COVID 19 Payroll Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Our article on the COVID 19 Payroll Related Information will give you information on the background to the government support schemes and illness benefit and how to apply these in your Sage Payroll (Micropay). This article lists some of the most common questions that we have been asked in relation to this topic. (Please note, this article is for information only and while we have done our best to ensure accuracey at time of writing it is subject to change, so please confirm any details with the relevant authorities before acting.)
Q.1. What should I do if I have to temporarily lay off staff?
If your company intends to open up after the pandemic and you feel that closure is temporary, you should enter into the ‘Wage Subsidy Scheme’. In this situation the employee needs to do nothing. The employer has to do all the work. (Qualify, register, calculate the 70/30 split in payroll, pay the wage, etc…) This is between the employer and Revenue. For this scenario – with regard to marking as a leaver –do nothing to the employees record (do not mark as leaver, do not mark as suspended).
Q.2. What should I do if I have to permanently lay off staff?
If the company has made a decision to ‘Let Go’ some or all staff permanently (as in: P45’d) then the relevant employee(s) should be marked as a leaver [as normal], not suspended. The employee then needs to apply for the ‘Pandemic Payment’ for themselves. This is between the individual and the revenue/DEASP. The ‘Pandemic Payment’ is an enhanced unemployment benefit, it is only available to people that are made officially ‘unemployed due to the COVID-19 pandemic and have been processed through the systems.
Q3. What if someone has worked overtime, additional hours etc. what would happen?
As per Revenue, when operating the scheme, the amount of subsidy claimed plus the amount of top up can not exceed the average net pay of the employee for the period January and February 2020. If the employer makes an additional payment greater than the difference allowed by the scheme (i.e. the employee receives more than the Average Net Weekly Pay) then the subsidy value refundable to the employer will be reduced by this excess amount when the refund reconciliation is performed by Revenue in due course. Therefore it would be in the employees / employers best interest to wait until the scheme is over.
Q4. Is the wage subsidy taxable on the employee?
The payments are liable to income tax; however, the subsidy is not taxable in real-time through the PAYE system during the period of the subsidy scheme. Instead the employee will be liable for tax on the subsidy amount paid to them by their employer by way of review at the end of the year.
Q5. What if my employee has multiple jobs, will they get multiple payments?
If an employee has multiple employments, each employer can operate the scheme based on 70% of each employee’s net weekly earnings.
Q6. How do Employers register for the Subsidy Scheme?
Employers, or their agents, apply to Revenue to operate the scheme by carrying out the following steps:
- Log on to ROS myEnquiries,
- Click Add A New Enquiry.
- Select the category ‘Covid-19: Temporary Wage Subsidy’.
- Read the “Covid-19: Temporary Wage Subsidy Self-Declaration” and press the ‘Submit’ button.
- Revenue will issue a confirmation via myEnquiries and the employer can immediately operate the scheme.
Q7. Can paper filers use the scheme?
The scheme is open to employers who file electronically through ROS.
Q8. Is the scheme open to directors?
Yes, if directors are paid through the payroll system and are included in the relevant payroll submissions for an eligible employer then they are eligible to receive the wage subsidy.
Q9. Is the scheme open to self-employed as well as employees?
Self-employed individuals will be paid directly by DEASP under the COVID-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment scheme rather than through this Revenue operated subsidy scheme.
Q10. What if an employer was refunded €203 in the Employer Refund Scheme, are they now due more?
The Temporary Wage Subsidy scheme is operational only from March 26, 2020 so they will not be due a further refund for submissions made up to that date. Revenue will transfer those employers who have registered for the Employer Covid-19 Refund scheme across to this new scheme and they are entitled to operate their payroll within the Subsidy Scheme from 26 March 2020.