Wednesday, 10 February 2021

Questions (520)

Richard Boyd Barrett


520. Deputy Richard Boyd Barrett asked the Minister for Social Protection if all recipients of the pandemic unemployment payment, PUP, will receive full PRSI contributions for the duration of their time receiving the payment; the details of the way PRSI contributions will be measured for recipients of the payment; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [7313/21]

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Written answers (Question to Social)

The Social Welfare (Covid-19) (Amendment) Act 2020 makes provision for the attribution of social insurance contributions, for a period that may be prescribed, for employed contributors who are beneficiaries of certain Covid-19 income supports including the pandemic unemployment payment. Such contributors will have social insurance contributions attributed to them at the same value as they were paying while employed immediately before going on the payment.

Self-employed workers in receipt of the pandemic unemployment payment and who are seeking to maintain their business can have an income of up to €960 over an eight-week period and retain their full payment. A self-employed worker whose income is €5,000 or more in a contribution year, is liable to pay a social insurance contribution at the class S rate of 4% on such income, subject to a minimum annual payment of €500. Where the social insurance liability is paid in full in respect to a contribution year, 52 contribution weeks at the self-employed social insurance class are regarded as having been paid for that contribution year.

The above mentioned Act also makes provision for the Minister for Social Protection, with the consent of the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform, to make regulations, having considered certain matters set out in the Act including the potential impact of Covid-19 on the entitlements of employed and self-employed contributors and the manner in which social insurance contributions are paid by employed and self-employed contributors, to apply the attribution of contributions measure to persons specified in those regulations.

A self-employed contributor has nine months following the end of the contribution year, or from the day in the contribution year in which he or she ceases to be such a contributor, to remit and pay his or her social insurance liability for that contribution year. For example, self-employed contributors have until September 2021 to pay their social insurance contribution in respect of the 2020 contribution year.

Once data on the social insurance returns made by self-employed workers in respect of 2020 are available later this year or early in 2022, I and my colleague, the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform, will be in a position to consider the factors set out in the Act and decide if regulations are necessary to protect the social insurance entitlements of certain self-employed workers who were in receipt of the pandemic unemployment payment and who were not in a position to discharge their social insurance liability for 2020.

I trust this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.