Information about the Temporary Wage Subsidy Scheme (TWSS)

Qualifying criteria for employers and employees

The TWSS was available to employers from all sectors whose business activities were adversely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The TWSS was not available to the public service or non-commercial semi-state sector.

What employers qualified for the TWSS?

To qualify an employer must have been:

  • experiencing significant negative economic disruption due to COVID-19
  • able to demonstrate, to the satisfaction of Revenue, a minimum of a 25% decline in turnover
  • unable to fully pay normal wages and normal outgoings
  • retaining their employees on the payroll, some of whom may have been:
    • temporarily not working
    • on reduced hours
    • on reduced pay.

An employer might have been eligible for the TWSS for some or all their employees, subject to their levels of pay.

What employees qualified for the TWSS?

The TWSS was initially confined to employees:

  • who were on the employer’s payroll as at 29 February 2020
  • and
  • for whom a payroll submission was made to Revenue in the period from 1 February to 15 March 2020.

An employee who was claiming the Pandemic Unemployment Payment (PUP) from Department of Social Protection (DSP) could not be included in the TWSS. If an employee had been previously laid off and re-hired, the employee qualified for the TWSS once their PUP ceased.

Employees who were not on payroll on 29 February 2020

Following announcements by the Minister for Finance and Public Expenditure and Reform, Revenue implemented changes to the TWSS. These changes accommodated employees returning to work, who were not on their employer’s payroll on 29 February 2020.

Employees returning to work following a specific period of absence

Employers could include employees who were returning to work:

  • following a period of Maternity, Adoptive, Paternity, Parental or related unpaid leave
  • having been in receipt of, for the month of February 2020, a payment by the DSP for:
    • Health and Safety
    • Parent's Benefit
    • Illness Benefit.

Apprentices returning to work

Employers could include apprentices who were:

  • on an apprenticeship education and training programme run by SOLAS
  • and
  • not on their main employer’s payroll in February 2020.

For apprentices who were ceased from payroll and in receipt of the PUP, no retrospection to the TWSS applied. However, employers could have rehired these apprentices and operated TWSS, once their PUP ceased.

For each employee returned to the payroll, Revenue applied the TWSS retrospectively to whichever was the latest of:

  • the date of return to employment
  • the date the employer joined the TWSS
  • 26 March 2020.

Next: Registration, operation and taxation of the TWSS