Tuesday, 23 June 2020

Questions (790, 797, 830, 831, 832, 846, 857, 858, 862, 863)

Seán Sherlock

Question:

790. Deputy Sean Sherlock asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection if the pandemic unemployment payment will continue for event and arts workers until the mass gathering ban and social distancing are not required for medical safety here. [12097/20]

View answer

Imelda Munster

Question:

797. Deputy Imelda Munster asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection her plans to ensure that those working as freelancers in the events industry will not suffer hardship in view of the fact their industry is not expected to resume until 2021 at the earliest; the initiatives, grants and welfare options that will be made available on a long-term basis to support these workers and others like them who work in industries that are expected not to resume normal operations until 2021; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [12560/20]

View answer

Paul McAuliffe

Question:

830. Deputy Paul McAuliffe asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection if the Covid-19 payment will be maintained for taxi drivers in order to allow them to top-up their income by carrying out some work without losing the payment; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [12013/20]

View answer

Paul McAuliffe

Question:

831. Deputy Paul McAuliffe asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection her plans for financial and non-financial supports to help taxi drivers. [12014/20]

View answer

Robert Troy

Question:

832. Deputy Robert Troy asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection if the pandemic unemployment payment and the temporary wage subsidy scheme will be continued for event and art workers until restrictions are lifted to a suitable level that would allow this group to return to work. [12026/20]

View answer

Matt Carthy

Question:

846. Deputy Matt Carthy asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection if an interim payment will be provided for the self-employed who have claimed the pandemic unemployment payment in order to provide certainty so they can return to work; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [12411/20]

View answer

Gerald Nash

Question:

857. Deputy Ged Nash asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection if self-employed childcare operators can avail of the pandemic unemployment payment for the summer months upon the cessation of the early childhood care and education scheme; the social welfare entitlements of self-employed childcare operators relating to out of work but not seasonal closure; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [12537/20]

View answer

Imelda Munster

Question:

858. Deputy Imelda Munster asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection her plans to extend the Covid-19 social welfare payments into 2021 for those workers whose industries will not reopen until 2021, such as those working in the events industry; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [12563/20]

View answer

Holly Cairns

Question:

862. Deputy Holly Cairns asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection if a time extension will be committed to regarding pandemic supports to photography and videography businesses in order to provide the certainty required for members of an organisation (details supplied) to keep their companies. [12657/20]

View answer

Holly Cairns

Question:

863. Deputy Holly Cairns asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection if the extension of the Covid-19 pandemic unemployment payment will be extended beyond the current timeline for the small public service vehicle industry. [12658/20]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Employment)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 790, 797, 830 to 832, inclusive, 846, 857, 858, 862 and 863 together.

The COVID-19 pandemic unemployment payment was introduced as a time limited emergency measure in response to the pandemic and Government has approved the extension of this payment until 10th August. The Government is aware that there are certain sectors which will be affected by business closures longer than others and the confirmation that this payment will be available until early August provides financial certainty to people affected at this time.

The conditions for receipt of the pandemic unemployment payment are that a person must be of working age between 18 and up to 66 years old, have been in employment immediately before 13th March and have lost their income from employment due to the pandemic. Where a person does not meet the conditions for receipt of the pandemic unemployment payment and they are unemployed for 4 days or more in a week they can apply for the social-insurance based jobseekers benefit or means tested jobseekers allowance.

A self-employed person must have suffered a collapse of income and be available to take up other full time employment if it was available, in order to qualify for the pandemic unemployment payment. Where a self-employed person does not meet the conditions for receipt of the pandemic unemployment payment and are operating at a reduced level of business they may be eligible for support under the jobseekers allowance payment. Jobseeker’s Benefit for the self- employed, which I introduced last year, is available for self -employed people who have ceased trading and who satisfy the conditions of the scheme which include having sufficient social insurance contributions paid.

It should be noted that any person who is experiencing financial hardship may be eligible for other financial support under the means tested supplementary welfare allowance scheme including an Exceptional or Urgent needs payment.

My colleague, the Minister for the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation has introduced a range of supports and guidance to assist businesses with their recovery from the severe financial impacts of the pandemic. The Minister Children and Youth Affairs has announced a major funding package to facilitate the reopening of childcare facilities from 29 June 2020. Details of these supports are available on www.gov.ie.

I trust that this clarifies the position at this time.