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Covid-19 Pandemic Supports

Dáil Éireann Debate, Thursday - 1 July 2021

Thursday, 1 July 2021

Questions (116)

Brendan Griffin


116. Deputy Brendan Griffin asked the Minister for Social Protection her views on the treatment of seasonal workers who had not returned to work prior to the outbreak of the pandemic in March 2020; the way her Department plans to deal with these cases into the future given the severe reduction in contributions made due to their loss of employment due to Covid; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [35297/21]

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Written answers (Question to Social)

The Pandemic Unemployment Payment is a statutory scheme for employees and the self-employed who were in employment on or after 13th March 2020 and who lost employment as a consequence of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Entitlement to the scheme was based on the loss of an actual employment rather than potential or prospective but unrealised employment. It would be impossible in practical terms to establish or verify a loss of potential employment.

However given that the hospitality sector did largely re-open during the summer and autumn of last year most people did have an opportunity to access seasonal work and establish a social insurance record.

Where this work ceased due to the conclusion of the usual season, the workers were eligible for Jobseeker's Benefit in the usual way. Where this work ceased early due to the pandemic, the workers were then eligible to claim PUP; many of them did so. Similarly PUP was extended to students who typically comprise a large proportion of the seasonal workforce. While on PUP, claimants qualify for fully paid contributions.

For those who do not have sufficient contributions to qualify for Jobseeker's Benefit or who do not meet the criteria for PUP, the means-tested Jobseeker's Allowance payment is available.

I trust that this clarifies the position.