All the Best Things in Small Packages

As we mentioned when we discussed the Government’s announcement of the July Stimulus plan there would be some options available to the owner of small and medium enterprises (SMEs), to protect their businesses during and following on from the Covid-19 emergency. As previously discussed the Temporary Wage Subsidy Scheme has come to an end being replaced with the Employment Wage Subsidy Scheme (EWSS), which has changes that may come as quite a blow to some SMEs as it may see them no longer capable of keeping their full complement of staff, or of topping up wages to the full amount. This has been a cause for concern for many small Irish businesses who wish to keep their business afloat during these times. With this in mind, we have decided to focus on one of most recently available funding options for some of our most vulnerable businesses, micro businesses which could be of great assistance to them during this period.

Microfinance Ireland are now open for loan applications of up to €25,000 for small companies of 10 employees or less. The loan term will be 3 years and follows on from an earlier loan scheme we discussed earlier in the year, which saw loans approved for 687 companies. CEO of Microfinance Ireland, Garrett Stokes has said of the current loan landscape;

“We can see where the demand is coming from most and out Covid-19 loan scheme has been tailored to meet the ongoing needs of those micro-businesses as they navigate their way through the current challenges and beyond.”

The key point to note in this loan which may be of interest to small struggling companies is the fact that these loans will have no repayments and zero interest for the first six months. In addition to this, interest paid in months 6 to 12 will be refunded by the Government in month 13 of the loan, providing that all repayments are up to date. Following on from this period, interest will apply at a rate of 4.5% on applications made through Local Enterprise Offices or at a rate of 5.5% for applications made via Microfinance Ireland themselves.

There is to be a state backed Credit Guarantee Scheme available to larger SMEs once they can prove that they have been negatively impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Applications can be made through Local Enterprise Offices or through MFI directly.

We hope that this information is of benefit to you and your business. Should you have any queries or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact us here at EcovisDCA where we are always happy to help.

EWSS Employment Wage Subsidy Scheme

In the recent July Stimulus package the Government introduced the Employment Wage Subsidy Scheme (EWSS). This will replace the TWSS scheme which will cease on 31st August 2020.
Employers may not operate both schemes simultaneously for the same employee. Employers who are currently using the TWSS scheme must continue to do so until the end of August, at which point they can participate in the EWSS provided they meet the eligibility requirements.
However, Employers currently using TWSS may claim the EWSS for new hires from 1st July 2020. Employers who have not registered for TWSS, may use the EWSS from the 1st July 2020.
Employer Eligibility
Employers must prove their eligibility to Revenue by demonstrating:
  • That their business has suffered major disruption as a result of COVID-19. The business has suffered at least a 30% drop in either turnover or orders for the period 1st July 2020 to the 31st December 2020, when compared to the reference period of 1st July 2019 to 31st December 2019
  • The Employer must have an up to date Tax Clearance Certificate
  • The Employer must register for the EWSS. This facility is now available on ROS.
  • The Employer must review their eligibility at the end of each month and if employers no longer qualify, they must deregister for EWSS through ROS with effect from the following day (that being the 1st of the month) and cease claiming the subsidy.
  • If an employer becomes aware prior to the end of the month that they will no longer meet the eligibility criteria (e.g. unexpected donation or grant received at the start of a month), they should deregister immediately and cease to claim subsidies.
  • If circumstances change the following month and the employer is again eligible, they can reregister and claim from the date of reregistration. It is not possible to backdate the claim to include the period of deregistration as that correctly reflected the employer’s expectation at that time.
Employee Eligibility
Under EWSS eligible employees include individuals who are employed at any time by the business during the qualifying period of 1st July 2020 to 31st March 2021 and in receipt of gross wages between €151.50 and €1,462 per week. Originally, proprietary directors were excluded from the scheme, but the Government removed this restriction on the 31st of July last. Proprietary directors who keep ‘ordinary’ employees on the payroll will be eligible to the EWSS from the 1st September. Revenue will provide more guidance on this shortly. However, certain connected persons, as defined by Revenue, are ineligible unless they were on the payroll and got paid between 1st July 2019 and 30th June 2020.
Under EWSS, registered eligible Employers will receive a subsidy per eligible Employee, based on the amount of Gross Pay (as defined by Revenue under PAYE Modernisation) paid to an Employee and reported to Revenue on the Payroll Submission Request per pay period submitted to ROS. The amount of subsidy payable for a weekly payroll are as follows (monthly equivalent figures have yet to be confirmed) –
Gross Pay Subsidy
  • Less than €151.50:  €0.00 per week
  • €151.50 to €202.99:  €151.50 per week
  • €203.00 to €1,462.00:  €203.00 per week
  • More than €1,462.00:  €0.00 per week
The subsidies will be paid to the Employer once a month in arrears, after the return due date (14th of the following month).Under EWSS, payrolls return to normal pre-COVID calculations. All gross payments made to Employees are subject to Tax, USC, EE PRSI and ER PRSI in the normal way.

