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 Header Item Written Answers Nos. 112-127
 Header Item Motor Tax
 Header Item Greenways Provision
 Header Item Bus Services
 Header Item Covid-19 Pandemic
 Header Item Freedom of Information
 Header Item National Driver Licensing Service
 Header Item Covid-19 Pandemic
 Header Item Covid-19 Pandemic Supports
 Header Item Covid-19 Pandemic Supports
 Header Item National Car Test
 Header Item Covid-19 Pandemic
 Header Item Help-To-Buy Scheme
 Header Item Tax Code
 Header Item Covid-19 Pandemic
 Header Item Freedom of Information
 Header Item Covid-19 Pandemic Supports

Wednesday, 29 July 2020

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 996 No. 2
Unrevised

First Page Previous Page Page of 101 Next Page Last Page

Written Answers Nos. 112-127

Motor Tax

 112. Deputy James Browne Information on James Browne Zoom on James Browne asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Eamon Ryan Zoom on Eamon Ryan the position regarding the processing of motor tax payments by An Post; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [19535/20]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Eamon Ryan): Information on Eamon Ryan Zoom on Eamon Ryan Under existing arrangements, motor tax is payable in person or by post through motor tax offices in 26 local authorities. It is also payable online at any time, with the level of online usage increasing from 42% of all motor tax transactions in 2010 to just under 79% at the end of last year.  While overall motor tax transactions have reduced slightly in recent months due to Covid-19, the percentage of online transactions has increased significantly during that time, averaging 92% of all motor tax transactions in each of the last three months.

An Interdepartmental Group was established in October 2018 to consider options around the provision of ‘offline’ Government services, including motor tax.  The Group found that, rather than offline consumers experiencing an increasingly inconsistent approach to service provision, consideration should be given, in the context of the new National Digital Strategy and Our Public Service 2020, to the adoption of a whole of Government approach to offline service provision, similar to the adoption of Digital Government.  It was concluded that such an initiative should be driven centrally.  A whole of Government perspective allows the development of a set of principles outlining quality customer service for offline consumers, which could include bundling service delivery using existing nationwide customer facing networks.  Such an approach would provide a consistent and high quality experience to offline consumers and provide locations to help offline customers transition to digital Government.  The future provision of motor tax services will be considered within that framework.

Greenways Provision

 113. Deputy Brendan Smith Information on Brendan Smith Zoom on Brendan Smith asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Eamon Ryan Zoom on Eamon Ryan if funding will be approved at an early date in respect of a feasibility study for a project (details supplied); if urgent consideration will be given to the application in view of the tourism potential of the proposed project; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [19222/20]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Eamon Ryan): Information on Eamon Ryan Zoom on Eamon Ryan Today I announced funding of €4.5 million to 26 Greenway Projects. The funding was allocated under the Carbon Tax Fund 2020 and provides support for feasibility, planning and design for Greenways around the country. I am pleased to confirm that funding of €175,000 has been allocated to Cavan County Council for two sections of the Cavan Railway Greenway, from Cavan to Drumully and from Cloverhill to Belturbet. In addition funding of €500,000 has been allocated to Leitrim County Council to progress the Sligo, Leitrim and Northern Counties Greenway from Collooney to Blacklion. My Department has not received an application for funding for a Greenway from Dromod

Bus Services

 114. Deputy Colm Burke Information on Colm Burke Zoom on Colm Burke asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Eamon Ryan Zoom on Eamon Ryan if a bus route between Cork city centre to Kerrypike Clogheen, County Cork will be examined in view of the increase in population over the past number of years; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [19271/20]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Eamon Ryan): Information on Eamon Ryan Zoom on Eamon Ryan As Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, I have responsibility for policy and overall funding in relation to public transport. I am not involved in the day-to-day operational aspects of public transport.

The issue raised is a matter for the National Transport Authority (NTA), in conjunction with Bus Éireann, and I have forwarded the Deputy's question to the NTA for direct reply.  Please advise my Office if you do not receive a reply within ten working days.

  A referred reply was forwarded to the Deputy under Standing Order 51.

