Big Red Book Payroll Support

Please see the below information in relation to the COVID-19 Wage Subsidy Scheme

Employment Wage Subsidy Scheme (EWSS)

EWSS runs in full from 1st September 2020 and is currently due to end on 30th April 2022.

Originally due to wind down between 1st December 2021 and 30th April 2022, it was announced on 9th December 2021 that the enhanced rates would be maintained for December and January

  • A two-rate structure of €151.50 and €203 will apply for February 2022.
  • A flat rate subsidy of €100 will apply for March and April.
    • The reduced rate of Employers’ PRSI will no longer apply for these two months.

There was an announcement on 21st December 2022 that the previous closing date for EWSS registrations of 31st December would be removed for employers affected by recent COVID restrictions. This announcement includes details of the qualification criteria for such employers also.

More EWSS Information from Big Red Book:

Big Red Book Guide to Employer EWSS Registration on ROS (Slides PDF)

Big Red Book Guide to EWSS (Slides PDF – Updated 19th July 2021)

EWSS – Overview

Big Red Book Payroll EWSS Setup Guide

Employment Wage Subsidy Scheme (EWSS)

EWSS makes provision for payment to qualifying employers of a flat rate subsidy for each eligible employee. Further details on EWSS can be found here.

Employer Eligibility:

To Qualify;

  • Employers must have a current tax clearance certificate in order to both register for EWSS and receive the monthly subsidy payments and PRSI credits.
    • A Tax Clearance Certificate is confirmation from Revenue that your tax affairs are in order as well as those of connected parties.
    • Information on Tax Clearance Certs can be found here.
    • Apply for or manage your Tax Clearance Cert by visiting ROS > My Services > Other Services > Manage Tax Clearance
  • Employers must meet eligibility criteria relating to a reduction in turnover. Details can be found in Revenue’s EWSS Guidelines
    • EWSS payments are considered trading income but are to be ignored when calculating the reduction in turnover.
    • Childcare businesses registered in accordance with Section 58C of the Child Care Act 1991 qualify without needing to show a reduction in turnover.
    • Employers should keep proof of your eligibility for the scheme (evidence of reduction in turnover and other evidence). You can read detailed information on the supporting proofs in Appendix I of Revenue’s EWSS Guidelines (pdf).
  • Employers must register on ROS for the scheme.
    • Click here for a guide on registering for EWSS.

Continued Employer Eligibility Review:

Revenue require Employers to review their eligibility based on turnover or orders on the last day of each month.

Monthly review to check eligibility

A key requirement since the introduction of the EWSS in September 2020, is that employers undertake a review on the last day of every month to ensure they continue to meet the eligibility criteria.

To enable employers to meet this requirement, Revenue is providing an EWSS Eligibility Review Form in ROS. Completing and submitting an EWSS Eligibility Review Form to Revenue will be necessary to continue to avail of EWSS supports with details of an employer’s monthly eligibility review check to be submitted by 15th August in respect of details up to and including June 2021 and by the 15th of each of the following months in respect of subsequent reviews.

Employers with more than one business type

There are three categories of employers for selection at the initial stage of the ERF completion:

  • Registered childcare businesses
  • New Businesses (those who commenced after 1 November 2019)
  • All Others.

In instances where employers fit into ‘All Others’ as well as one of the other two, they should complete in respect of ‘All Others’ and ignore their registered childcare business, or new business (that which commenced after 1 November 2019).

Where employers have several eligible businesses, one ERF should be completed with details of all eligible businesses included.

‘New Business’

 There have been instances where employers who have activity prior to 1 November 2019 have selected ‘New Business’. Where employers have incorrectly selected this option, contact should be made through MyEnquiries setting out details of error made and seeking that same be amended.

Payroll Process:

The payment should be processed as normal, i.e. regular reporting of Income Tax, USC and PRSI. EWSS simply needs a payment submission to be flagged for EWSS. The rest will happen in the background.

See our video here on how to Setup Big Red Book Payroll for EWSS or view the Helpfile in Big Red Book Payroll.

On receipt of an eligible EWSS payslip from an eligible employer, Revenue will

  1. Calculate the subsidy payable by reference to the gross pay, pay frequency and insurable weeks reported on the payslip.
  2. Make a payment of the subsidy payable payment into the designated bank account within a couple of days of Revenue receiving an eligible EWSS payslip.
  3. Calculate a PRSI credit due to the employer by recalculating employer PRSI using 0.5% and if greater than employer PRSI paid subtracting this from employer PRSI paid as reported on the payslip.
    • Payslips from March 1st 2022 onwards will no longer receive the PRSI Credit.

On the 5th of the following month Revenue will post the total Employer PRSI credit total due which will reduce the balance of the employer’s payroll taxes balance due.

Any changes to the EWSS payable amount made to a submission after an EWSS payment has already been received for that submission will result in an adjustment to the next EWSS payment from Revenue.

With this in mind it is really important that employers make timely and correct payroll submissions. Corrections or late Submissions for EWSS made after the 14th of the following month will require a review by Revenue before any adjustment/payment of EWSS or PRSI credit to an employer might be made.

