Minister Donohoe makes changes to the Temporary Wage Subsidy Scheme to accommodate apprentices on off-the-job training

24 June 2020 

Minister Donohoe makes changes to the Temporary Wage Subsidy Scheme to accommodate apprentices on off-the-job training

The Minister for Finance and Public Expenditure and Reform, Paschal Donohoe TD, has today (Tuesday) confirmed that a change to the Temporary Wage Subsidy Scheme (TWSS) will be made to accommodate the salaries of those apprentices who were engaged in a period of block release training in February of this year.

Many apprentices, while maintaining their employment relationship, were temporarily off the payroll of their employer on 29 February (a key condition for eligibility for the TWSS) while on block release for class-based training. As a result, their wages are not included in the calculation of the employer subsidy.

The Minister has decided that the terms of the TWSS will be amended so that employers will be able to avail of the scheme for apprentices in the above category.

Revenue will undertake a manual exercise to calculate the average net weekly pay for each of these employees to determine the TWSS amount.

Speaking today, Minister Donohoe said,

“I am satisfied that the inclusion of the apprentices in question so that their wages may be included in the calculation of the employer subsidy under the TWSS is justified on the grounds of equity and I am happy to announce this change today.”

The changes will apply from 26 March 2020, the date of return to employment or the date the employer was registered for the scheme, whichever is the latest.

ENDS

Notes for Editors

The TWSS provides a subsidy from Government to employers to cover a portion of their wage bill in circumstances where the employer’s business has been negatively impacted by the effects of the restrictions that have had to be introduced to stop the spread of the COVID-19 virus.

The sum the employer receives is based on the employees who were on their payroll on 29 February 2020, the net salary such employees received in January and February 2020, as well as the extent to which the employer remains able to continue to discharge their legal obligation to pay their employees’ salaries.

These criteria remain core requirements for the TWSS. However, a modification is to be made to the scheme to allow access to TWSS in respect of apprentices who were on block release from their employers for training purposes in January/February 2020, and who therefore were not on the payroll of their employer on the relevant date (29 February 2020).

At the end of January 2020, there were approximately 18,000 registered apprentices in the State. According to data from the Department of Education and Skills (DES), 2,000 of these individuals were released from off-the-job training in late March (during which they were in receipt of training allowances from the DES). A further 2,700 individuals remain assigned to off-the-job training with 300 of these apprentices scheduled for release from off-the-job training each month.

Progress through an apprenticeship is contingent on the trainee being able to undertake their programme of work-based education and assessments, and so it is essential that they can maintain an employment relationship with their relevant employer. The announced modification to the TWSS will help to deliver on this key objective.

Separately Revenue are today announcing a number of operational developments in relation to the TWSS.