Employers currently using TWSS, must ensure that for all pay dates on or after the 1st September that the Employee’s primary PRSI class is set to the class applicable prior to COVID. No net addition Wage Subsidy amount should be made. Normal pay rules apply. For any Payroll Submission Request submitted to Revenue with a payment date on or after 1st September 2020 will be rejected by ROS, if J9 is reported as an Employee’s PRSI class and or a COVID Payment amount on the submission.
One point to bear in mind is that under EWSS, the Employer Rate of PRSI for eligible Employees is 0.05%. Revenue have yet to confirm how this will be implemented, but it is likely that the Employer will calculate Employer PRSI at the normal rate and Revenue will refund the difference between what was calculated at the normal rate by the Employer and the 0.05% that applies under EWSS. This may be refunded directly or the Employer monthly liability on their Statement of Account will be reduced by the value of the over calculated Employer PRSI.
To minimise abuse, safeguards will be included specifically to ensure employers are not laying off one employee to replace them with more than one employee earning a lower wage, thereby maximising subsidy entitlement, and manipulation of payroll including deferring, suspending, accruing, increasing or decreasing gross wage that would normally be payable.
To discuss how the full measures can benefit your business directly please contact us.

The Restart Grant Plus Scheme

Here at EcovisDCA, we are as always aiming to help Irish SMEs flourish. The current emergency has been a troubling time for all business owners, with SMEs being some of the most vulnerable by nature. We are committed to providing you with all the information available which could assist your business in flourishing in the face of this new adversity.

The Restart Grant Plus scheme offers a grant to businesses in order to help them to reopen their premises and return to work following the Covid-19 crisis. The grants available range is from €4,000 to a maximum of €25,000. The scheme has been increased from a previous minimum of €2,000 and a maximum of €10,000.

The Restart Grant scheme will be based on the rates assessment for the business for the 2019 year and is primarily available to small and medium enterprises (SMEs) as well as independent hotels. The scheme is now also available to sectors such as sports businesses, charity shops, restaurants, pubs, activity centres, and tourist attractions.

If your company has utilised this scheme previously, you may still be eligible to apply for a second payment, this second payment will only reach a total combined value of the new maximum value. In the event that your company was unable to access funding from the scheme but now qualifies, you will be entitled to make a new application.

The requirements for accessing this grant are that the company must have:

  • Between 0 – 250 employees.
  • Eligible firms now include medium-sized firms and independent hotels with up to 250 employees, as well as small firms (increased from 50 employees).
  • A turnover of less than €100,000 per employee up to a maximum of €25million.
  • Operating from a premises that is commercially rateable by a local authority.
  • A reduced level of turnover of 25% as a result of the Covid-19.
  • Committed to a reopening plan and remain committed to sustaining employment levels.
  • Intention to retain employees that are on the temporary wage subsidy scheme.
  • B&Bs in non-rated premises will be eligible to apply for the minimum €4,000 grant from Fáilte Ireland.
  • A franchisee which is a financially independent company and is completely separate to the franchisor is eligible to apply.
  • Multinationals are not eligible. Small Irish based subsidiaries with overseas parent companies are not eligible.

The aim is that applications will be processed, and an answer received within two weeks of application. Applications can be made through your local authority website.

As always, we here at EcovisDCA are here for you. Should you require any assistance or guidance on any business or financial matters, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Research and Development (R&D) Credit: Appointment of expert to assist in audits

Revenue have recently released a manual setting out the Revenue procedure for appointing and briefing an independent expert to assist in evaluating the science test in R&D tax credit audits.

