Seanad debates

Wednesday, 29 July 2020

Social Welfare (Covid-19) (Amendment) Bill 2020: Committee and Remaining Stages

 

1:00 pm

Photo of Alice-Mary HigginsAlice-Mary Higgins (Independent)

I move amendment No. 5.

In page 9, between lines 20 and 21, to insert the following:
“(6) The Minister shall, within three months of the passing of this Act, prepare a report to be laid before both Houses of the Oireachtas considering steps which might be taken to—
(a) ensure persons in receipt of the Covid-19 pandemic unemployment payment on or before April 2021 have voluntary access to a range

of education, training and employment opportunities, and

(b) ensure that, for no period in the 24 months following initial receipt of that payment, are the educational, training and employment opportunities available to an

individual limited to those provided by Jobpath.”.

I also want to raise some issues on this section. We have heard much discussion on unforeseen consequences and having to roll back and change things. There is the potential to avoid a number of unforeseen consequences, and consequences that are being foreseen because people are raising concerns about them now and raised them in the Dáil yesterday, if section 11 of the Bill was not commenced until 10 August. This is something that is at the Minister’s discretion as she can choose the commencement date in respect of different sections of the Bill. If she were to choose to wait until after 10 August in respect of the commencement of section 11 she could avoid a number of unnecessary ambiguities and anxieties for many people in many sectors.

To clarify, a Leas-Chathaoirligh, can we have a separate opportunity to speak to this section after having discussed the amendments?

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