Covid-19 Pandemic

 115. Deputy Brendan Griffin Information on Brendan Griffin Zoom on Brendan Griffin asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Eamon Ryan Zoom on Eamon Ryan if he will consider proposals by travel agents (details supplied) to support the travel industry; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [19282/20]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Eamon Ryan): Information on Eamon Ryan Zoom on Eamon Ryan The Deputy raises an important issue for Irish licensed travel agents and tour operators, many of which are small, local high street businesses.  Under the EU Package Travel Directive, travel agents and tour operators are required to provide their customers with a full cash refund when a holiday is cancelled due to exceptional circumstances, which of course Covid is.  However, the travel agents and tour operators are having difficulties securing refunds themselves from their suppliers to pass onto their customers, and indeed where flights take place - irrespective whether a travel agent's customer has cancelled - the airlines are not obligated to provide a refund.  I know this is causing considerable financial strain in the sector.

The State is providing financial backing for a Refund Credit Note scheme, under which travel agents and tour operators can issue credit notes to their customers instead of cash - if the customer agrees - and the financial value of that credit note is guaranteed by the State.  This is a measure designed to give assurance to consumers about the safety of accepting a credit note, and help the industry alleviate the cash flow drain it is experiencing.   The challenge is to ensure that consumer rights are protected and at the same time that viable business and their workers are kept going. The sector may also avail of the Government wage support scheme and business supports, particularly those aimed at small and medium enterprises.

My Department is maintaining an open engagement with the travel trade industry and Minister of State Hildegarde Naughton has met with representatives of the Irish Travel Agents Association to discuss ongoing issues.  On foot of that, I understand the Minister of State has invited the ITAA to consider all of the current available supports for SMEs and identify whether anything additional is required.

Freedom of Information

 116. Deputy Mairéad Farrell Information on Mairéad  Farrell Zoom on Mairéad  Farrell asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Eamon Ryan Zoom on Eamon Ryan the number of freedom of information requests being processed by his Department; the number that have had the deadline for reply extended; the number at least one week, two weeks. one month and over one month overdue, respectively; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [19359/20]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Eamon Ryan): Information on Eamon Ryan Zoom on Eamon Ryan After the initial Covid19 crisis period, the Department received a substantial number of FOI requests. In some cases, extensions have been requested to allow for further time to complete requests and-or to access hard copy files pertaining to the FOI request.

  Decision makers and requesters continue to kept in touch regularly about the progress on these requests.

  The specific data requested by the Deputy is as follows:

Number of freedom of information requests being processed by the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport 39 FOIs currently active
Number that have had the deadline for reply extended 6
Number of requests one week overdue 1
Number of requests two weeks overdue 0
Number of requests one month overdue 0
Number of requests over one month overdue 3

National Driver Licensing Service

 117. Deputy James Browne Information on James Browne Zoom on James Browne asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Eamon Ryan Zoom on Eamon Ryan if an appointment with the NDLS will be expedited for a person (details supplied); if the needs of the person will be examined; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [19373/20]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Eamon Ryan): Information on Eamon Ryan Zoom on Eamon Ryan As you can appreciate Covid 19 has had a profound effect on the delivery of services. The NDLS resumed operations from the 8th June, with a number of new protocols and procedures in place to keep both staff and customers as safe as possible.  The service is operating currently at around 60% of its pre Covid capacity to ensure that it complies with occupational and public health requirements. Offices are unable to facilitate any walk-ins due to social distancing requirements and in the interests of protecting staff and customers. Therefore, all appointments must be booked in advance.

  Inevitably, and despite the best efforts of the NDLS, there will be a longer than normal delay in obtaining appointments for renewing driving licences.  The Road Safety AUthority is working with its providers to increase capacity while adhering to the Return to Work Safely Protocol.  Options being considered include extended opening hours, overtime and protective segregation barriers between booths.

Certain licences can be renewed online, thus removing the need to secure an appointment.  The online service can be accessed at the following link https://ndls.

Any queries in relation to driver licences or urgent cases can be addressed to NDLS Customer Service at 076 1087880 or be emailing info@ndls.ie or rsa.ie

  I have referred your case to the RSA for consideration.

  A referred reply was forwarded to the Deputy under Standing Order 51.

Covid-19 Pandemic

 118. Deputy Martin Browne Information on Martin Browne Zoom on Martin Browne asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Eamon Ryan Zoom on Eamon Ryan the position regarding the recommendations by the aviation taskforce; his plans to implement the recommendations of same; if there is a deadline by which the decision must be made; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [19390/20]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Eamon Ryan): Information on Eamon Ryan Zoom on Eamon Ryan The Taskforce for Aviation Recovery’s Final Report, which is available on the Gov.ie web site, contains a number of recommendations on how to support Irish aviation, which has been badly affected by the almost complete shutdown of international air travel. 

