Financial support for PGA Members in the Republic of Ireland

The two Irish Government support schemes in Ireland which are of specific relevance to PGA Members during the current lockdown restrictions are:-

  • The Employment Wage Subsidy Scheme (EWSS); and
  • The COVID-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment (PUP).

These will be applicable to PGA Members depending on their individual circumstances and on how their businesses are constituted.

Employment Wage Subsidy Scheme

Under the terms of Ireland’s July Jobs Stimulus Package, The EWSS replaced the Temporary Wage Subsidy Scheme from 1 September 2020, and will run until 31 March 2021. The Subsidy is intended to support employers that continue to experience reduced turnover or orders due to the ongoing economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. It will be of particular relevance to PGA Professionals who employ Trainees or Assistants, or are themselves on the payroll of their business and had the associated wages reported to Revenue between 1 July 2019 and 30 June 2020.

To be eligible for the EWSS, an employer must have tax clearance and must be able to demonstrate that:-

  • Their business is expected to experience a 30% reduction in turnover or orders between 1 July and 31 December 2020, looking at the period as a whole; and
  • This disruption is caused by COVID-19.

Employers will need to evidence that their anticipated turnover for July-December 2020 is 30% or more lower than the same period in 2019, and will need to self-declare this to Revenue. In addition, on the last day of each month, they are required to undertake a review of their anticipated turnover for the 6 months, to confirm that they remain eligible for the scheme. If their projected turnover looks likely to exceed the 30% reduction level, they have to de-register for EWSS with effect from the first of next month, and stop claiming the subsidy.

Employees are considered to be eligible for inclusion in the scheme if they are temporarily not working or if they are on reduced hours and/or reduced pay. They must be earning between €151.50 and €1,462 gross per week.

EWSS provides for a flat rate subsidy to a qualifying employer based on the number of qualifying employees on the payroll, with the following rates applicable from 20 October to 31 January 2021:-

Gross per week

Subsidy rate

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

Employers need to operate PAYE on all payments.

Given that Ireland is in a period of extended lockdown with golf and non-essential retail not permitted, PGA Members with employees should look to take advantage of this Government support if they are unable to utilise employed staff, or only use them on a reduced basis, but are keen to maintain them on the payroll.

 

COVID-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment

The PUP is a social welfare payment applicable to individuals who have lost all their employment due to the COVID-19 pandemic. During the current national lockdown in Ireland, it is likely to be most applicable to self-employed PGA Professionals whose trading income has ceased since golf clubs and non-essential retail have had to close. PGA Members who have lost their jobs or been laid off due to COVID-19 would also most likely be eligible for this scheme.

To be eligible for the PUP, applicants must also:-

  • Be aged between 18 and 66;
  • Live in the Republic of Ireland;
  • Have been employed or self employed in the Republic of Ireland on or after 13 March 2020;
  • Be genuinely seeking work;
  • Not be getting any income from employment; and
  • Have made a PRSI payment in the 4 weeks before claiming PUP or be in insurable self employment.

The scheme has been available in various iterations since the start of the pandemic, with the rate of payment being linked to an applicant’s former earnings. From 16 October to 31 January 2021, the weekly rates are:-

Average weekly earnings

Personal rate

€400 or over

€350

€300-€399.99

€300

€200 - €299.99

€250

Less than €200

€203

The rate of payment is due to change from February 2021, before officially ending on 1 April 2021, and the scheme will be closed to new applicants at the end of 2020.

PGA Members who consider themselves eligible for PUP can apply online on MyWelfare.ie.

In conclusion

PGA Members in the Republic of Ireland may want to consider how best to take advantage of this Government support to align with their business needs, particularly during the current national lockdown.

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