Revenue Commissioners: ‘Mark of honour’ for businesses to get wage subsidy

The Revenue Commissioners says that any business utilising the State’s Covid-19 wage subsidy scheme should regard being named publicly for doing so as a “mark of honour”.
Revenue Commissioners: ‘Mark of honour’ for businesses to get wage subsidy
A Revenue official wrote that being named as having taken advantage of the scheme may show that employers trying to do ‘the right thing’ for their employees”

The Revenue Commissioners says that any business utilising the State’s Covid-19 wage subsidy scheme should regard being named publicly for doing so as a “mark of honour”.

The emergency legislation recently signed into law can see wages at businesses affected by the current lockdown bolstered by the State to the tune of €350 per week per employee.

The legislation also provides that Revenue publishes the names and addresses of all companies applying for the relief.

That proviso has led to accusations that the prospect of being named is likely to dissuade many from signing up for the scheme for fear of falling foul of stigma as a result, a scenario that could instead see employees being let go — the opposite of the scheme’s intention.

Social Democrats co-leader Catherine Murphy has asked whether naming those businesses is “entirely necessary”.

A Revenue official wrote back that being named as having taken advantage of the scheme “may be seen as a ‘mark of honour’ of employers trying to do ‘the right thing’ for their employees”.

The official added that publishing those names and addresses, which is intended to take place once the scheme has finished, “also acts as a transparency device to show employees that their employers had utilised the scheme and that, consequently, they should have received wage subsidies which should have been reflected in their pay”.

Employers making use of the scheme are required to separately identify any subsidies received separately on each employee’s payslip.

The income subsidy, which is administered by Revenue with guidance from the Department of Finance, mirrors in scale the Covid-19 unemployment benefit available from the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection.

That scheme has seen more than 500,000 applicants to date - the equivalent of 10 months’ applications received in 10 days - due to mass redundancies resulting from the economy grinding to a near standstill.

It’s unclear whether Revenue’s requirement to publish the names and addresses of applicant companies applying for the wage subsidy scheme fully accords with Irish data protection law.

More than 39,000 employers have registered to take advantage of the wage subsidy scheme to date, with €87m in payments already delivered.

The State has thus far made €8.2bn available in terms of supports and mitigation measures in response to the coronavirus crisis.

Meanwhile, a business support call centre has received more than 1,500 queries since first being opened on March 13, according to the Government — an average of 55 calls per day.

The majority of those calls relate to essential service including retail and online trading, as well as income supports and business and financial supports.

More in this section

Puzzles logo
IE-logo

Puzzles hub

Visit our brain gym where you will find simple and cryptic crosswords, sudoku puzzles and much more. Updated at midnight every day. PS ... We would love to hear your feedback on the section right HERE.

Puzzles logo
IE-logo

Puzzles hub

Visit our brain gym where you will find simple and cryptic crosswords, sudoku puzzles and much more. Updated at midnight every day. PS ... We would love to hear your feedback on the section right HERE.