With business owners under more pressure than ever as Covid-19 restrictions ease, now may be a good time to seek help with administrative tasks like payroll, says GroForth CEO Sarah Daly.
As business owners around Ireland begin to reopen following what, for many, has been a long and difficult lockdown period, it will be very important to ensure that payroll is operating correctly. Now is not the time to be making errors that are time-consuming to resolve and may lead to Revenue queries.
Payroll is complicated at the best of times and the various Government supports introduced since the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic have added to the complexity.
Set out below are a few issues to watch out for in the weeks ahead.
Covid Restrictions Support Scheme
Businesses availing of the Covid Restrictions Support Scheme can avail of double restart week payments for two weeks to support them in meeting the costs of reopening as they exit the scheme. Revenue guidelines published on 7 May 2021 state that under the (CRSS), qualifying businesses recommencing from 29 April 2021 may claim double restart week payments for a period of two weeks, subject to the statutory maximum payment of €5,000 per week.
Temporary Wage Subsidy Scheme
There are a number of issues relating to the Temporary Wage Subsidy Scheme (TWSS) that employers need to be aware of. These include situations where reconciliations may be needed and situations where employers want to pay the tax liabilities of employees who received payments under the TWSS scheme.
TWSS reconciliations arise where there is a difference between the subsidy amounts paid to an employer by Revenue and the subsidy due to be paid to the relevant employees. Employers have until 30 June 2021 to review their TWSS reconciliation information and make any necessary corrections.
Revenue is facilitating employers who wish to pay the 2020 income tax and Universal Social Charge (USC) liabilities of their employees arising from the TWSS. According to Revenue eBrief 097/21, “on an exceptional, once-off basis and subject to certain conditions, Revenue will not apply the Benefit-in-Kind (BIK) rules that would usually apply where employers make payments of this nature on behalf of their employees.” The concessional treatment runs until September 2021.
Work Safely Protocol
Employers should follow the advice provided in the Government’s Work Safely Protocol. This is being updated to include revised advice on ventilation and workplace antigen testing.
Working from home
HSE advice is that people should continue to work from home where possible. Before returning to work, employees must be given a pre-return to work form which they must complete and return to the employer. Employees must also take part in any training their employer provides. This training should include public health information and advice on what to do if they develop symptoms of Covid-19. Employers should provide information on what they are doing to protect their teams from Covid-19 as well as any other Covid-19 related information relevant to their particular sector.
Sick leave policies
Employers may need to update their existing sick leave policies to take account of Covid-19 requirements.
Pandemic Unemployment Payment
Workers who have been claiming the Pandemic Unemployment Payment (PUP) and are now returning to work must close their PUP claim on the actual date that they start back to ensure that their claim is processed correctly. The easiest way to close a claim for the Pandemic Unemployment Payment is online via www.MyWelfare.ie.
Employers re-hiring employees will need to check that the employee record is up to date and correct. Bear in mind that each time that you pay an employee, you have to report certain information to Revenue. Details of the payroll submission requirements are available on the Revenue website.
Some employers are finding that their employees are reluctant to return to work for various reasons. According to the Irish Times (11 May 2021), the Department of Social Protection has received about 3,000 notifications from employers experiencing difficulty re-hiring staff who have been receiving the Pandemic Unemployment Payment.
Take the pressure off
At a time when many business owners are already working long hours to cope with the additional tasks involved in reopening, not to mention having to retrain staff in some instances, now may be the right time to outsource your payroll administration. However, as we have previously discussed on this blog and elsewhere, when choosing a payroll service provider it is important to check that they are properly qualified, keep up to date with evolving legislation and Revenue requirements, and have the skills and knowledge to do a good job on your behalf. You also need to satisfy yourself that they have the capacity to provide a timely, efficient, confidential service so that your employees will be paid correctly, securely and on time. GroForth does all this, and more for businesses across Ireland. If you would like to find out more about our company and the services our team can provide, please get in touch!