EWSS Update – July 2021

Revenue published updated EWSS guidelines on 9th July which apply in respect of pay dates on or after 1st July. Since 1st July 2021, to qualify for EWSS, eligible employers must demonstrate a 30% reduction in turnover or customer orders in 2021 compared to the same period in 2019 and the disruption is caused by Covid-19. In summary, the reduction in turnover will be compared to:

EWSS guidelines
The extension of the comparable period from 6 months to 12 months 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, assuming all other qualifying conditions are met.

The current rates of EWSS will remain in place until 30th September but may be subject to change from 1st October 2021. The guidelines confirm (on page 28 and 29) that it will not be considered an abuse of EWSS where an employer continues to pay an employee a rate of pay equivalent to what the employee would have received on PUP, where the employee is not partially or wholly working. This concession continues up to the 1st September when the PUP rates reduce. At that stage, employees should revert to being paid for the hours worked at their contractual rate of pay. The guidelines also remind employers that they are not permitted to replace one employee with two employees at lower pay rates with a view to maximising the EWSS subsidies.

Revenue has introduced a key change for those employers claiming EWSS from 1st July. While employers were always required to review their eligibility at the end of each month, Revenue has now introduced a requirement for this review to be carried out online in ROS. New guidelines confirm that employers will need to submit an online monthly Eligibility Review Form on ROS. The initial submission needs to be made between 21st and 30th July 2021 and requires employers to provide details of actual monthly VAT exclusive turnover or customer order values for 2019, together with the same details for the first six months of 2021 and the monthly projections for the remainder of 2021.

On the 15th of every subsequent month in which the scheme is in operation, employers will be required to update the projected figure for the previous month to an actual figure; and review the projected figures for the remainder of the year, to ensure they remain valid.

When carrying out the monthly review of their actual/projected turnover/customer orders, an employer no longer satisfies the 30% reduction test, a warning will appear on ROS instructing the employer that they are no longer eligible for EWSS and they must deregister and cease claiming the subsidy immediately. If an employer becomes aware prior to the end of the month that they will no longer meet the eligibility criteria, they should de-register immediately and cease to claim subsidies.

Subsidies correctly claimed in accordance with the terms and conditions of the scheme prior to de-registration will not be repayable. If circumstances change the following month and the employer becomes eligible again, they can re-register and claim for pay dates from the date of re-registration. It is not possible to backdate the claim to include the period of de-registration, as it would have correctly reflected the employer’s expectation at that time.

Failure to complete and submit the EWSS Eligibility Review Form that confirms the requisite reduction in turnover/customer orders, and related declaration, will result in suspension of payment of an employer’s EWSS claims.

If you require any assistance on this please contact our Business Services team who will engage with you directly.