By way of background, each year, Revenue’s Incentives unit places an advertisement on the public procurement website, www.etenders.gov.ie1 , inviting applications for placement on a panel of experts to advise in relation to claims for tax credits in respect of incremental expenditure incurred wholly and exclusively on R&D.

Applications for membership of the panel will be accepted at any time during the year. In order, to be eligible to apply for a place on the panel, individuals must hold a relevant PhD or experiential equivalent. Where an independent expert is required in a field that is not represented on the panel formed from the above process, the Incentives unit will identify suitable experts and approach them with a view to their joining the panel.

The appropriate timing for appointing an independent expert will vary from case to case. In some cases, it will be necessary to appoint an independent expert at the outset of a review while in others one may only be required where Revenue and the company reach an impasse in relation to an aspect of the science test.

Independent experts should not be engaged to explain the science: they should only be engaged where there is a doubt that the science test has been met.

Full details of the manual and procedure can be found here

 

 

5 Tips for leading your company out of a crisis

Getting out of a crisis is difficult and requires extraordinary measures and great efforts from a company and its people. Since we’re here to help, we’ve listed 5 tips for leading your company out of a crisis or turnaround situation. Read on and make smart use of these tips.

  1. Identify (and solve) the problem

How do you know that your company is in trouble? Well, depending on the situation, there can be many signs of potential distress – see some listed below. Most of the time, troubled companies are dealing with multiple signs or problems at the same time, caused by internal and external factors (i.e. the current COVID-19 crisis) interacting together. Identifying these signs and solving the underlying problems is one of the things you should do first when you strive to lead a company out of a crisis.

Distress signals

  • Declining or negative cash flow;
  • Declining stock price;
  • Regulatory inquiries;
  • Large or unplanned workforce reductions;
  • Increase in outstanding accounts payable;
  • Resignations of key finance staff;
  • Management turnover;
  • Shrinking EBITDA (Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization) margin.

 

  1. Find (and retain) talented people

One of the (few) good sides of a crisis is that the opportunity arises to find the next level of talent in an organisation. As a (turnaround) manager, you should look beyond the leadership team for people with institutional knowledge. They know all the ins and outs of the company and are essential to realising the impact of potential changes on the business. Be aware though, in many cases, they are the dissatisfied ones, unhappy with the company’s performance. But because of this, they are willing to point out the painful truths – and that’s just what needs to be done on the road to leading a company out of a crisis.

You should also keep an eye out for people that want to add value and impact. In most cases, you won’t find these people sitting around the table at the beginning, but two or three levels down – waiting for an opportunity to be part of something greater than themselves.

Retaining these people isn’t always about money and bonuses: it’s about figuring out their individual needs and get them involved.

 

  1. Concentrate on cash

In general, the board and management of most companies focus on complex, long-term metrics like EBIT and turnover. There’s nothing wrong with that, but unpleasant surprises are waiting when no one is concentrating on cash, especially during a crisis. So, the opposite needs to be done to keep a company financially healthy. The best way of doing this is by finding out which investments are making or burning cash, and by subsequently bringing your business back to its fundamental element of success. This makes it easier to see the actions needed to get back on track in terms of cash flow and steer out of the crisis you’re in.

As a company, you need forecasts with a mid- to longterm view to be able to focus on cash and avoid cash flow-related surprises. Focussing on an investment with a five-year return while money goes out the door, isn’t the right way either, so concentrating on cash flow is vital.

 

  1. Treat every turnaround like a crisis

Most companies without a crisis mindset, react the same to change: they focus on avoiding risks, and therefore they take small steps instead of leaps to get something done. There’s nothing wrong with this approach in a normal situation, but when in a real crisis, significant action is needed. Companies that treat every turnaround like a crisis and thus have that crisis mindset are willing to try the bold things that could change the trajectory of a company.

  

  1. Dare to criticise your own business plan

The best thing you can do to avoid distress is to periodically review your business plans and see how the company scores on operational and market performance. Find out where you stand as a company using essential financial and cash flow milestones, and do the same concerning your business and competitors. If that shows that you’re not moving with – or outpacing – the rest of the industry, then your business plan may be out-of-date.

Last but not least: don’t forget to look back at your business performance over the past to identify any trends. If you keep missing targets, ask why and most of all: be critical.

