Tuesday, 23 July 2019

Questions (2693, 2762)

Lisa Chambers

Question:

2693. Deputy Lisa Chambers asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection if her plans to extend a new social insurance scheme, jobseeker's benefit and payments for the self-employed will be in place before the Brexit deadline of 31 October 2019; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [32046/19]

View answer

Fiona O'Loughlin

Question:

2762. Deputy Fiona O'Loughlin asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the status of plans to extend PRSI based benefits to the self-employed who become unemployed; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [33346/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Employment)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 2693 and 2762 together.

It is my intention that the new scheme of jobseeker's benefit for the self-employed, which I announced as part of the Budget 2019, will be introduced from November this year. This scheme will provide a social insurance contribution-based benefit to the self-employed who lose their self-employment and consequently are not engaged in self-employment.

The Social Welfare Bill 2019 introducing the new scheme on a statutory basis was published on the 28th of June and has completed second stage in the Seanad. Once it has completed all stages in the Seanad it will be introduced to the Dáil. The necessary administrative arrangements and IT infrastructure to support this new scheme are being put in place.

This measure is part of the Government's stated aim of creating a supportive environment for entrepreneurship, including providing an income safety net to both employees and self-employed people. The addition of this new scheme builds on other significant improvements for self-employed people in recent years such as access to invalidity pension and treatment benefits in 2017.

All these improvements to entitlements are a real advance in the level of cover available to the self-employed.

I trust this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.