The Finance (Covid-19 and Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill 2021 was published on 23 June and extended the Employee Wage Subsidy Scheme (EWSS) to 31 December 2021. On 9 July, Revenue published guidelines to highlight the changes to the EWSS applicable for the period from 1 July 2021. The main change made to the scheme was in relation to eligibility.
Businesses who started trading before 1 January 2019 must compare their level of trade for 2021 to the level of trade for 2019 to assess their eligibility for the scheme. This will allow businesses whose trade was severely impacted due to government restrictions in the first half of 2021 to trade at higher levels for the second half of 2021 compared to 2019 and still avail of the scheme, subject to meeting the scheme conditions.
To assist employers in ensuring continued eligibility for the scheme, from 30 June 2021, all employers will be required to complete and submit an online monthly EWSS Eligibility Review Form (ERF) through ROS. Revenue has extended the deadline for completing and submitting the EWSS Eligibility Review Form in respect of June 2021 to 15 August 2021. The eligibility review form in respect of July 2021 is also due to be submitted on the same date.
Through ROS, employers will need to provide details of actual monthly turnover or customer order values for 2019, together with the same detail for the first six months of 2021. They will also need to provide details of monthly projections for the remainder of 2021 i.e. July to December 2021.
On 15th of every subsequent month during the scheme operation, employers will need to provide details of the actual results for the previous month, together with reviewing the original projections provided to ensure they remain valid. This can be summarised as follows:
Timely submission of the electronic form will provide assurance to both employers and Revenue that subsequent EWSS claims are appropriate and in line with the terms of the scheme. This, in turn, will reduce the possibility of employers claiming EWSS amounts to which they are not entitled and having to repay those amounts to Revenue.
Childcare businesses continue to be eligible for the scheme with no reduction in turnover or orders required. However, there is a requirement for such businesses to register for EWSS through ROS prior to submitting payroll for paydates in respect of which subsidies are being claimed.
As part of the monthly submission, employers (or agents on their behalf) must sign a declaration that the information submitted is correct and accurate with best-estimate projections for future months. Failure to complete and submit the EWSS Eligibility Review Form that confirms the required reduction and related declaration will result in suspension of payment of EWSS claims.
Childcare businesses and businesses who commenced trading after 1 November 2019 will have to complete a declaration as part of the Employer Eligibility Review platform on ROS to confirm their exemption.
For more information you can read Revenue's Guidelines on eligibility for the Employment Wage Subsidy Scheme from 1 July 2021 document here.