A Guide to Working At Home…

As of this week, we have seen a massive spike in those working remotely due to the Taoiseach’s announcement of the closure of all physical workplaces which are non-essential in the battle against this virus. We know that your inboxes are being constantly bombarded with information about this virus and its effects and we cannot turn on the television or radio without hearing further information. With this in mind, we thought we would offer some tips today on adjusting to this new and challenging working atmosphere at home.

Working from home can often make an employee more productive as it eliminates the double commute which can often add at least an hour either side of your working day. This allows for greater productivity in the working day whilst also reducing the stressor of a commute. Being in your own space causes you to re-evaluate your working habits and work schedule, while also allowing for greater ease of maximising your work to life balance, but it is not without its challenges especially when sharing that space with children, friends or family members. There are a number of steps you can take to maximise the productivity and enjoyment of your work from home day however.

Schedule:
This is the most important tip we can offer for working from home. When working in your own space it can be tempting to adjust your hours, particularly with children in the home. This can be damaging to your productivity and also encroach on your time with family outside of working hours, so it is vital to maintain your regular working hours where possible. Set an alarm for the morning, take your normal tea and lunch breaks and keep that schedule going. Sticking to your routine may be helpful to your mental health during this challenging time.

Social:
This tip is likely very specific to our current situation of social distancing where there is no time in the office or time with loved ones outside of your immediate home. A good tip for maintaining productivity and working relationships during this time is to arrange a regular catch up group video chat with your co-workers to check in in the same way you would in the office.

Set Ground Rules:
Setting ground rules for those in your home will be vital during this time as we do not yet know how long this scenario may last and with everyone in the same boat cabin fever begins to creep in. Ensure those in your home are aware of your working hours and boundaries ahead of time to avoid repeats of that infamous BBC News interview.

Step Away:
When working from home, the time spent away from your desk can often be as vital as the time spent at the desk. Particularly during our current “lockdown” situation, where daily exercise is vital. Stepping away from your desk and taking your full break will help clear your mind and set you up for productivity in the day ahead.

Space:
Setting a designated office space will help continue to separate your business and home life and make it easier to step away from your working persona at the end of the working day. Similarly, having a separate work phone available when possible will be helpful in this endeavour.

Show Up Dress Up:
Video conferencing has become the main method of meetings being held since the Taoiseach’s announcement in early March, and it is important to show up to these meetings and make your voice heard. Getting dressed into working clothes for the day may also assist in separating work and home life, as tempting as the loungewear naturally is.

School is in Session:
Online training may be a method of staying busy if you are finding your working day slow from home, and will add a new arrow to your quiver when working life returns to normal.

Slow Down and Breath:
It is important to ensure that you are working in a well ventilated room, just opening the window and taking a moment to breathe can be a vital part of refreshing your mind for the rest of the working day in the middle of so much chaos.

Social Media:
Social media is a constant for us in this day and age, and particularly during such a bizarre scenario as our current emergency is, it is often infecting every moment of our lives. When working from home it may be tempting to get sucked into the world of social media. Whilst taking breaks for brain space is advised, social media may be a rabbit hole we do not want to fall into.

We hope that this information will be of benefit to you during these difficult times. Whilst the landscape of our working lives may have changed for the time being, we here at Ecovis DCA are a constant and always available for you.A Guide to Working At Home…

Limiting the Impact of Cybercrime

This new crisis of Covid-19 presents a number of unforeseen challenges to companies, with many needing to create a new standard for working remotely, or where this is not possible the requirement becomes to seek funding, reduce employee numbers/hours or close temporarily.

One of the more unexpected challenges of this time is the resurgence of cybercrime. Cyber criminals tend to utilize major news events as an opportunity to mount a criminal campaign and the Covid-19 crisis is no different. This campaign can take many forms. One of the most common at present being the false emails issued regarding a change of banking details, luring the receiver into issuing payments to the wrong account at what is already a deeply difficult time for companies.

Des Ryan, solutions director for Microsoft Ireland has explained this new resurgence is an attack of opportunity as cyber criminals tend to prey on events which may weaken the defences of a business, in this case the shift to remote working situations.

“Cyber criminals are opportunistic […] we are definitely seeing Covid-19 related attacks as attackers are just using this to find the weak link.”

