Wednesday, 25 September 2019

Ceisteanna (24, 42)

Martin Heydon

Ceist:

24. Deputy Martin Heydon asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the work ongoing in her Department to provide additional supports for self-employed persons who may experience difficulties in their businesses; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [38892/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Fiona O'Loughlin

Ceist:

42. Deputy Fiona O'Loughlin asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the status of her plans to extend jobseeker’s benefit to the self-employed; if illness benefit will be extended to the self-employed; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [38821/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Employment)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 24 and 42 together.

It is my intention that the new scheme of jobseeker's benefit for the self-employed, which I announced as part of the Budget 2019, will be introduced from November this year. This scheme will provide a social insurance contribution based benefit to the self-employed who lose their self-employment and consequently are not engaged in self-employment.

The Social Welfare Bill 2019 introducing the new scheme on a statutory basis was published on the 28th of June and has completed second stage in the Seanad. Once it has completed all stages in the Seanad it will be introduced to the Dáil.

I have also announced the introduction of a parent's benefit scheme to be introduced later this year. This support will also be available to the self-employed and will provide both parents with 2 weeks paid leave from employment to care for their children during their first year.

The addition of these new schemes builds on other significant improvements for self-employed people in recent years such as access to invalidity pension and treatment benefits in 2017. Access to invalidity pension provides the self-employed access to a safety-net of income supports if they become permanently incapable of work as a result of a long-term illness or disability without a means test.

These improvements are part of the Government's stated aim of creating a supportive environment for entrepreneurship, including providing an income safety net to both employees and self-employed people. Any further extensions of social insurance benefits to the self-employed would have to considered in a budgetary context having regard to the funding of the Social Insurance Fund.

I trust this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.