Fianna Fáil TD for Cork South West Christopher O’Sullivan is calling for a change in the terms of the Temporary Wage Subsidy Scheme to include seasonal workers for a limited period of time.
Business owners and employers have been expressing concern about the structure and future of the 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 are facing serious short-term cash flow issues as they try to re-hire staff.
“Seasonal employees returning to work next week are not eligible for the Temporary Wage Subsidy Scheme because they would not have been on the payroll when the scheme was introduced earlier in the year”, said Deputy O’Sullivan.
“The way the scheme is structured fails to understand 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 Temporary Wage Subsidy Scheme to remain in place for a short period while they get their businesses and customer-base sorted. Many of them are expected to open next week and they need certainty and 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 to keep employees on the payroll throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. It was aimed at helping employers retain links with their staff so that they can return to work after the crisis.
“Making changes to the Wage Subsidy Scheme could help keep many seasonal businesses viable and ensuring they can get back on their feet quickly and sustainably,” Deputy O’Sullivan concluded.