The names of the companies availing of the Government’s wage-subsidy scheme which has so far paid out over €1.37bn to support the wages of over half a million workers during the Covid-19 crisis may not be known until next year as the Revenue says it will not publish details until after the scheme ends.
The Temporary Wage Support Scheme started in late March and may soon become the larger of the two main Government supports during the crisis as more people return to work and come off the €350-a-week Pandemic Unemployment Payment.
Some business groups expect the Temporary Wage Support Scheme will be extended to the end of the year, which means the identity of the companies availing of the support would not be known until early 2021.
That scheme is designed to prevent mass unemployment by keeping the link between staff and employers, which may likely otherwise not be able to afford to pay the wages’ bill without the public support.
The Revenue which administers the scheme said yesterday €1.37bn has been paid out to 52,700 employers to support the wages of 514,700 people since March.
The Revenue says it will not supply the names of the companies at this stage and said its decision was “in keeping with the context of the legislation.”
Revenue has told the Irish Examiner that although designed to run for only 12 weeks from March 26, “the legislation was drafted to facilitate the scheme to run for a longer period rather than requiring the need for extension. A list of names and addresses of qualifying employers to whom a temporary wage subsidy has been paid will be published on the Revenue website when the scheme has finished,” it said.
“While the provision to publish in the over-arching legislation has been the subject of commentary from a range of bodies including business representatives bodies, tax practitioners etc, as well as the subject of parliamentary questions, Revenue’s position has remained unchanged and no representations influenced our decision,” it said.
Fianna Fáil TD John McGuinness, who is a member of the Oireachtas Special Committee on the Covid-19 Response, said there was room for Revenue to publish a list from the largest to smallest recipients of the €1.37bn and still keep the identity of the companies hidden if that was required at this stage.