Coronavirus: Mothers returning from work now qualify for wage subsidy scheme
The Government came under heavy criticism from women’s advocacy groups and opposition politicians when it transpired mothers now returning to work from maternity leave did not qualify for the temporary wage subsidy scheme (TWSS).
The scheme, which covers up to 85 per cent of an employee’s wages up to €410 per week, was brought in to encourage employers to keep staff on their books who might otherwise have been laid off. However, it was also specified that the in order to avail of the scheme, it required qualifying workers to have been on the payroll of their employer on February 29th, or to have been paid in either January or February.
The anomaly arose because mothers on maternity leave who subsequently returned to the workforce did now not qualify under the old criteria, and this, naturally, lead to criticism, with many pointing out that mothers or parents who adopted were being discriminated against.
However, Minister for Finance, Pascal Donohoe, has now confirmed that the wage subsidy scheme has been 'tweaked' so that mothers returning from maternity do indeed qualify.
“The Cabinet today agreed an important change to the scheme to ensure that workers are not denied access to us because of the personal circumstances, relating to maternity leave,” Mr Donohoe said to the Irish Times.
“The government is making this important change, because we want to ensure that citizens are not denied access to the scheme, because of their personal circumstances. I am satisfied that this change addresses the anomaly and ensures appropriate operation of the TWSS in recognition of the unique circumstances applying to those returning to work after a period of maternity or adoptive leave.”
Donohoe also confirmed that revenue was to implement the changes, and that this will be backdated to March 26th.