The Global Employer Services team played an important role in supporting businesses on what was essential – their people.
The COVID-19 pandemic had a significant impact on working life in Ireland ranging from loss of employment or temporary lay-offs/reduced hours in certain sectors to a complete move to remote working for many businesses.
Over the pandemic, helping clients avail of the various Governmental supports such as the Temporary Wage Subsidy Scheme (TWSS) was paramount. From deciding who qualified to supporting calculations, we provided ongoing support as the situation changed and Ireland experienced numerous lockdowns.
In addition, we worked with a number of clients to ensure that their key international executives were also in a position to work where they needed to be. We made it possible for people to work from home and be at home – even when work and home were in two different jurisdictions. Our ability to do this was not just down to our knowledge and insight on the global tax landscape, but also to our GoWork digital map.
1. Subsidy support
In March 2020 the Temporary Wage Subsidy Scheme (TWSS) was quickly introduced by the Department of Finance, the stated aim being to maximise staff retention by maintaining the link between the employer and employee. The scheme was broadly welcomed by employers but the methodology for calculating the available subsidy was complex and was updated numerous times over the succeeding months. Indeed, by the time the TWSS evolved into the Employer Wage Subsidy Scheme (EWSS) with effect from September 2021, eighteen versions of the TWSS guidance notes had been published by Revenue.
Our team worked closely with clients to help them navigate the intricacies of implementing the TWSS through payroll. In addition to issuing regular alerts on the key changes and hosting a webinar in conjunction with Revenue, we devised a calculator which allowed employers to determine the subsidy due and the allowable top payments which could be made based on each employee’s circumstances. This was particularly helpful to clients in the early stages of the scheme.
In the latter part of 2021, Revenue undertook a compliance check of all TWSS claims made by employers. For most employers this was simply a verification of their entitlement to the subsidy but in certain cases Revenue required further proof of an employer’s eligibility to the subsidy payments received.
Our team assisted certain clients in successfully demonstrating how the eligibility criteria had been met in the context of the relevant industry sector. The TWSS (and later the EWSS) subsidies were a key factor in many businesses maintaining their employment levels since the beginning of the pandemic. Our people are at the core of our strategy, and we are proud to have played an integral part in helping these businesses sustain their Irish workforces.
2. Remote working
Flexible work arrangements were a feature of many employments prior to COVID-19, but the pandemic caused an unprecedented, widespread move to working from home. This has raised additional challenges for employers, particularly where an employee is working in a different jurisdiction to the one in which the employer is established.
The technical expertise and global reach of the Deloitte network, together with the development of technological solutions, enabled our clients understand their potential tax, immigration and employment law issues and exposures when Irish employees are working in overseas locations. Deloitte’s interactive Go Work digital map provides real-time global information on travel, social and permit impacts of COVID-19 to allow employers stay up to date on the rapidly changing global situation.
From an inbound perspective, our team assisted employers to identify and manage payroll obligations associated with non-Irish employees working in Ireland due to travel restrictions and/or the need to be near family.
A further consequence of the pandemic related to the tax legislative provisions that were unintentionally impacted by remote working. Our Global Employer Services (GES) team actively engaged with Revenue to ensure they had the practical examples that allowed them issue concessions to alleviate any additional administrative burden on Irish employers at a time when employers were focused on their employees and their business.
Throughout this period, being remote ourselves added to the complexity of our work and highlighted the importance of being a trusted advisor and a connected team for our clients. Their feedback is a true testament to how we made an impact in helping them make informed decisions.