Tuesday, 10 December 2019

Questions (608)

Kevin O'Keeffe


608. Deputy Kevin O'Keeffe asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the reason seasonal self-employed workers cannot claim jobseeker's benefit; and if she will consider changing this anomaly to enable all seasonable workers have the same benefits as PAYE workers. [51263/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Employment)

The Social Welfare Act 2019 introduced a new scheme of jobseekers benefit for the self-employed since 1 November 2019. 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.

Many of the features of the new support for the self-employed are similar to the existing jobseekers benefit scheme for employees. These include the duration and the rates of payment, including increases for adult and child dependents. Other fundamental conditions that apply to both schemes are that the person must be available for and genuinely seeking full-time work.

Not all features of both schemes are the same which reflects the differences that exist between the nature of self-employment and working as an employee. To qualify for payment for a self-employed person must meet the conditions for the new scheme including the condition of “not being engaged in self-employment.” A self-employed person who in the ordinary course of their business closes their business on a planned, temporary or, seasonal basis does not satisfy this condition.

If a self-employed person continues to operate their business at low levels of income they can access the means tested jobseekers allowance scheme, once they satisfy the conditionality for this scheme.

I trust that this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.