I propose to take Questions Nos. 688, 689, 727, 731, 753, 754, 756, 759, 764, 766, 772, 774 and 786 together.
The COVID-19 pandemic unemployment payment was introduced as a time limited emergency measure in response to the pandemic and has been extended until 10th August. A two level payment structure has also been introduced to link the pandemic unemployment payment level to prior earnings. As we gradually move through the phases of reopening our society and the economy, the pandemic unemployment payment will be assessed to see how it fits into cross-Government plans to keep Ireland healthy while continuing to get the country working again.
The conditions for receipt of this payment are that a person must have lost their employment due to the pandemic and are now fully unemployed. A self-employed person must have suffered a collapse in their trading income to the extent that they are available to take up other full-time work. Where a self-employed individual has regular employment or it generates significant income, then they should close their pandemic unemployment payment on the basis that they do not satisfy the conditions for the payment. In cases of doubt where emergency or sporadic work is undertaken, an individual should discuss the matter with the Department. In the case where a person is not satisfied with a decision to withdraw their pandemic unemployment payment on the basis of their level of engagement in employment, they can have this decision reviewed.
If a person is ineligible for the pandemic unemployment payment as they are engaged in employment, they may be entitled to support under the jobseekers benefit or jobseekers allowance scheme depending on their individual circumstances. A person in receipt of a jobseeker’s payment may take up employment but they must be unemployed for at least 4 days in 7 consecutive days to be eligible for a payment and continue to satisfy the other qualifying conditions of the schemes.
Jobseekers benefit (self-employed) is available for self-employed people who have ceased trading and is not available while a person is engaged in self-employment.
The Enterprise Support Grant has recently been extended and will be made available to small business owners who transition from the pandemic unemployment payment to re-open their business. The grant, of up to €1,000, will be payable to self-employed micro enterprises which employ fewer than 10 people, have an annual turnover of less than €1 million and are not eligible for support from the COVID 19 Business Restart Grant or other similar business reopening grants. The Department is developing the systems to put it into effect and will communicate how to access the grant in the coming weeks.
I trust that this clarifies the matter.