Seanad debates

Friday, 20 March 2020

An Bille Sláinte (Caomhnú agus Cosaint agus Bearta Éigeandála eile ar mhaithe le Leas an Phobail), 2020: Céim an Choiste agus na Céimeanna a bheidh Fágtha - Health (Preservation and Protection and other Emergency Measures in the Public Interest) Bill 2020: Committee and Remaining Stages

 

11:00 am

Photo of Lynn RuaneLynn Ruane (Independent)

I have two queries on this and I am sure more queries will come up in Senator Higgins's contribution. On the working family payment, there have been no provisions made and no clear indication or instruction on women who are on the working family payment and who also receive jobseeker's transition payment. For example, a women with one child could be on €237 per week of jobseeker's transition payment, is working ten hours per week as a waitress and receives €110 in wages, which means that if she was to change to the emergency Covid-19 payment, she would be on less money because it does not take dependants into account in the amount that is paid. The rate of €203 per week is flat and it does not allow for dependant children so it does not take in the special circumstances of women and mothers in being able to ensure they still have a sufficient level of income. Has there been any instruction that the working family payment will continue to be paid, even in an emergency capacity? Or will the Government begin to look at the fact that women have dependants and increase the Covid-19 emergency payment for them so it will be brought up to a standard that means they are not at a loss when they are temporarily unemployed?

I have one more question on this section. I know there has been lots of discussion on the expansion of HAP. It makes more sense to me that we would look at a Covid-19 emergency payment for rent allowance similar to the €203 per week payment, rather than expanding HAP. Is there room for us to create an emergency access for those in shared accommodation? We have some landlords who do not have a mortgage so will they be passing on the savings they make when their mortgage is in a holiday period?Some people who are laid off work will not be able to pay their rents unless there is a complete suspension of rents or unless they have access to an emergency rent allowance payment in the interim.

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