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Your Questions: I have been getting the wage subsidy on the double - can I keep it?

 

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What this most likely means for you is that you could see a reduction in the amount that you receive in your next pay cheque in order to bring it into line with your entitlements, the tax expert said (stock photo)

What this most likely means for you is that you could see a reduction in the amount that you receive in your next pay cheque in order to bring it into line with your entitlements, the tax expert said (stock photo)

What this most likely means for you is that you could see a reduction in the amount that you receive in your next pay cheque in order to bring it into line with your entitlements, the tax expert said (stock photo)

Q. Before Covid-19 I was working two part-time jobs, as a trainee beautician by day and a bar tender on some evenings. Neither manager knows that I have another job. I never saw the need to tell them about this situation. Both my employers put me on the wage subsidy scheme at the end of March and I actually came out with more money than I was earning originally. Is this OK? Is it possible that I can I keep the money?

A. This is actually one of the anomalies that has come to light in recent weeks, according to the CEO of the Big Red Cloud, Marc O'Dwyer. Some part-time workers who had two jobs found themselves in receipt of the full subsidy from both employers during the transition phase, which was basically from mid-March to late April.

There was no way around this because employers could not share data with each other.

In the new operational phase that started on May 4, this has now been resolved, as the data is being provided by Revenue to employers.

So because they now have sight of all the data, they have adjusted the available subsidy pro-rata across any cases of multiple employments, Mr O'Dwyer says.

What this most likely means for you is that you could see a reduction in the amount that you receive in your next pay cheque in order to bring it into line with your entitlements, the tax expert said.

Regarding the money you have already received, there is no provision in place for Revenue to take back any excess amounts paid, he said.

However, Mr O'Dwyer points out that you will be taxed on all wage subsidy amounts you received at the end of the year.

Q. I am working from home during Covid-19 and my company gave me a laptop, tablet and some other equipment from my office. I have contents insurance myself as I rent an apartment, but I'm wondering if my work equipment would be covered under this, or would that come under my employers' liability insurance policy?

A. The public health crisis has brought about many changes in the way we work, and it's understandable to be concerned about keeping valuable work equipment in your apartment, says the managing director of Insuremyhouse.ie, Jonathan Hehir.

While the policy specifics vary from insurer to insurer, there is a general understanding of the need for employees to work remotely and there is leeway and support for policyholders on this, he says.

Your own contents insurance would cover the financial cost of repairing or replacing your valuables and belongings.

This would include any stated personal electronic equipment, up to a specified amount of cover.

Any equipment that is provided by your employer to you as an employee in the course of you working from home would fall outside these limits. That means this would be your employer's responsibility.

Such an arrangement would typically be covered under the company's material damage section of its business policy, subject to policy limits.

For further clarification, Mr Hehir recommends that you refer to the details of your insurance policy document, or contact your own insurer or broker for further information on your cover.

Q. If, or when, we travel abroad again, will my travel insurance cover any expenses relating to Covid-19?

A. All consumers who may be taking out new travel insurance policies, or renewing existing cover are advised to check every aspect of their policy terms and conditions in advance with their insurer.

Dermot Goode, of TotalHealthCover.ie, says his understanding is that most policies will be excluding anything to do with Covid-19 from now on.

This means that any medical expenses or costs associated with, for example, flight cancellations that are connected to Covid-19 may be specifically excluded.

Those with health insurance policies may still be able to rely on the limited cover for "emergency treatment whilst abroad".

But this may not be adequate cover for travelling to the likes of the USA, Mr Goode said.

Also, this benefit may be voided if you travel to a jurisdiction against the specific advice provided by the Department of Foreign Affairs (see the dfa.ie website).

Therefore, it's essential that all travel abroad is checked in advance with both your health insurer and your travel insurer, Mr Goode said.

Insurance policy specifics vary but there is a general understanding of the need for employees to work remotely and there is leeway on this

Any equipment, such as a laptop, provided to you by your employer so you can work at home is your employer's responsibility, experts point out.

Irish Independent