Wednesday, 24 February 2021

Questions (566)

Mick Barry


566. Deputy Mick Barry asked the Minister for Social Protection if she will consider adapting the rules of the pandemic unemployment payment to include those workers who are under 18 years of age in the scheme; the projected costs of such a measure; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [9636/21]

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Written answers (Question to Social)

The Pandemic Unemployment Payment (PUP) is a statutory scheme to support employees of working age from 18 years up to pensionable age, 66 years, who have lost their employment due to COVID-19. The age range is consistent with other social protection schemes payable to people of working age.

A person under 18 years of age who has lost their employment and is living in the family home is treated as a dependent in relation to a social welfare payment payable to a parent.

A person of any age who is experiencing financial hardship may access assistance under the Supplementary Welfare Allowance scheme including Exceptional and Urgent Needs Payments.

It is also important to note that an employer who is availing of the Employer Wage Subsidy Scheme can claim the subsidy in respect of all PAYE workers on their payroll, regardless of their age.

My Department does not hold data on the number of employees aged under 18 who have lost their employment due to COVID-19 and the projected costs of extending the PUP to this age cohort is not therefore available.

I trust that this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.