Numbers claiming maximum wage subsidy fall as total paid out hits €936m

More than 464,400 workers have had at least one pay cheque supported by the State since the scheme was introduced in March

The Temporary Wage Subsidy Scheme pays up to 85 per cent of an affected employee’s wages up to a weekly cap of €410. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw

The Temporary Wage Subsidy Scheme pays up to 85 per cent of an affected employee’s wages up to a weekly cap of €410. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw

 

The amount paid out by the State under a scheme to subsidise the wages of workers during the coronavirus crisis has increased to €936 million.

The latest statistics released by Revenue for the Temporary Wage Subsidy Scheme (TWSS) also show that the proportion of workers receiving the maximum payout fell sharply after the scheme’s criteria were recently tightened.

The scheme, which pays up to 85 per cent of an affected employee’s wages up to a weekly cap of €410, was launched on March 26th. Since then, a total of more than 464,400 workers have had at least one pay cheque supported by the State under the scheme.

For its first six weeks of operation when the amount paid was based on applications submitted by employers, an average of 87 per cent of all weekly payouts were at the maximum level of €410, the statistics show.

The criteria changed from May 5th onwards, when the payouts begun to be calculated upon data held by Revenue on the average weekly pay for each eligible employee for January and February.

Once this change was instituted, the proportion of recipients who were paid at the maximum €410 rate fell from 87 per cent to 16.6 per cent. Whereas before the changes, just 1.2 per cent of all payments were for weekly refunds of less than €200, after the change this cohort rose to 14.7 per cent. Payouts of between €201 and €349 went from just 0.9 per cent to 30 per cent of the total. Refunds of €350 to €409 went from 10.8 per cent to 38.7 per cent.

The statistics show that the bulk of employers availing of the scheme have less than 20 staff enrolled for TWSS. About 43.4 per cent of the workers whose pay is subsidised are in Dublin, four times the proportion of the next county, Cork.

About one quarter of the workers are employed in the retail sector, with one-in-10 in the “accommodation and food services” sector and a further 10 per cent in construction, which is due to begin reopening on Monday.

The TWSS is separate from the PUP (pandemic unemployment payment), which is an enhanced dole payment of €350 per week for those who are out of work due to the crisis. The most recent weekly statistics for PUP, released earlier this week, showed the numbers fell slightly by about 9,000 to 589,000.

In addition to those on TWSS and PUP, there were also 214,700 people who were on the live register as of the end of April, giving a total of almost 1.27 million who were on some form of State income support.