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Sage Payroll Software Update 23.2 for Operational Phase of the Covid-19 Temporary Wage Subsidy Scheme (04/05/2020 – 31/07/2020)

Important Note! 01/08/2020:
The article below pertains to the ‘TWSS’ (Temporary Wage Subsidy Scheme). The ‘TWSS’  closed for new applications on 31st July 2020. It has been replaced by a new scheme called the ‘EWSS’ (Employment Wage Subsidy Scheme). Companies who are currently in the ‘TWSS’, can remain in it until 31st August 2020, at which point they must switch to the new ‘EWSS’ scheme. Companies who are joining the Wage Subsidy Scheme for the first time (after the 31st July) must join the ‘EWSS’ scheme. The full details of the new ‘EWSS’ scheme have not yet been released by Revenue, however they have released some general info on Gov.ie which you can link to here: EWSS on Gov.ie


What Happened from the 4th of May 2020?

From the 4th of May 2020 Revenue entered the ‘Operational Phase’ of their Temporary Wage Subsidy Scheme. This is be a more real-time approach to processing the wage subsidies.

To kickstart that, Revenue activated a new download feature inside ROS. Employers can download an ‘Average Pay’ CSV file, which they will then need to import into their payroll software. This will ‘set’ the ‘Average Pay’ amount for each employee, into the Employee’s Record. WHile the content of the file will not change much, you can download the file each pay period to catch any changes that may have occurred. The process is similar to that of the way we used to import P2C files from Revenue. (Download a file from ROS, Save It, Open your Payroll Software, Import the File).

In conjunction with the file download, and to accommodate the Operational Phase, Sage released a software update for Sage Payroll on the 4th of May 2020. The new version is V23.2. You will need to be on that version to correctly process payroll under the Wage Subsidy Scheme from the 4th of May 2020 onwards.


With Regard to the Temporary Wage Subsidy Scheme, What does Sage Payroll Software Version 23.2 contain?

The new software version 23.2 contains:

  • A flag to officially nominate your ‘Covid 19’ pay element as your Subsidy payment element. (New Tickbox)
  • A feature to import the Revenue ‘TWSS Calculation’ CSV file, and automatically set the Average Weekly Pay into the Employee’s record. (New field)
  • A flag to mark an employee as being paid under the subsidy scheme. (New Tickbox)
  • A new feature built into the timesheet screen, to automatically calculate the subsidy amount. (New Feature)
  • A new feature built in to the timesheet screen to assist with ‘tiering & tapering’ as you enter in a top up amount. (New Feature)
  • A new field in the Employee ETP record, to hold the Covid19 subsidy amount processed for any applicable period. (New Field)
  • Inclusion of the Covid19 Subsidy payment amount, for each employee, in the live submission to ROS. (Live Reporting)


How do I process payroll under the Temporary Wage Subsidy Scheme?

Before starting the procedure below, please read through all of steps 1-7.
To process payroll correctly under the Temporary Wage Subsidy Scheme, from the 4th of May 2020, you will need to do the following:

  1. Download your ‘TWSS Calculation’ CSV file from your ROS account, and Save it to your PC. See instructions on how to download the file from ROS in the ‘Other Info’ section further down.
  2. In Sage Payroll – Set new period & Take a Backup (Start of Period is the best time to install an update)
  3. Download & Install the Sage Payroll 23.2 Update if you have not done already –> Click Here To Download (212MB). For instructions on how to apply the update see Update Sage Payroll (Micropay).
  4. In Sage Payroll – Open your Payments List and officially mark your Covid19 Pay Element, as a ‘Covid 19’ payment with the new tick box.
  5. In Sage Payroll – Import your Revenue Average Pay CSV file and select the relevant employees to include in the scheme. This will set the ‘Revenue Average Net Pay’ per employee, and save it in a new ‘Revenue Average Net Pay’ field in the employee’s record. (To do this – use the new ‘Covid-19 TWSS Revenue Import’ option under the Miscellaneous menu at the top of the screen. If you get the error “Invalid CSV file selected” when importing, see more help below –> click here)
  6. Important Note: If you have payroll with a frequency of Bi-Monthly or 4-Weekly, you will need to manually add a formula file to your Sage Payroll system. See instructions on how to do this in the ‘Other Info’ section further down. If you don’t have a Bi-Monthly or 4-Weekly frequency payroll, just skip to number 7 below.
  7. In Sage Payroll – Open the time sheets screen and process your time sheets. If you have successfully imported your ‘TWSS Calculation’ CSV file, then you can expect your Covid 19 payment to be automatically populated with the max covid payment allowed for the employee in question. You will need to enter the Top Up payment manually. If you enter an amount which exceeds the maximum top up allowed, then the subsidy amount will automatically taper down (reduce).
  8. In Sage Payroll – When all your timesheets are complete and your payments are saved, you should crosscheck your calculated Covid Subsidy amounts with those in the Revenue CSV File. To do this use the Sage Payroll payments report for the Covid-19 Subsidy pay element, and cross check it with the Revenue CSV file. These could be different due employees having multiple employments, and if so, will need to be corrected in Sage Payroll before submitting to Revenue.
  9. In Sage Payroll – Validate that all employees for whom you are claiming a Covid Subsidy refund for, have been included in the submission. In the submission screen, before you click the final submit button, the total Covid Subsidy amount included in the submission will be shown. You need to check this value against the total value in the Sage Payroll payments report for the Covid-19 Subsidy pay element (used in Step 8). If they don’t match, investigate if you have omitted to apply a taxable top-up value of at least 0.01 cent to one or more employees.

