Given the introduction of Level 5 public health restrictions on 30 December 2020 – and the related impact on individuals and business – here is a reminder of the three key Government supports for COVID-19 impacted businesses – EWSS, CRSS and PUP.
The three schemes are designed to ensure that, to the greatest extent possible, as many employees can retain the link with their employer, allowing them to return to the workforce at the earliest opportunity, and to give businesses the greatest chances of getting through the coming weeks.
Covid-19 Government Support Schemes:
Employment Wage Subsidy Scheme (EWSS)
EWSS provides a flat-rate subsidy to qualifying employers based on the numbers of eligible employees on the employer’s payroll.
- To qualify for the EWSS, as well as having tax clearance, you must be able to show that your business will experience a 30% reduction in turnover or customer orders and COVID-19 is the cause of this disruption.
- The scheme works by giving an employer a flat rate subsidy based on the number of employees on the payroll and their gross weekly wage that’s being paid to them.
- EWSS has being enhanced, with a maximum rate now payable at €350, bringing it in line with revisions that are being made to the Pandemic Unemployment Payment.
- The objective of this move is to minimise the risk of migration from EWSS to PUP during enhanced level restrictions.
EWSS New Applicants
- It is still possible to register for EWSS once all qualifying criteria are met.
- Once registered, employers can claim subsidy payments in respect of payroll submissions with a pay date on or after their registration date.
- The increased rates that were due to expire on 31 January are extended to 31 March 2021.
EWSS Revised Rates
Gross weekly pay Revised Rates
Less than €151.50 Nil
€151.50 – €202.99 €203
€203 – €299.99 €250
€300 – €399.99 €300
€400 – €1,462 €350
Over €1,462 Nil
- The revised subsidy rates mean that, for example, if an employer is currently availing of the EWSS for an employee on a weekly wage of €350, the subsidy has increased from €203 per week to €300 per week. Similarly, for an employee on a weekly wage of €475 the subsidy has increased from €203 per week to €350 per week.
EWSS Qualifying Criteria from January 2021
From 1 January 2021, the period to be reviewed to determine eligibility for EWSS will be 1 January to 30 June 2021. The reduction in turnover or customer orders (30%) between 1 January and 30 June 2021, is shown compared to the:
- same period in 2019, where the business operated for the whole of the comparable period in 2019
- period from the date of commencement to 30 June 2019, where the business commenced trading between 1 January and 1 May 2019
- projected turnover or customer orders from 1 January 2021, or date of commencement, to 30 June 2021, where business commenced after 1 May 2019. (This is compared to what the projections may have been if COVID-19 had not occurred.)
Covid Restrictions Support Scheme (CRSS)
CRSS offers support to businesses forced to close or trade at significantly reduced levels as a result of restrictions imposed on them in response to COVID-19.
- The Covid Restrictions Support Scheme (CRSS) is designed to assist businesses whose trade has been significantly impacted or temporarily closed due to restrictions as set out in the Government’s Living with Covid-19 Plan.
- CRSS is in addition to the Employer Wage Subsidy Scheme.
- Under the scheme, eligible businesses may receive a weekly rebate of up to €5,000 for businesses closed at level 3 or higher effective from 13 October 2020 until 31 March 2021.
- For businesses continuing to trade, they may qualify if their turnover does not exceed 25 per cent of the turnover for the corresponding period in 2019. In the case of new businesses, the turnover is based on the average actual weekly turnover in 2020.
- The sectors who can now avail of the CRSS include accommodation, food, the arts, recreation and entertainment, non-essential retail and hair and beauty.
- For further reading, see our article Covid Restrictions Support Scheme ( CRSS ) Explained
*Update February 2021
New funding Announced
0n 09 February2021: Government announced a further €160m funding for measures to help businesses impacted by the pandemic.
Measures include a €60M allocation towards a new grant – Covid Business Aid Scheme (CBAS) – aimed at companies who do not qualify for CRSS. To qualify business turnover must be down by 75%. Eligible businesses will receive up to €8,000: €4,000 in Q1and €4,000 in Q2 2021, if they remain eligible.
Pandemic Unemployment Payment
- Following the return to level 5 restrictions from 30 December, 2020, Government confirmed that PUP remains in place for anyone who may be made temporarily unemployed as a result of the move to the new level of restrictions.
- Furthermore, anyone diagnosed with Covid-19, or who is self-isolation and is medically certified by a doctor also has the option of applying for the Enhanced Illness Benefit,
- The structure of PUP has changed significantly since it was introduced as a flat rate payment of €350 in March when it was initially intended to be only a 6-week payment.
- Previously increased to three, there is now a fourth rate of payment for people whose gross earnings were €400 per week or higher prior to the pandemic.
- While the €350 rate was available previously to those with prior earnings of €200 or more, it is now being reintroduced only for those with prior earnings of €400 or more.
As a result of the changes PUP is paid at four rates:-
- Those with prior gross weekly earnings below €200 will continue to receive a rate of €203 per week.
- Those with prior gross weekly earnings of €200 to €299.99 will continue to receive €250 per week.
- Those with prior gross weekly earnings of €300 to €399.99 will continue to receive €300 per week.
- Those with prior gross weekly earnings of €400 or more will receive a rate of €350 per week.
Applying for the Pandemic Payment
- Those who may be made temporarily unemployed as a result of the move to the new level of restrictions should apply online at www.Mywelfare.ie
- When applying, you should provide the name of their employer and details of their last day of employment.
- Revenue: Guidelines on the Operation of the Employment Wage Subsidy Scheme
- Revenue: [PDF] Detailed Guidance on the CRSS, including how to register for, and make a claim under the scheme.