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Employment & Income Supports

The Department of Employment Affairs & Social Protection (DEASP), are introducing measures to limit and slow down the spread of COVID-19, to keep the number of affected people to a minimum and to reduce peak pressure on the health service. The main measures being introduced by the Government are as follows:

  • Waiver of the current 6 ‘waiting days’ for Illness Benefit in respect of medically certified cases of COVID-19 or medically required self-isolation in accordance with public health guidelines and bringing forward payment of benefits to cover the first week of any absence in respect of medically required cases of self-isolation or medically diagnosed cases of Covid-19,
  • Increasing the personal rate of Illness Benefit from €203 per week to €305 per week for a maximum period of 2 weeks of medically certified self-isolation, or for the duration of a person’s medically-certified absence from work due to COVID-19 diagnosis,
  • Removing the means test for Supplementary Welfare Allowance in respect of medically certified cases of self-isolation, and
  • Allowing self-employed people to receive either Illness Benefit or non-means tested Supplementary Welfare Allowance.

The Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection has released a detailed guide for employers and employees and includes information on: 

  • Who the enhanced arrangements are intended to support
  • Workers who are diagnosed with COVID-19
  • Workers who are not diagnosed with COVID-19 but are required to self-isolate
  • Workers whose employers do not supplement/top-up the state Illness Benefit payment
  • Availability of the enhanced payment
  • Workers who are requested to stay at home by their employer
  • Workers who are laid off temporarily or put on to short time working
  • Workers who need to take-time off work to care for a person affected by COVID-19
  • People already in receipt of Social Welfare Payments
  • How to apply for Illness Benefit for COVID-19 absences

The Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection have put an array of measures in place with regard to supports for both employees and employers which can be found here.

Temporary COVID-19 Wage Subsidy Scheme

On March 24, the Government announced the introduction of this temporary Scheme to provide financial support to both employees and employers adversely affected by the global pandemic.  The Scheme, which is expected to last 12 weeks from 26th March 2020, will enable employees to receive significant supports directly from their employer.  The Scheme will replace the previous Employer Covid-19 Refund Scheme announced which focused on assisting employers with employees who were laid off without pay.

This is a welcome announcement as many employers would wish to support their workers in this period of crisis, whether they be laid off or put on reduced working hours as a result of a downturn in business.

The main features of the Scheme:

  • Initially, the subsidy scheme will refund employers up to a maximum of €410 p/w per qualifying employee.
  • Employers should pay no more than the normal take home pay.
  • The subsidy scheme applies to employers who top up employee’s wages along with those who are not in a position to do so.
  • Employers make this special support payment to their employees through their normal payroll process which will be notified to Revenue.
  • The reimbursement will be made within two working days of the submission.
  • From April 2020, the scheme will move to a subsidy payment based on 70% of the weekly average take home pay, up to a maximum of €410 p/w.  Revenue will issue further guidance on the calculation in due course.
  • Income Tax and USC will not apply to the subsidy payment.
  • Employee PRSI will not apply to the subsidy or any top up by the employer.
  • Employers PRSI will not apply to the subsidy and will be reduced to 0.5% on the top up payment.

To qualify for the wage subsidy scheme, employers must:

  • Retain their employees on the payroll.
  • Be unable to pay normal wages and outgoings fully.
  • Be able to demonstrate, to Revenue’s satisfaction, a minimum of a 25% decline in turnover.
  • Be experiencing significant economic disruption due to Covid-19.

Further Revenue guidance is to be issue shortly which should outline the detailed workings of the scheme.

Guides & Forms for COVID-19 DEASP payments

One year on from the introduction of Revenues new PAYE regime, employers need to ensure they are ready for the transition from 2019 to 2020.

Information recently released by Revenue shows that employers have made more than 6 million payroll submissions since the introduction of PAYE modernisation in January 2019. While most employers are getting to grips with the new system, the transition from 2019 to 2020 requires careful handling.

2020 Revenue Payroll Notifications

Employers who have not already done so should request RPNs for all employees before the first payroll run of 2020. If there is no RPN available for an employee, emergency tax must be applied.

Payments made in 2020

Payments paid on or after 1 January 2020 must be reported to Revenue when the payment is made, regardless of when the money was earned. Employers should use the tax credits and rate bands included on the 2020 RPN even if the payment refers to work carried out in 2019.

