In order to address concerns expressed by self-employed people relating to the difficulties they face in resuming activity, the uncertainty of income streams given the ongoing economic disruption and the fact that in many cases work will be of an occasional or intermittent nature during the initial period of a return to work, the Government introduced changes to the Pandemic Unemployment Payment as part of Budget 2021.
These changes included formal provision to enable self-employed people on the Pandemic Unemployment Payment (including arts/entertainment sector workers and taxi drivers) recommencing employment earn up to €480 over a rolling 4 week period while retaining entitlement to the Pandemic Unemployment Payment. The changes are effective from 13 October 2020.
In effect an earnings threshold of €480 per rolling four week period will be used to assess whether or not a self-employed person is substantively employed/unemployed. Any self-employed person earning below this amount will be considered to be unemployed for the purposes of assessing entitlement to the Pandemic Unemployment Payment. The earnings threshold is aligned with the income disregard currently in place for people in receipt of Disability Allowance. A self-employed person availing of this does not need to seek approval from the Department and they do not need to report these earnings to the Department on a regular basis. They do need to keep a record of all income for the period.
The earnings threshold approach will be implemented in the first instance by means of self-assessment, with spot checks of a sample of claims by Social Welfare inspectors and ultimately reconciliation with Revenue earnings returns.
I hope that this clarifies matters for the Deputy.