The above steps are demonstrated in our short video –> click here to view.
If you prefer to have a read through, you can link to Sage’s detailed Knowledge Base Article Here –> click here to open.


Other Info/Links:


New Covid Section of the Revenue Website –> Click Here
In the new Covid Section of the Revenue Website, you can download the following:

  • [PDF] Guidance on Employer Eligibility
  • [PDF] Guidance on the Operational Phase of the TWSS  (Effective from 04/05/2020 onwards)
  • [XLS] MS Excel TWSS Sample Subsidy Calculator
  • [CSV] TWSS – Sample Employer CSV File
  • [PDF] TWSS – Employer CSV Description
  • [PDF] Guidance on the Transitional Phase of the TWSS

How to Download Your ‘TWSS Calculation’ CSV File:
This is detailed in section A2.2 of Revenues ‘Guidance on the Operational Phase of the TWSS’ Pdf Document V9 which is linked above, but in short the instructions are:

  • Log in to your ROS Account –> Click Here
  • From the homepage, in the ‘Employer Services’ section click on ‘Request RPNs’
  • On the next screen, click on ‘Request Temporary Wage Subsidy Scheme Calculation’
  • On the next screen, click ‘Request Calculation’ button.
  • On the next screen, enter your password & click ‘Sign & Submit’ button.
  • Look for the file in you ‘Downloads Folder’ on your computer.

Payrolls with Bi-Monthly or 4-Weekly Frequencies:

Sage Payroll V23.2 uses formulae to calculate the Covid19 Subsidy values. Each formula is lengthy and is held in a file in your system data folder. The formula file is then referenced in your Covid19 pay element. Each frequency has a separate formula file. Sage Payroll version 23.3 automatically included the relevant formulae files for the most common payroll frequencies (Weekly, Monthly & Fortnightly). However, for the payroll frequencies Bi-Monthly and 4-Weekly, Sage were unable to include the formulae files with the 23.2 update installation. These have to be added manually. To do this follow the instructions below – you will need to carry out these instructions for each Bi-Monthly and/or 4-Weekly payroll in your system:

  1. Download the appropriate formula file for your pay frequency: Click here to download the Bi-Monthly formula file (CovidB.FML). Click here to download the 4-Weekly formula file (Covid4W.FML).
  2. If prompted, browse to where you want to save the file to (eg: Desktop). If not prompted – check your Downloads folder for the downloaded formula file.
  3. When you’ve located the downloaded formula file, right click on it and the click ‘Copy’.
  4. Open Sage Payroll and log in to the payroll in question as normal.
  5. From the menu bar – click Help\System Information, then click on the Data Directory link.
  6. When the data directory location opens, right click and then click ‘paste’ to paste the relevant formula file to your payroll data location.
  7. Next, you need to link the formula file to your covid payment: In Sage Payroll, from the menu bar – click Company/Payroll then click Payments. Double click on your covid subsidy payment to edit it.
    1. In the ‘Formula’ field at the very bottom of the screen presented, type in the appropriate formula and then press Save: include the quotation marks that you see in the bold text below:

For Bi-Monthly frequency payrolls type: program “covidb.fml”
For 4-weekly frequency payrolls type: program “covid4w.fml”

Note: If you cannot find a ‘Formula’ field at the bottom of the payment screen, it may be because you have ‘Sage Payroll Lite’ In this scenario, for assistance with adding the formula to the payment, please call us.

System Requirements for Sage Payroll:

To view the system Requirements for Sage Payroll –> Click Here

How to Fix Error “Invalid CSV file selected” when using the “Covid-19 TWSS Revenue Import”:

We have had a number of reports from clients saying that the “Average Pay CSV file” form Revenue fails to import into Sage using the “Covid-19 TWSS Revenue Import” function with the error “Invalid CSV file selected”. This seems to be related to how the file was downloaded from Revenue. If this occurs follow these steps to fix the problem..

1. Open the Revenue CSV File,
2. Go to the last employee row and go to Column U
3. Press “Return” to go to a new row.
4. Select “File – Save As”
5, Ensure the “Save as Type” is “CSV (comma delimited)”.
6. Try the import into Sage Payroll again.

How to Fix Error on Opening ARW (Advanced Report Writer):

The most common errors which occur when opening the ARW program are: “Data Source Error Filling Lattice” and “Cannot Read User File”. Either of these can occur if the computer that you’re trying to run ARW on, doesn’t have the required ODBC driver installed on it. To fix an occurrence of either of these download & install this ODBC Driver.


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