What are the major legislative updates and changes that payroll and HR professionals in the Republic of Ireland must have in their sights?  

We’re pleased to offer you the second part of our series detailing the seven key areas to watch this year. If you haven’t already, you can catch up on part 1 here.

5. Changes to Employment Wage Subsidy Scheme 

In July 2020, the government introduced the Employment Wage Subsidy Scheme (EWSS) to support both employees and employers during the hardest and most uncertain months of the coronavirus pandemic. 

The scheme provides employers impacted by COVID-19 with a subsidy per employee to help keep them in employment. 

For those employers still benefiting from EWSS, and who were not directly impacted* by the Public Health Restrictions in December 2021, will continue to be paid until 30 April 2022 at the following rates:

Weekly gross payPaid in February 2022Paid in March and April 2022
Less than €151.50  Nil Nil 
€151.50 to €202.99  €151.50€100.00
€203.00 to €299.99  €203.00€100.00
€300.00 to €399.99  €203.00€100.00
€400.00 to €1,462.00€203.00€100.00
Over €1,462.00NilNil

*Directly impacted is defined as those who had a minimum of 30% decline in turnover or customer orders over a 12-month period. 

For those employers still benefiting from EWSS, and who were directly impacted by the restrictions, the subsidy will continue to be paid until 31 May 2022 at the following rates:

Weekly gross payPaid in February 2022Paid in March 2022Paid in April and May 2022
Less than €151.50 NilNilNil
€151.50 to €202.99  €203.00€151.50 €100.00
€203.00 to €299.99  €203.00€203.00€100.00
€300.00 to €399.99  €203.00€203.00€100.00
€400.00 to €1,462.00€203.00€203.00€100.00
Over €1,462.00NilNilNil

In addition, as of 1 March 2022, the reduced 0.5% rate of employer Pay Related Social Insurance (PRSI) was replaced with the reinstatement of the full employer rate of PRSI. 

As announced in Budget 2022 and legislated for in the Social Welfare Act 2021, employer PRSI rebates for any organisation still using the Employment Wage Subsidy Scheme are now no longer applicable. 

6. Preparing for the Sick Leave Bill 2021 

The government published its draft of the Sick Bill 2021 back in late 2021. Initially, the provisions within the bill were due to come into effect from January 2022. 

Unfortunately, the legislation is still moving through the various stages of review and is now not expected to be implemented until later in the year. 

When it does come into effect, however,  the Bill will provide for the payment of a fixed number of sick days per year, by the employer, for those employees who are currently not availing of a company sick pay scheme. 

Starting with three days of paid sick leave per year in 2022, the scheme will then provide for five paid days in 2023, seven paid days in 2024, and finally, 10 paid days in 2025. 

As outlined in the legislation, employees will receive 70% of their wage while on sick leave, with a daily cap of €110. This is based on 2019 mean weekly earnings of €786.33 or an annual salary of €40,889.16. 

Although we are still yet to understand when exactly this law will come into force, employers should look to prepare by reviewing contracts of employment and current sick pay policies and be ready to update such documents in line with the new scheme when the time comes. 

Some employers may also find it beneficial to analyse historical sickness trends to establish potential cost exposure. 

7. The introduction of Gender Pay Gap Reporting 

The Gender Pay Gap Information Act 2021 was passed into law in July 2021. The act makes reporting on differences in pay, bonuses, and benefits-in-kind by gender a legal obligation for every state body and many private sector organisations. 

Year one of operation will see the legislation apply to businesses with more than 250 employees, while year two will see it apply to every company with more than 150 members of staff. Finally, in year three, organisations with more than 50 employees will also be required to report their gender pay information.  

Regulations regarding this new act are yet to be published, meaning we are still unsure of the exact reporting requirements for employers. However, we do know that implementation is expected to begin at some point in 2022 with the first reporting date likely to be in Dec 2022. 

Leading payroll and HR software and service providers that utilise modern, automated technology – much like ourselves here at Zellis – are monitoring developments in this area very closely with the aim of developing new functionality to ensure reporting is made as seamless and intuitive as possible for employers. 

Do you need support to meet these various legislative changes? If the answer is yes, send us a message today. Our award-winning payroll and HR solutions may be exactly what you’re looking for. 

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