Over 30,000 employers have now registered for the new Temporary Wage Subsidy Scheme, with €34 million in wage refunds already paid out, according to a Government briefing today. 

However, the Revenue Commissioners have been unable to make refunds totalling over €2m to 770 employers because they have not set up a nominated Refund Bank Account on the Revenue On-Line System (ROS).

Many employers will have an existing Payment Bank Account set up in ROS - but to receive payments from Revenue, including under the Temporary Wage Subsidy Scheme, employers must also set up a nominated Refund Bank Account.

Under the scheme, the Government undertakes to pay a portion of the worker's salary provided the employer keeps employees on the books rather than laying them off.

It is hoped this will maintain the employer-employee link, and make it easier to restart the company when the Covid-19 emergency ends. 

The Revenue Commissioners have so far disbursed €34m in refunds, including €11.5m processed in the last 24 hours, which will arrive in the bank accounts of most of those employers tomorrow. 

However, refunds worth around €1.3m could not be processed, as the recipient employer must set up a nominated refund bank account. 

Under the scheme, the Government will pay 70% of the normal take home pay for workers earning under €38,000 up to a maximum of €410 per week. 

For workers earning between €38,000 and €76,000, the Government will contribute up to €350, while employees earning over €76,000 are not eligible for the scheme. 

To qualify for the scheme, a business must be able to show that it has lost at least 25% of its turnover, and is unable to pay normal wages and outgoings. 

The employer makes a statutory declaration to that effect.

Last week, some employment lawyers had queried whether declaring an inability to pay could have company law consequences. 

However yesterday, the Chairman of the Revenue Commissioners Niall Cody said a such a declaration  was "absolutely not a declaration of insolvency".

Mr Cody said that if a company were trying to continue to trade and suffering significant negative impact in the current emergency, an employer would be recklessly trading if they did not apply for the scheme. 

He told RTÉ's Morning Ireland that the challenge will not be in showing that the reduction in income will exceed 25%, as the impact will be "significantly greater" in the vast majority of cases. 

He said that companies with normal cash reserves to meet future plans can still qualify for the Temporary Wage Subsidy Scheme. 

Mr Cody advised companies to retain documents supporting their application, but said he did not anticipate that the Revenue Commissioners would be reviewing many cases at the end of the scheme.

He noted that to qualify for the scheme, employers had to be up to date with their payroll returns on 29 February.

Asked why the Revenue would be publishing a list of companies availing of the scheme, he said it was normal when grant type aid was provided - and rejected suggestions that it was akin to a tax defaulters list.

He expressed the view that in time, being published on this list will be a "mark of honour" for an employer who had tried to do the right thing by keeping their workers employed.