  The recommendations include measures to sustain the industry for so long as travel restrictions are in place and also measures to help stimulate a return to growth, when the time is right.  The Government has already implemented some of the recommendations, including the publication of safe air travel protocols and provisions in the recently announced July Stimulus Policy Initiative for a new employee wage subsidy scheme - which will run to April 2021 - and a €2 billion Covid-19 Credit Guarantee Scheme.

  The other recommendations, including further targeted financial supports to help reinstate connectivity, are being examined by my Department.  Work is required to develop these recommendations into effective interventions, and that work is underway.  It will feed into the Government’s further plans to aid broader economic recovery – including in the aviation sector.

Covid-19 Pandemic Supports

 119. Deputy Jennifer Whitmore Information on Jennifer  Whitmore Zoom on Jennifer  Whitmore asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Eamon Ryan Zoom on Eamon Ryan if a financial support mechanism will be provided for the bus and coach sector struggling to reopen due to the reduction in tourist numbers; the other supports that will be made available for the sector; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [19452/20]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Eamon Ryan): Information on Eamon Ryan Zoom on Eamon Ryan The July Stimulus Package introduced significant measures to help support businesses to recover following the devastating impacts of the Covid-19 crisis incIuding the employment wage subsidy scheme, the refund of corporation tax, the rates waiver,  and an increased restart grant.  However, I  am aware of how badly impacted the coach tourism sector has been by the crisis due to the lack of international tourists and a fall in demand for local coach services. Accordingly, I have asked Fáilte Ireland to develop a Business Continuity Scheme to help these businesses through this very difficult period.  Fáilte Ireland will now engage with the sector to develop this scheme which has been allocated €10 million in funding.

Covid-19 Pandemic Supports

 120. Deputy Denis Naughten Information on Denis Naughten Zoom on Denis Naughten asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Eamon Ryan Zoom on Eamon Ryan the specific supports included in the July stimulus package for small coach operators in view of severe financial pressure being placed on these businesses; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [19461/20]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Eamon Ryan): Information on Eamon Ryan Zoom on Eamon Ryan The July Stimulus Package introduced significant measures to help support businesses to recover following the devastating impacts of the Covid-19 crisis incIuding the employment wage subsidy scheme, the refund of corporation tax, the rates waiver, and an increased restart grant.  However, I  am aware of how badly impacted the coach tourism sector has been by the crisis due to the lack of international tourists and a fall in demand for local coach services. Accordingly, I have asked Fáilte Ireland to develop a Business Continuity Scheme to help these businesses through this very difficult period.  Fáilte Ireland will now engage with the sector to develop this scheme which has been allocated €10 million in funding.

National Car Test

 121. Deputy Richard Boyd Barrett Information on Richard Boyd Barrett Zoom on Richard Boyd Barrett asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Eamon Ryan Zoom on Eamon Ryan the recourse a person has that purchased a car with a recent NCT but subsequently found that the car was not roadworthy as the NCT certificate implied. [19533/20]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Eamon Ryan): Information on Eamon Ryan Zoom on Eamon Ryan The National Car Test (NCT) is a road safety measure that provides basic roadworthiness inspections at regular intervals for passenger cars in use on public roads.  Vehicles are inspected on specific predetermined dates to ensure they satisfy basic safety standards.  This inspection, and any corresponding certification, does not confer a warranty as regards to the condition of the vehicle at a later date.

A vehicle owner has a statutory duty to ensure that his/her vehicle remains in a roadworthiness condition and complies with the relevant provisions of the Road Traffic (Construction, Equipment and Use of Vehicles) Regulations at all times when it is used in a public place.  The NCT does not replace or purport to replace the regular maintenance and servicing required for vehicles.  All buyers of second hand vehicles are advised to have the vehicle independently assessed by a vehicle mechanic before purchase. 

