Minister Donohoe makes changes to Wage Subsidy Scheme to accommodate those returning from maternity or adoptive leave

29th May, 2020

The Minister for Finance and Public Expenditure and Reform, Paschal Donohoe TD, has today (Thursday) confirmed that a change to the Temporary Wage Subsidy Scheme (TWSS) will be made to accommodate the salaries of those who have returned to work after a period of maternity or adoptive leave and who may not have been on the payroll of their employer on the 29th February, or been paid in either January or February 2020; requirements for qualification for the scheme.

The amendment will be legislated for later in the year as part of the usual Finance Bill 2020 process. In the interim, Revenue has agreed that this provision will be implemented from 26th March, where applicable.

The change being made will allow for consistent treatment with other employees who were on the payroll on 29th February, noting that it is only because of the personal circumstances relating to maternity and adoptive leave that resulted in these employees not being on the payroll in the first instance.  

Minister Donohoe said: ‘I am satisfied that this change addresses the anomaly and ensures appropriate operation of the TWSS in recognition of the unique circumstances applying to those returning to work after a period of maternity or adoptive leave’.

Revenue has advised that this change will require manual operation.  The system updates are on-going and should be operational from 12 June 2020.  Input from employers is required and such employers are therefore encouraged to contact Revenue when the update is launched so that the process of including these employees’ salaries may begin as quickly as possible.


Note to Editors

The TWSS provides a subsidy from Government to employers to cover a portion of their wage bill in circumstances where the employer’s business has been negatively impacted by the effects of the restrictions that have had to be introduced to stop the spread of the COVID-19 virus. 

The sum the employer receives is based on the employees who were on their payroll on 29th February 2020, the net salary such employees received in January and February 2020, as well as the extent to which the employer remains able to continue to discharge their legal obligation to pay their employees’ salaries.

These criteria remain core requirements for the TWSS but an exception is being made in the case of those whose personal circumstances relating to maternity and adoptive leave meant that they were not on the payroll on these dates.  

Further details will be published by Revenue but may be summarised as follows:

  • On resumption of the employee from maternity or adoptive leave, there will be an onus on the employer to complete details of the employee returning to work via a new category under myEnquiries online system. This declaration, which includes the details of the current weekly gross salary amount, will form the basis for these cases to be worked manually by Revenue staff. 
  • To ensure amounts declared by the employer are not excessive relative to previous pay, Revenue will cross-reference this declaration by reference to Maternity Benefit data received from the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection and the last full weekly gross pay on record prior to maternity or adoptive leave.
  • Revenue caseworkers will manually calculate the Average Revenue Net Weekly Pay (ARNWP) for the purposes of calculating the TWSS amount. The payroll files would then be updated to include the calculated ARNWP going forward.
  • If an employee was ceased on the payroll, then the employer may re-hire them and will need to request a new Revenue Payroll Notification before the employee could benefit from the TWSS.

The employer can still top up in line with the current TWSS rules and the threshold amounts as set out in the Determination made by the Minister on 16 April 2020.

For those retained on the employer’s payroll the concession would be offered from the 26th March, that being the date Revenue first began administering the TWSS.  In the case of individuals who have been in receipt of PUP, no retrospection would apply as an individual cannot avail of dual support payments.