I propose to take Questions Nos. 926, 943, 966 and 984 together.
The COVID-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment was introduced in March 2020 as a time limited emergency measure to meet the surge in unemployment in Ireland which resulted from the effects of the Coronavirus Pandemic. If a person has lost their employment and the employer is no longer paying the persons’s wages, they may qualify for the COVID-19 Pandemic UnemploymentPayment.
The Roadmap for Reopening Society and Business, published by the Government on 1 May 2020 sets out a timetable for the phased reopening of society and the economy and envisages a series of steps which will lead to the resumption of various sectors of the economy. As this situation continues to evolve, decisions regarding the COVID 19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment, including eligibility, will be taken having regard to a range of factors including how the public health situation evolves which is being carefully monitored.
The Government has asked employers to be flexible in so far as possible to allow staff time off to look after their children or other members of the family which could include offering compassionate leave, working from home, altering shifts so that someone is available to be at home when a parent is working, rearranging holidays or allowing paid time off which can be worked back at a later time.
Where parents have to continue to work and they are unable to make appropriate compassionate leave arrangements, employees may access some statutory entitlements which include paid Force Majeure Leave, Parents Leave together with Parents Benefit, for each parent where a baby was born after 1st November 2019 or unpaid Parental Leave.
If a person is immune suppressed and is unable to work in view of the fact that they are more susceptible to contracting the COVID-19 virus they may apply for illness benefit which is paid at a maximum weekly personal rate of €203 and increases may also be paid for qualifying adults and children. To apply for this support a person should submit completed illness benefit claim form online or by post together with a medical certificate from their General Practitioner.
Where a person, in any of the circumstances outlined by the Deputies, is experiencing financial hardship they can apply for financial support under the supplementary welfare allowance scheme.
I trust that this clarifies the matter.