Mothers returning to work from maternity leave are now eligible for scheme in which the wages of certain workers affected by the coronavirus pandemic are subsidised by the State.
Paschal Donohoe, the Minister for Finance, has announced that he has tweaked the temporary wage subsidy scheme (TWSS), which covers up to 85 per cent of an employee’s wages up to €410 per week, to fix an anomaly that emerged that excluded returning mothers and people on parental leave.
The change will be legislated for later in the year “as part of the usual Finance Bill 2020 process”. In the meantime, he said, Revenue has agreed to implement it and it will be backdated to March 26th.
The anomaly arose because the scheme, brought in to encourage employers to keep staff on their books who might otherwise have been laid off, required qualifying workers to have been on the payroll of their employer on the 29th February, or to have been been paid in either January or February.
Mothers on maternity leave who subsequently returned to the workforce did not qualify under the old criteria. This lead to heavy criticism of the Government from women’s advocacy groups and opposition politicians, who said mothers or parents who adopted were being discriminated against.
“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,” said the minister.
The latest figures from Revenue, two weeks ago, showed that €936 million had already been paid out by the State under the scheme.
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