Covid-19 Pandemic

 122. Deputy Richard Boyd Barrett Information on Richard Boyd Barrett Zoom on Richard Boyd Barrett asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Eamon Ryan Zoom on Eamon Ryan if he will ensure that airlines will refund customers that are not travelling on booked flights as a result of health guidelines. [19538/20]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Eamon Ryan): Information on Eamon Ryan Zoom on Eamon Ryan As things stand in law, air passenger rights are protected by Regulation (EC) No. 261/2004, which covers the rights of passenger in instances of cancellations.  However, if a flight goes ahead and a customer either cancels or does not use their ticket, they are not entitled to a refund under EU law. 

Evidently the existing consumer protections and legal obligations on airlines and the broader travel sector did not envisage the current circumstances of mass cancellations and stringent travel restrictions.  That has, not surprisingly, put the entire system under immense pressure and it is causing real difficulties for people and businesses.  I understand that the main Irish airlines have been offering the option to rebook in circumstances where a flight occurs but people are not able to present because of Government advice.  That said, I am mindful that the options put forward by airlines may not be fair or workable for customers in all instances.   I know it is an issue that my colleague the Minister of State, Deputy Naughton, has identified as requiring further engagement with the airlines and she intends to do so.

Help-To-Buy Scheme

 123. Deputy Jackie Cahill Information on Jackie Cahill Zoom on Jackie Cahill asked the Minister for Finance Information on Paschal Donohoe Zoom on Paschal Donohoe if existing help-to-buy approvals which have not been drawn down will be eligible for the expanded figure announced in the July stimulus package; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [19463/20]

Minister for Finance (Deputy Paschal Donohoe): Information on Paschal Donohoe Zoom on Paschal Donohoe The Help to Buy incentive (HTB) is a scheme to assist first-time purchasers with a deposit they need to buy or build a new house or apartment.  The incentive gives a refund on Income Tax and Deposit Interest Retention Tax (DIRT) paid in the State over the previous four years, subject to limits outlined in the legislation.

Section 477C of the Taxes Consolidation Act 1997 outlines the definitions and conditions that apply to HTB.  A claimant under the scheme must make an application confirming that he or she meets various conditions specified in the section, including that he or she is a first-time purchaser and that he or she has completed a tax return form and is tax compliant for each of the tax years for which a claim is being made.  Also, the new property must be occupied as the sole or main residence of a first time purchaser.  The legislation is very specific as to the definition of a qualifying residence.  It must be a new building which was not, at any time, used or suitable for use as a dwelling.

The definition of “first-time purchaser” for the purposes of the scheme is an individual who, at the time of making a claim under the scheme, has not, either individually or jointly with any other person, previously purchased or previously built, directly or indirectly, on his or her own behalf a dwelling. 

HTB operates by way of a payment being made at deposit stage (following the signing of a contract to purchase) or, in the case of a self-build, following the drawdown of the first tranche of the relevant mortgage. Therefore, the intention of the scheme is that the house would not have been completed when applying for HTB.

The enhanced level of support announced last week will apply to applicants who, on or after 23 July 2020 (and up to 31 December 2020) sign a contract for the purchase of a new house or who make the first draw down of the mortgage in the case of a self-build.

HTB has been widely publicised since its announcement in 2016, particularly by financial institutions providing mortgages. However, Revenue advise me that, if there are unique circumstances which has prevented an individual from claiming the HTB scheme, the taxpayer should contact Revenue with the relevant circumstances and each case will be considered on a case by case basis. Notwithstanding this, Revenue does not have discretion to vary the conditions for qualification for relief under the HTB scheme. 

Tax Code

 124. Deputy Mairéad Farrell Information on Mairéad  Farrell Zoom on Mairéad  Farrell asked the Minister for Finance Information on Paschal Donohoe Zoom on Paschal Donohoe the tax expenditures and the cost of each to the Exchequer in each of the years 2017 to 2019 and to date in 2020, in tabular form. [19220/20]

Minister for Finance (Deputy Paschal Donohoe): Information on Paschal Donohoe Zoom on Paschal Donohoe My Department has provided a Tax Expenditures Report with each Budget since Budget 2016 (the Report on Tax Expenditures 2019 published on the day of Budget 2020 being the most recent).  It can be found at the following link:

http://www.budget.gov.ie/Budgets/2020/Documents/Budget/Report%20on%20Tax%20Expenditures%20Incorporating%20the%20Outcomes%20of%20Certain%20Tax%20Expenditure%20and%20Tax%20Related%20Reviews%20completed%20since%20c.pdf

  The versions of this report issued in previous years are also available online, and I expect the next such report, that for 2020, to be published alongside Budget 2021 later this year.