Payment dates

Payments must be reported to Revenue on or before the payment date and will be included in the monthly statement that Revenue issues summarising your payroll submission requests. Payment dates for 2019 and 2020 cannot be included in the same payroll submission.

Employment Detail Summary

Employers no longer need to provide P60s for their employees. Instead, employees can now access details of their pay and statutory deductions via the ‘myAccount’ service on the Revenue website.

Employees who have left

If you are making a payment in 2020 to an employee who ceased employment in 2019, you will need to submit a new RPN request and make a payroll submission for the post-cessation payment.

‘Week 53’

As 2020 is a leap year, this may create ‘Week 53’ payroll issues for some employers if it results in an additional pay day for employees (including pensioners) who are paid on a weekly, fortnightly or 4-weekly basis. Employees who are paid on a monthly basis are not affected. If you need information or assistance about the potential impact of ’Week 53’ on Income Tax and USC deductions, please contact a member of our team.

Fines and penalties

As in all matters involving Revenue, timeliness and accurate record-keeping is vital when processing PAYE. Bear in mind that your payroll submissions and corrections feed into Revenue’s risk analysis system and that if you are selected for a compliance visit, your PAYE processes will be checked. There is a fixed penalty of €4,000 for each breach of the PAYE rules. Further information is available on the Revenue website. If you have concerns or need assistance, please get in touch.

PAYE Employee – What to do now?

Employees will not receive a P60 from employers for 2019 or subsequent years.

Instead, from 1 January 2020, you will access your Employment Detail Summary on ROS.ie through ‘myAccount’.  This summary will contain your pay and statutory deductions for the year as reported by your employer or pension provider.  To claim additional tax credits, reliefs or expenses, PAYE customers must complete an Income Tax Return.  The quickest and easiest way to complete the Return is through PAYE services in ‘myAccount’.

The financial affairs of charities and not for profit organisations has become a very topical issue in recent times.

There have been numerous high-profile cases of governance breaches in many charities and not for profits, and these have had a very damaging reputational impact on the entire sector. Regulation and legislation is starting to make headway though, explains Tim Quinlivan.  These organisations are a key component of our society and play a pivotal role in many of the essential services that are relied upon by thousands of people.

Public confidence is vital for these organisations as many are dependent on funding from a variety of public sources, these sources include charitable collections, benefactors and of course grant funding directly or indirectly from the exchequer. There have been many changes to legislation and financial reporting and these changes are helping to restore confidence in the sector.

Charities Act 2009 is a piece of legislation that was specifically drafted to reform the law around community and voluntary activity in Ireland. Although slow to be enacted, this piece of legislation has been a positive influence on the sector and has created a very clear definition as to what a charity actually is.

The Act also created a body known as the Charities Regulatory Authority (CRA). The CRA is an independent statutory agency. Its main objective is to secure compliance by charities with their legal obligations and to encourage better administration of charities.

The CRA is now very active in the sector and is having a very positive impact on compliance and accountability. It has carried out many investigations and imposed sanctions on a number of charities. In addition to enforcement, the CRA offers very useful guidance and information for charities and not for profit organisations.

The financial reporting requirements of charities and not for profit entities has remained largely consistent with companies however this will soon change with the mandatory imposition of SORP FRS 102 on qualifying Irish charities.

The Statement of Recommended Practice (SORP) is mandatory for UK charities but not yet in Ireland. The SORP is likely to come into effect in the coming years and this will lead to yet another transition to be negotiated through. The SORP brings with it more detailed reporting and disclosure requirements. Undoubtedly it will lead to more transparency from a reporting perspective but it will require additional resources and input from all stakeholders.

Certain funding agents will have particular disclosure or compliance requirements. For example, many of the bodies that give grant funding will require the recipient entity to have their financial statements audited while others will require certain disclosures be made in relation to management remuneration.

Circular 13/2014 – Management of and Accountability of Grants from Exchequer Funds is another compliance requirement of bodies that receive grant aid from the exchequer. It sets out the principles to be abided by in terms of managing and accounting for grant funding along with stipulating certain disclosure requirements such as the name of the grantor, the amount of the grant taken into income and any grant income deferred at year end.

There are many different aspects to the financial affairs and the corporate governance requirement of charities.
Contact the team at Sheil Kinnear to discuss your requirements.