarily on business eligibility. The scheme provides a flat-rate subsidy to qualifying employers based on the numbers of eligible employees on the employer’s payroll and gross pay to employees.

The EWSS replaced the Temporary Wage Subsidy Scheme (TWSS) from 1 September 2020. It is expected to continue until 31 March 2021.

EWSS key features

  • Employers must possess valid tax clearance to enter the EWSS and continue to maintain tax clearance for the duration of the scheme.
  • A reduced rate of employer’s PRSI of 0.5% is charged on wages paid which are eligible for the subsidy payment.
  • Seasonal and new hires are eligible for the EWSS. Claims could have been backdated to 1 July 2020 (subject to limited exceptions).
  • Subsidy is based on an employee’s gross weekly wage, including notional pay, before deductions, and excluding non-taxable benefits.

Revenue will publish a list of employers who availed of the EWSS at the end of January and April 2021. This is in line with international practice.

Compliance checks
To ensure that the scheme is operated as intended by the employer, Revenue will undertake an assurance check programme at a later stage. Further details on how this future assurance check program will operate will issue in due course.

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