  Each report contains a series of tables which outline the fiscal impact of the range of tax expenditures as required under the EU Budgetary Framework Directive, through providing a list of the extant tax expenditures and where available the number availing and revenue forgone in respect of each of the two most recently available years.

  As well as the tables, each report incorporates the outcomes of certain tax expenditure reviews carried out in the previous 12 months.

  I am advised that Revenue also provides open external access to their tax expenditures database on their web-site. This provides information in respect of more than 100 tax credits, reliefs and allowances, and can be found  at the following link:

  https://www.revenue.ie/en/corporate/information-about-revenue/statistics/tax-expenditures/index.aspx.

  The information includes the most recently available statistics on the numbers availing of each measure and the associated cost to the Exchequer. In addition, as listed at the above link, more detailed analysis is published for significant tax expenditures including the R&D tax credit, the Home Renovation Incentive, the Help to Buy Scheme and the Employment Investment Incentive.

  However my Department is unable to provide the cost of tax foregone for around 40 per cent of the tax expenditures listed for a number of reasons including tax payer confidentiality and because the data is not collected by Revenue for some tax measures. For example the Cycle to Work Scheme is currently not costed because it is expected that the administrative cost of collecting the data would exceed the amount of Revenue foregone. Therefore we are unable provide an accurate overall total figure for tax expenditures.

Covid-19 Pandemic

 125. Deputy Michael Fitzmaurice Information on Michael Fitzmaurice Zoom on Michael Fitzmaurice asked the Minister for Finance Information on Paschal Donohoe Zoom on Paschal Donohoe if an explanation will be provided of the working document circulated by the EU Commission to the European Parliament of 27 May 2020 SWD(2020) 98 (details supplied) which identified the recovery needs of Europe; the final debt liabilities that Ireland will be accountable for; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [19255/20]

Minister for Finance (Deputy Paschal Donohoe): Information on Paschal Donohoe Zoom on Paschal Donohoe As the Deputy will be aware, on 21 July 2020, Heads of State and Government reached agreement on the Post-2020 MFF and recovery plan “Next Generation EU”, totalling €1.82 trillion. Difficult discussions took place over four days. The Government has welcomed this agreement. It is a fair and balanced outcome and demonstrates that Europe can work collectively to deal with this once-in-a-generation crisis. Council conclusions set out the leaders’ agreement for the European Commission to borrow €750 billion, supporting Member States with €390 billion in grants and €360 billion in loans. Agreement was also reached on a new Multiannual Financial Framework from 2021 to 2027, totalling €1.074 trillion, which will support rural and regional development, and the transformation of our economies in line with the climate transition, research and development, and digital agendas.

  Ireland has been a net contributor to the EU Budget since 2014, and this position is set to grow further over the course of the next MFF. In May 2020, the European Commission produced a needs assessment underpinning the proposed “Next Generation EU”. In this needs assessment the European Commission estimated that Ireland’s contributions to the Next Generation EU package would in the region of approximately €18.7 billion over the next 30 years and estimated that Ireland would potentially receive a total of up to €2 billion in grants, with a further €1 billion in loans available up to 2024 should Ireland decide to borrow same. However, these amounts were overtaken by the European Council agreement of 21 July 2020.

  We will need to see the European Commission’s official allocation for Member States, but at this point Ireland’s estimated grant allocation amounts to €1.278 billion made up of:

  - €177 million EAFRD allocation

  - €204 million React EU

  - €44 million Just Transition Fund

  - €853 million Recovery and Resilience Facility (This is only 70% of the total amount available under this facility, with potential additional grant allocation from the remaining 30% of the facility to be allocated in 2023 this could potentially be in the region of an additional €300 million). 

  In terms of loans under the NGEU, we estimate that Ireland could potentially avail of approximately €1.4 billion.

Ireland’s contributions to the EU Budget are projected to increase considerably over the coming period in all scenarios as a result of economic growth in recent years.  Irish contributions to the EU budget are expected to rise over the coming MFF period from approximately €3 billion in 2021, to over €4 billion in 2027, an average of €3.5 billion. 

