Business owners and employers have expressed deep concern over the structure and future of the Wage Subsidy Scheme because it does not factor in seasonal employees, leaving them out in the cold as businesses struggle to reopen . Many businesses closed by the COVID-19 Pandemic are hoping to open up next week, but many in the service and tourism trade will struggle to have the immediate cash-flow to re-hire staff. Cork South West Deputy Christopher O’Sullivan is calling for a change in legislation to update the scheme to make room for seasonal employees for a short period of time.
“Employees these businesses are taking on now cannot receive the Wage Subsidy Scheme because they would not have been on the payroll for the first couple of months of the year,” Deputy O’Sullivan said.
“The way the scheme is structured misunderstands how many tourist and service industries operate, which is on a cash-flow basis. The scheme needs to be restructured to give those businesses a helping-hand in starting back up.
“Tourism employers need the Wage Subsidy Scheme to remain for a short period while they get their businesses and customer-base sorted. Businesses, many of which are expected to open next week, need certainty and they need clarity.”
“The way it stands now, a lot of people who could be employed full time for the season will not be taken on and no new staff can be recruited.”
The Temporary Wage Subsidy Scheme was made available to employers who keep employees on the payroll throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. It was aimed at helping employers retain links with employees for when business picks up after the crisis.
“Making changes to the Wage Subsidy Scheme would make a huge difference to a business being viable or not, and getting them back on their feet quickly and sustainably,” Deputy O’Sullivan said.