It is also suggested that cyber criminals are merely adapting their usual tactics to profit from the current crisis. The current breed of cyber criminals is known for sending false emails detailing a change of bank details or requesting a change to Revolut (which would ensure that the funds are transferred with immediate effect). There have also been a number of fake charity accounts set up purporting to benefit the current Covid-19 crisis. These criminals are preying on companies who may not have been prepared to work remotely and have had to set up a temporary system quickly and without training and protection in place and targeting staff members who are now outside of their comfort zone and possibly distracted with their surroundings. Utilising personal laptops and phones etc. may also be a point of weakness as these will not be as secure as those in the workplace.

Many are already feeling the strain of this current atmosphere of anxiety and so it seems We are all protecting our staff health during this time, but how can we protect the digital health of our business at what is already an intense time?

  • Consider setting staff up with work laptops and phones where necessary. This will ensure that the devices are as protected for home use as they are within the office environment. Having equipment to hand that requires multi-step authentication will provide extra security.
  • Where possible, if a work laptop is not issued, staff should try to ensure that the computer is used only for their work during this time if they deal with sensitive information.
  • Online security training may be a good way for staff to utilize this possibly quieter time to upskill.
  • Remember and remind your staff of the basics of verifying the origin of an email or phonecall before dealing with any bank details. Often, false emails can be incredibly convincing until you hover over the email address and notice that it isn’t correct.
  • Ensure that all staff are aware of these targeted campaigns and are extra vigilant when dealing with any bank details or personal details.

We hope that this information will be of benefit to you and your company and that you and your staff are staying healthy and well in these difficult times. We are as always available should you require any advice or guidance on any business of financial matters.

Involuntary Strike Off

When setting up your company, it is incredibly easy to dismiss the idea of a negative or unfavourable end to your business life. However, as we have gone over many times in the past, it is essential to have a realistic outlook and to be aware of the consequences of your business actions. Today we will be focusing on Involuntary Strike Off. As we are all aware, there are a certain number of requirements of all companies including the filing of annual returns. Non-compliance in this area can result in the company being struck off the register, an action which can have some far-reaching consequences that many business owners may not be aware of.

Failure to file an annual return is the most common reason for strike off in Ireland. In some cases, not filing a return can be a simple case of missing the date accidentally, but in some cases business owners may view being struck off by the CRO as a cheap and easy way of disposing of a company,

Under what circumstances could a company fact involuntary strike off?

  • Failure to make an annual return for one year.
  • Where the company receives notice in writing from Revenue of failure to deliver a statement.
  • Where the registrar may believe that there is no EEA resident director or bond in place.
  • The company is being wound up and the Registrar believes that there is no liquidator in place.
  • Where the company has already been wound up, but no returns have been made by the liquidator for a period of 6 months.
  • No current director is noted in the office.

What does the strike off process involve?

  • A non-statutory reminder will be sent to a non-compliant company.
  • A strike off notice will be issued which will detail the reasoning behind strike off and ways in which this can be avoided.
  • 28 days following this notice, a notice will be published in the CRO Gazette unless remedial actions have been taken.
  • 28 days following this second notice, the company will be officially struck off the register.
  • A notice dissolving the company will then be published in the CRO Gazette.
  • Should a company be struck off for failure to file annual returns, the business owner may face legal issues.

Should your company experience involuntary strike off while still trading, some of the negative consequences include:

  • The company ceases to exist as a legal entity from the date of publication.
  • The assets of the company become the property of the State.
  • The protection of the company’s limited liability is lost from the date of publication, meaning that should trading continue, it is in a personal capacity.
  • Banks cannot lend funds to an entity which does not exist.
  • Business owners may face legal issues.

Should your company be struck off, it is possible to reinstate a company through the CRO within 12 months of the strike off, by filing all outstanding returns, paying all fees. Alternatively, you can voluntarily strike off your company which will have less of the negative consequences.

We hope that this information will be of benefit to you. If you have any queries or concerns on any business or financial matters, please don’t hesitate to contact us here at EcovisDCA.

 

 

 

Alternative Lending

Flender

Flender Ireland  is a Peer to Peer Lender for small and medium sized business. It is authorised by the UK Financial Conduct Authority. Flender offer the  following products:

 

Term Loans

Flender offers businesses access to fast funding up to €300,000. Get a credit decision within 6 hours and receive funds within 24 hours. Terms range from 6 to 36 months, with rates starting as low as 6.45%.

