Tuesday, 23 July 2019

Questions (2656, 2657)

Peter Burke

Question:

2656. Deputy Peter Burke asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the estimated cost of removing the disqualification on unemployed workers in receipt of levels of a redundancy payment from claiming jobseeker's benefit for a set period of time. [31507/19]

View answer

Peter Burke

Question:

2657. Deputy Peter Burke asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the estimated cost of changing the threshold for disqualification from claiming jobseeker's benefit to €90,000, with no other bands above that and keeping the nine week disqualification period for such recipients. [31508/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Employment)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 2656 and 2657 together.

Jobseeker’s benefit (JB) provides a social insurance contribution based support for people who have lost work and are unable to find alternative full-time employment. The 2019 Estimates for my Department provide for expenditure this year on the JB scheme of €346 million.

A person who has been made redundant and is aged under 55 may be disqualified from receiving JB for a period of up to 9 weeks from the last date of employment if they have received or are entitled to a payment in excess of €50,000 under the Redundancy Payments Acts or under an agreement with his/her employer. This amount includes the gross amount of all payments in respect of the redundancy, such as statutory redundancy, top-up or ex-gratia payments related to weeks of service, early encashment of pension entitlements (if from employer's funds) and any other money received under an agreement with the employer. The length of the disqualification period depends on the amount of the redundancy payment. The following schedule shows the disqualification period which may apply to JB recipients in receipt of a redundancy payment.

Amount of redundancy payment

Disqualification period

€50,000.00 - €55,000.00

1 week

€55,000.01 - €60,000.00

2 weeks

€60,000.01 - €65,000.00

3 weeks

€65,000.01 - €70,000.00

4 weeks

€70,000.01 - €75,000.00

5 weeks

€75,000.01 - €80,000.00

6 weeks

€80,000.01 - €85,000.00

7 weeks

€85,000.01 - €90,000.00

8 weeks

€90,000.01 and over

9 weeks

The annual cost arising from the removal of the disqualification for a period of up to 9 weeks for unemployed workers in receipt of certain levels of a redundancy payment from claiming JB is estimated to be in the region of €860,000.

The annual cost arising from changing the redundancy payment threshold from the current €50,000 to €90,000 is estimated to be in the region of €820,000. Departmental data shows that there are very small numbers receiving redundancy payments in excess of €90,000.

Any changes to the jobseekers schemes would have to be considered in a budgetary context and within the scope of the overall resources available for welfare improvements.

I trust this clarifies the matter.