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Factsheet for measure IE-2020-36/1157 Updated – measures in Ireland

New wage subsidy scheme (EWSS) is less generous, but fiscally more sustainable

Employment Wage Subsidy Scheme (EWSS)

Country Ireland , applies nationwide
Time period Temporary, 01 September 2020 – 30 April 2022
Context COVID-19
Type Legislations or other statutory regulations
Category Employment protection and retention
– Income support for people in employment (e.g., short-time work)
Author Roisin Farelly (IRN Publishing) and Eurofound
Measure added 18 September 2020 (updated 22 June 2022)

Background information

The scheme is aimed at replacing the Temporary Wage Subsidy Scheme (TWSS), which has been in place since March 2020. It is a lower level of subsidy than under the TWSS and is seen as more fiscally sustainable for the seven-month period it is planned to be in existence. Read more about the TWSS in the COVID-19 PolicyWatch database .

Content of measure

The scheme provides flat rate subsidies to businesses who have lost more than 30% of turnover or customer orders due to COVID-19.

These subsidies are as follows:

  • €203 per week for those with weekly gross wages between €203 and €1,462 per week;
  • €151.50 for those with gross weekly wages between €151.50 and €202.99 per week.

Although the scheme began on 1 September 1 2020, payments can be claimed retrospectively for July and August 2020.

Exceptions include family members not on the payroll in the 12 months before 1 July 1 2020, some proprietary directors (those not on the employer's payroll); domestic employees.

Registered childcare providers are exempt from the 30% turnover loss requirement.

The scheme is administered by the Revenue (tax collection agency) on a self-assessment basis, with compliance checks to come later. Those in the schemes are to review their continued eligibility at the end of each month and de-register if they are no longer eligible. A list of employers benefitting is to be made public. Tax clearance certificates from Revenue are required to participate in the scheme. The usual pay-as-you-earn (PAYE) tax collection system operates for wages covered by the scheme (its predecessor TWSS scheme had a different system). Wages covered by the subsidy have a reduced employer social insurance payment of 0.5%.


The following updates to this measure have been made after it came into effect.

08 April 2022

According to figures from the Central Statistics Office, reported in the Irish Times:

In February 2022, 258,952 people were estimated to have been directly supported by the EWSS, down from 363,180 in January. Just under a quarter of these were aged under 25.

21 December 2021

On 21 December 2021, it was announced that the EWSS would be reopened for certain businesses who would otherwise not be eligible. These businesses can remain in the scheme until its expiry date of 30 April 2022.

Employers can re-join the scheme from January 2022 provided they:

  • previously correctly claimed support under EWSS.
  • anticipate that their accumulated turnover for December 2021 and January 2022 will be down by at least 30% compared with the combined turnover for December 2019 and January 2020 (or for businesses established between 1 May 2019 and 31 December 2021 the average monthly turnover for December 2021 and January 2022 is down by at least 30% when compared to the average monthly turnover across the period August 2021 to November 2021).
09 December 2021

On 9 December 2021, the Minister for Finance, announced that the enhanced rates of subsidy under the EWSS would be maintained for December 2021 and January 2022. This followed the introduction of certain public health restrictions.

12 October 2021

It was announced in Budget 2022 that the EWSS will remain in place “in a graduated form until the 30 of April 2022. It is to be extended on the following basis:

  • No change in October and November 2022
  • Companies signed up to the EWSS on 31 of December 2021 will continue to be supported until 30 of April 2022
  • In December, January and February, a two-rate structure of €151.50 and €203 will apply
  • In March and April 2022, a flat rate subsidy of €100 will be put in place
  • The scheme will close to new employers from the 1st of January 2022
01 June 2021

Under the Government's Economic Recovery Plan 2021, the EWSS is extended until 31 December 2021.

Current payment rates will be in place until end of September 2021 at current turnover thresholds. The time period for assessment is broadened from 6 months to 12 months.

An employer contribution to employee wages after that period will be considered for the final quarter of 2021.

23 February 2021

Under the Government's revised plan 'COVID-19 Resilience and Recovery 2021 - The Path Ahead', the EWSS is extended until 30 June 2021.

06 January 2021

On 6 January 2021, the Government announced that the current rates of subsidy provided by the Employment Wage Subsidy Scheme (EWSS) will remain in place until 31 March 2021 at an estimated cost of an additional €38 million per week, or an additional €323 million in total by the end of March 2021.

The rates of subsidy that will continue to apply until 31 March 2021 are as follows:

Gross Weekly pay: (Rate of Subsidy to employer):

  • Less than €151.50 (Nil)
  • €151.50 – €202.99 (€203)
  • €203 - €299.99 (€250)
  • €300 - €399.99 (€300)
  • €400 - €1,462 (€350)
  • Over €1,462 (Nil)
09 November 2020

According to figures from the Revenue Commissioners, in September 2020, €254 million was paid to 32,700 employers – paying 341,200 employees.

Accommodation and food services accounted for the highest participation in the EWSS, comprising 18.2% of eligible employers and 30.2% of employees. The majority of claims were in Dublin, which accounted for 31.3% of employers, 39.7% of qualifying employees.

Use of measure

According to figures from the Revenue: The employment wage subsidy scheme paid €1.42 billion to 39,800 employers in respect of 443,100 employees between September 2020 and end of December 2020.

According to figures released by Revenue, as of 18 February 2021: 48,600 employers were registered with Revenue for EWSS. In total, €1.99 billion was paid up 18 February 2021 under the scheme and 526,800 employees were paid from the scheme.

Target groups

Workers Businesses Citizens
Employees in standard employment
Applies to all businesses Does not apply to citizens

Actors and funding

Actors Funding
National government
Company / Companies
National funds

Social partners

Social partners' role in designing the measure and form of involvement:

Trade unions Employers' organisations
Role Informed Informed
Form Not applicable Not applicable

Social partners' role in the implementation, monitoring and assessment phase:

  • No involvement
  • Main level of involvement: Unknown


It is likely that they were informed of the measures, as was the case under the previous Temporary Wage Subsidy Scheme that applied from March to August 2020, but there was no formal role.

Views and reactions

Both sides welcome the continuation of some form of wage subsidy, although it provides less subsidy that the previous scheme.



Eurofound (2020), New wage subsidy scheme (EWSS) is less generous, but fiscally more sustainable, measure IE-2020-36/1157 (measures in Ireland), EU PolicyWatch, Dublin,


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Disclaimer: This information has not been subject to the full Eurofound evaluation, editorial and publication process.