In order to apply for a term loan companies / sole traders need:

  • Completed Application form
  • Last 2 years Filed Accounts – Unabridged version with P & L and Balance Sheet
  • Last 2 years Revenue Filed Form 11s (if sole trader)
  • Up to date Management accounts if available
  • Last 6 months bank statements
  • Up to date tax cert – (Tax Ref Number & Access Number ID)

Applications are made on line at : https://www.flender.ie/users/registration/borrower

 

Merchant Cash Advance

Online merchants and other businesses that conduct a majority of their sales online are prime candidates for our MCA product. Since businesses of this nature receive payment primarily via credit card purchases, the monthly payment amount is less when a business is making less revenue and increases when the business makes more revenue. If you earn revenue via check or cash, an MCA probably isn’t right for you.

 

  • Works with natural trade cycles – ideal for retail, hospitality and service businesses
  • Repayments made daily as a small percentage of card terminal revenues
  • Lump sum funding from €10,000 to €250,000
  • Terms from 3 to 12 months
  • Repayments made directly through merchant card processors

 

For further information please contact:

Ecovis DCA

Stephen Connolly – Stephen.connolly@ecovis.ie

Dennis Duffy  – dennis.duffy@ecovis.ie

 

Flender

Colin Canny  – colin.canny@flender.ie

 

Linked Finance

Covid 19 Emergency Loan Product

Linked Finance has launched a Deferred Start Loan for businesses affected by the Covid-19 pandemic. It means businesses can get access to working capital now, with the reassurance of no repayments for the first 3 months.

After the first 3 months payment-free, the loan is then repaid over a 12 month period.

Loans are available up to €100,000 to businesses that are trading for at least 2 years and have a (pre-crisis) annual turnover in excess of €100,000. As with their standard loans, the application process is very simple, just three standard documents, no projections and a credit decision will be given in 24 hours

Any established and creditworthy business, whether it is a limited company, sole trader or business partnership, can apply for a loan on Linked Finance.

In order to apply for this facility companies / sole traders will need:

  • Last 6 full calendar months bank statements i.e. Sept 1st to Feb 29th.
  • Proof of overdraft (IF ANY) Even online screen-print is fine
  • Latest full set of accounts to include Admin Expenses breakdown

Some conditions apply. These include:

  • If you are a sole trader, you must be a permanent resident of Ireland.
  • If your business is a partnership, it must have a permanent place of business in Ireland and at least half of its partners must be permanent residents of Ireland.
  • If your business is a limited company, it must be registered with the Companies Registration Office (CRO).
  • It must have filed accounts with the CRO (if required to do so) at least once and at least half of its directors must be Irish residents.
  • Your business must have been actively trading for at least the past two years.
  • Your business must meet our minimum credit risk and fraud criteria.
  • Your business must not have any outstanding judgements for more than €250.
  • In special circumstances, we can support younger companies who have demonstrated strong growth potential over a shorter trading history but this is at Linked Finance’s sole discretion.

For further information please contact

Ecovis DCA

Stephen Connolly – Stephen.connolly@ecovis.ie

Dennis Duffy  – dennis.duffy@ecovis.ie

Linked Finance

Mark Lindsey – mark@linkedfinance.com

Covid 19 – Update on Social Welfare supports for Employees and Employers

  • Social Welfare measures for Employees & the Self Employed
  • Process for Employers for keeping staff on the Payroll
  • The process for Refunds to Employers who engage with the scheme

COVID 19 – Pandemic Unemployment Payment

If you have lost work due to a downturn in economic activity caused by COVID-19 you can apply for the new  COVID 19 – Pandemic Unemployment Payment at this link – https://www.gov.ie/en/service/be74d3-covid-19-pandemic-unemployment-payment/

This new payment quickly delivers income support to the unemployed (be they self-employed or employees) for a 6-week period.

It is designed to provide income security for a period during which you can apply for a full Jobseekers payment (and receive any additional entitlements backdated).

You can apply for the Pandemic Unemployment Payment by filling in a one page application at the link above and returning to PO BOX 12896, Dublin 1. by FREEPOST. You do not need to visit an Intreo Centre to apply.