This is in line with Revenue PAYE rules that state

  1. Submissions must be made to Revenue on or before the Payment date
  2. Corrections to the monthly return must be completed by the 14th of the following month

Calculating Weekly Gross Pay for Calculation of Subsidy Payable:

Weekly Pay Frequency

  • If insurable weeks is greater than 0 and less than or equal to 5
    • Divide gross pay by insurable weeks
  • If insurable weeks less than or equal to 0
    • Nil subsidy payable
  • If insurable weeks is greater than 5
    • Nil subsidy payable


  • If insurable weeks is greater than 0 and less than or equal to 5
    • Divide gross pay by insurable weeks
  • If insurable weeks less than or equal to 0
    • Nil subsidy payable
  • If insurable weeks is greater than 5
    • Nil subsidy payable


  • If insurable weeks is 4 or 5
    • (Gross pay *12) / 52
  • If insurable weeks equal 1, 2, 3, 6, 7, 8, 9
    • Divide gross pay by insurable weeks
  • If insurable weeks less than or equal to 0
    • Nil subsidy payable
  • If insurable weeks is greater than 9
    • Nil subsidy payable

PRSI Exempt Employees will be treated as if they have the standard PRSI weeks for the pay frequency,

  • 1 Insurable Week for Weekly,
  • 2 Insurable Weeks for Fortnightly or
  • 4 or 5 Insurable Weeks for Monthly.

Subsidy Amount Payable:

Gross pay per week Rate from 20 Oct 2020 to 31st January 2022 Rate from 01 February 2022 to 28 February 2022 Rate from 01 March 2022 to 30 April 2022
Less than €151.50 No subsidy applies No subsidy applies No subsidy applies
€151.50 – €202.99 €203 €151.50 €100
€203 – €299.99 €250 €203 €100
€300 – €399.99 €300 €203 €100
€400 – €1,462 €350 €203 €100
Over €1,462 No subsidy applies No subsidy applies No subsidy applies

Total Subsidy Payable

For Pay Frequencies listed above other than Monthly Pay Frequency with 4 or 5 insurable weeks

  • Total Subsidy = Subsidy Payable * Insurable Weeks Reported

For Monthly Pay Frequency with 4 or 5 insurable weeks

  • Total Subsidy = (Subsidy Payable *52)/12

Payroll Submission Warnings and Rejections:

  • Revenue are putting in place Submission warnings and rejections in order to help with administration of EWSS.
  • Payroll submission rejection where a payslip is marked for EWSS but employer is not registered or re-registered for EWSS.
    • Messaging: “Employer is not EWSS registered.”
      • The Employer can Register via ROS and attempt to submit again or
      • The Employer should deactivate Employer EWSS in Payroll and submit without EWSS flags.
  • Payroll submission warning where a payslip is marked for EWSS but employer does not have an active tax clearance certificate.
    • Messaging: “EWSS employer does not currently have tax clearance”.
      • The Employer will have up to the Return due Date to get an active Tax Clearance Cert in place or else the Subsidy Payment and ER PRSI Credit will not be processed automatically for that month.
      • If Tax Clearance is regained after the return due date the employer should contact Revenue via MyEnquiries by selecting ‘Employer’s PAYE’ and then ‘Employer’s PAYE General Enquiry’ to request that the refund be issued.
  • Line item warning where a payslip is marked for EWSS but the calculated weekly gross pay is below €151.50 or above €1462.
    • Messaging:  “EWSS payslip weekly gross pay not in range”.
      • No Subsidy is Payable. The employer should consider removing the EWSS flag from the employee to avoid further warning messages if this will be the case for every payslip for the employee.
  • Line item warning where a payslip is marked for EWSS but does not have an eligible number of insurable weeks.
    • Messaging: “EWSS insurable weeks not within range for given pay frequency”.
      • No Subsidy is payable.


EWSS Sweepback for July & August:

Revenue have released a pdf guide with details of the EWSS July/August Sweepback.

Employers who are eligible for EWSS may claim EWSS in respect EWSS eligible employees for pay dates from 1st July via Sweepback provided

  • The Employer was not eligible for TWSS or
  • The Employee was not eligible for TWSS

A Sweepback CSV template has been made available by Revenue . Each employer will need to populate this template with the eligible employees they wish to claim EWSS for in the July/August period under the ‘sweepback’ process.

  • Payroll v20.10.07 onwards includes a utility that will create this CSV for employers.

From 15th September, Revenue will make a new link available in the ‘Employer Services’ Section on ROS, where employers can upload their completed CSV file.

  • A step by step guide to using this link to upload the CSV is included in the Revenue pdf guide.
  • The CSV must be uploaded to ROS before 14th October 2020.

Any subsidy due will be paid into the designated bank account as soon as practicable after 16th September.

Any Employer PRSI credit due will be applied to the relevant month, i.e. July or August, as soon as practicable after 16th Septemeber.


Temporary Wage Subsidy Scheme (TWSS)

The Temporary Wage Subsidy Scheme (TWSS) was introduced the Government to provide financial support to workers whose employers are affected by the COVID-19 pandemic and unable to pay the employee. The scheme ended on 31st August 2020.

The TWSS Reconciliation process is currently underway, and employers must ensure all ‘Subsidy Paid’ amounts are reported to ROS by the end of October 2020. See here for more information on TWSS Reconciliation.

See Temporary Wage Subsidy Scheme (TWSS) for further information on TWSS


Standard Rate of VAT

There will be a 6-month reduction in the standard rate of VAT from 23% to 21%, effective from 1st September 2020. The VAT rates in Big Red Book and Big Red Cloud should generally not be changed and therefore a new rate should be added for 21% if required.

Big Red Book Users: See Video at 2 minute 40 seconds or review ‘First 5 Steps to Set Up’ regarding Adding VAT Rates.

Big Red Cloud Users: See here for how to add a VAT rate.