  Exact contributions to the repayment of NGEU borrowing are yet to be determined (and will depend on whether new Own Resources are agreed) but are expected to be significant. At this time of crisis the Covid recovery funds are needed now, but will be paid back over 30+ years

  It is important to remember that Ireland has benefitted greatly from EU membership in economic (single market access), social, environmental, and financial terms (net €40+ billion receipts). We stand ready to demonstrate solidarity with those most in need now.

Freedom of Information

 126. Deputy Mairéad Farrell Information on Mairéad  Farrell Zoom on Mairéad  Farrell asked the Minister for Finance Information on Paschal Donohoe Zoom on Paschal Donohoe the number of freedom of information requests being processed by his Department; the number that have had the deadline for reply extended; the number at least one week, two weeks. one month and over one month overdue, respectively; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [19351/20]

Minister for Finance (Deputy Paschal Donohoe): Information on Paschal Donohoe Zoom on Paschal Donohoe At the time of answering, there are 23 active Freedom of Information requests being processed in the Department of Finance.

  There are currently two requests which have exceeded the four week processing timeframe as prescribed under Section 13(1) of the FOI Act.  However, the first request is subject to the extension provided under Section 27 (Fees and charges) and as such, is not overdue.  The second request has an informal agreement with the requester, for a one week extension.  A decision is expected to be issued for this case by the end of this week.

The number of Freedom of Information requests being processed by his Department 23
The number that have had the deadline for reply extended (in line with the FOI Act) 01
The number at least one week overdue 01
The number two weeks overdue 0
The number one month overdue 0
The number over one month overdue 0

Covid-19 Pandemic Supports

 127. Deputy Brendan Griffin Information on Brendan Griffin Zoom on Brendan Griffin asked the Minister for Finance Information on Paschal Donohoe Zoom on Paschal Donohoe the reason the rate of wage subsidy payment to an employee (details supplied) in County Kerry has been reduced; if the rate will be reviewed; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [19386/20]

Minister for Finance (Deputy Paschal Donohoe): Information on Paschal Donohoe Zoom on Paschal Donohoe The Temporary Wage Subsidy Scheme (TWSS) was introduced on 26 March 2020 to provide income support to eligible employees where the employer’s business activities have been negatively impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic.

The transitional phase of the scheme operated until 3 May 2020, while the necessary IT systems were being developed. This transitional phase provided a subsidy of 70% of the average net weekly pay up to a maximum of €410 in respect of eligible employees. The operational phase of the scheme was introduced from 4 May 2020 and included increased subsidy rates of 85% as well as a tapering mechanism that ensures the subsidy payment plus any additional payment by the employer does not exceed the employee’s ‘normal’ average weekly wage. The amount of subsidy due to eligible employees is based on their ‘average net weekly pay’ (ARNWP), which is calculated using the pay and tax details as reported to Revenue in the employer’s payroll submission for each pay date in January and February 2020.

I am advised by Revenue that the person in question had two active employments in January and February 2020. One of these employments was ceased on 30 April 2020 and that employer did not avail of the TWSS on behalf of the person. However, in order to calculate the amount of wage subsidy payable to the person, the earnings from both active employments were combined and each employer was provided with details of the Maximum Weekly Wage Subsidy payable and the Maximum Weekly Employer Pay before tapering would apply.

The person’s current employer has received TWSS payments on her behalf since 15 April 2020. During the transitional phase of the scheme, i.e. for pay dates between 15 April and 3 May 2020, the employer received a subsidy of €410 per week. In the operational phase of the scheme, i.e. for pay dates from 4 May 2020 onwards, the maximum wage subsidy payable is €247.71. The employer may also pay an additional gross (top-up) payment such that the gross pay plus the temporary wage subsidy for the person does not exceed €299.88 per week.  

Revenue has confirmed that for pay dates from 13 May 2020 to 24 June 2020 the employer paid €104.34 per fortnight (€52.17 per week), which is the maximum top-up amount payable under the scheme before tapering of the wage subsidy would apply.  The additional fortnightly gross amount paid on 8 July 2020 was reduced by the employer to €52.17. It was reduced further by the employer on 22 July 2020 to €48.

While employers are expected to make best efforts to maintain employees’ net income as close as possible to their ‘normal’ wage, there is no minimum amount that the employer must pay as an additional gross (top-up) payment in order to be eligible for the scheme. In the specific case to which the Deputy is referring, it is a matter for the person in question to address with the employer why the additional top-up amounts have reduced in recent weeks.


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