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Dáil Éireann debate -
Wednesday, 7 May 2003

Vol. 566 No. 1

Written Answers. - Social Welfare Entitlements.

Brendan Howlin


763 Mr. Howlin asked the Minister for Social and Family Affairs if consideration is being given to the provision of social welfare entitlements to performing artists as they endeavour to become established in their career; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [11421/03]

Social Welfare legislation provides that a person must satisfy the conditions of being available for and genuinely seeking work in order to be entitled to unemployment benefit or unemployment assistance. In applying the legislation, deciding officers do not treat performing artists any differently to any other unemployment benefit or assistance claimant.

Where a person is seeking work in his or her usual employment and there is a reasonable prospect of securing work of that nature, he or she would normally satisfy the conditions for receipt of payment. Deciding officers would have regard to the conditions which apply in the employment or line of work involved. However, if there is no employment available in a specialised field within a reasonable period of time, the unemployed person would be expected to broaden his or her search so as to include other types of employment. After a period of unemployment, a person would be expected to accept any employment for which he or she is qualified.

The introduction of special arrangements exempting performing artists from the requirements to fulfil the statutory conditions of being available for and genuinely seeking work for entitlement to unemployment benefit or assistance would raise issues concerning consistency of treatment vis-à-vis other claimants to unemployment payments and there are no current plans to make any such change to the legislation.