Wednesday, 20 January 2021

Questions (332, 341)

Noel Grealish

Question:

332. Deputy Noel Grealish asked the Minister for Social Protection if persons can claim the pandemic unemployment payment or a portion of the payment; if not, if another payment can be introduced for working parents who are classified as essential workers but cannot work from home and must leave work or reduce their hours of work in order to provide essential childcare while schools are closed; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [2198/21]

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Seán Canney

Question:

341. Deputy Seán Canney asked the Minister for Social Protection her plans to introduce a Covid-19 support payment for essential workers who have to take time off work due to childcare issues; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [2429/21]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Social)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 332 and 341 together.

To be eligible for the Pandemic Unemployment Payment a person must have lost their employment as a direct consequence of Covid-19 and must not be in receipt of pay from their employer.

From the outset of Covid-19, many employers will have taken the initiative, in line with requests from the Government, to be as flexible as possible in giving staff time off and working patterns that enable them to look after their children who are not attending school or crèche such as allowing employees to work from home, altering shifts or allowing employees to rearrange holidays or parental leave.

Under the current circumstances, where schools and childcare facilities are closed, a person who cannot obtain childcare and is unable to work from home or avail of appropriate flexible work options may apply for the Pandemic Unemployment Payment, where they are not being paid by their employer. I have confirmed that this arrangement will continue to remain in place during this latest set of Level 5 restrictions.

An employee who is working reduced hours is not eligible to receive the Pandemic Unemployment Payment as they are still being paid by their employer.

The means tested Supplementary Welfare Allowance scheme is available to any person who may be experiencing financial hardship. Supports available under the scheme include Exceptional and Urgent Needs Payments. Further details are available on www.gov.ie

I trust that this clarifies the position.