 

How to Qualify

Both employees and self-employed people can apply for the new COVID-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment.

You can apply for the payment if you:

  • Are aged between 18 and 66 years AND
  • You have lost employment due to the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic
  • And it also includes people who have been put on part-time or casual work.
  • Students who have lost employment can also apply.

The COVID-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment is paid at a flat rate of €203 per week for 6 weeks. It is equivalent to the jobseeker payment rate.

If you are getting another social welfare payment and you have lost your employment, it can be paid in addition to this.

 

Employers – Keeping Staff & Refunds

Revenue has worked closely with Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection (DEASP) to provide an option for employers to make this payment to their employees through the normal payroll process. The amounts paid to employees under the scheme are not subject to tax, USC or PRSI.

Employers are encouraged to facilitate employees by operating the scheme. The amounts paid to employees and notified to Revenue will then be transferred into the employer’s bank account by Revenue.

This reimbursement will, in general, be made on a ‘next day’ basis. It will ensure a speedy payment process for employees and minimise the hardship for employees who are temporarily laid off. Refunds of income tax or USC that an employee may be entitled to because of being laid off will also be administered by the employer and will be repaid (to the employer) through the scheme.

The scheme can be operated for all employees for whom a payroll submission was made by the employer in the period from 1 February 2020 to 15 March 2020. Where employees have already been laid off and their employer has ceased their employment, they can apply directly to DEASP for the payment.

 

Who does the scheme apply to?

  • Employers who have temporarily laid off staff as a result of the impact on their business of the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic
  • Employers that keep their staff on payroll and have not ceased the employee(s) with Revenue
  • Employees for whom a payroll submission was made by the employer in the period from 1 February 2020 to 15 March 2020
  • Employers that are unable to make top-up payments over and above the emergency payment of €203 per week.

Making an application for the Refund Scheme

Employers, or their agents, apply to Revenue to operate the scheme by carrying out the following steps:

Log on to ROS myEnquiries and select the category Employer COVID -19 Refund Scheme’.

Read the declaration and press the ‘Submit’ button.

Log on to ROS and in ‘Manage bank accounts’, ‘Manage EFT’, ensure that the bank account details provided are correct.

 

Key features of the scheme

The employer will make the payroll submission to Revenue on or before each pay date.

Employers should contact their payroll software providers for assistance in respect of payroll to be processed under this scheme.

The employer runs the payroll as normal, entering the following details for each relevant employee:

 

PRSI Class set to J9

A pay amount of €0.01 (there must be some pay entered for the payroll to run).

A non-taxable amount of €203. No other payment amounts are made by the employer to the employee and all temporarily laid off employees are granted the €203.

The payroll submission must include pay frequency and period number.

No other payments are made by the employer to the employee for the applicable week(s) and all temporarily laid off employees receive the €203 per week.

Income tax, USC and PRSI are not deducted from the €203 payment.

Any Income Tax and USC refunds that arise as a result of the application of tax credits and rate bands can be repaid by the employer and this amount will also be refunded to the employer.

The employee must confirm to the employer that they have not, and will not, claim a payment from DEASP whilst the employer makes this payment through the payroll.

Employers will be asked to advise employees to make a Jobseeker’s Benefit claim via the MyWelfare.ie online portal (so that the employee(s) can access qualified dependant payments if appropriate).

Based on the information provided in payroll submissions, Revenue will credit €203 per employee per week to the employer’s bank account recorded in ROS.  The credit will include the reference COVID Employer Refund. (The main identifiers include Employer Number Gross Pay of €0.01, J9 PRSI class, Pay Frequency and Employee PPSN, Employment ID).

Revenue will credit the employer bank account for payroll submissions received before 2:00 PM each day.  Depending on the individual bank, the refund should be with the employer on the next banking day.

If the employee(s) resume employment with the employer, or obtains other supports from DEASP, or secures employment elsewhere, the employer will not include the employee(s) concerned in future submissions.

 

Guidance/Information

For general issues relating to the Scheme, employers should contact Revenue’s National Employer Helpdesk via the myEnquiries system, providing details of the query and a direct dial contact number.

Employers should make sure to select ‘Employer’s PAYE’ and then ‘Employer’s PAYE General Enquiry’ when submitting the query through myEnquiries.