Seanad debates

Wednesday, 29 July 2020

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

 

1:00 pm

Photo of Heather HumphreysHeather Humphreys (Cavan-Monaghan, Fine Gael)

Any employee who has been employed by the same employer for two years is entitled to redundancy payment. This legislation will not impact their rights in any way. I want to be clear on that.

Regarding people who hope to go back to jobs, on 10 August, the remaining sectors of the economy will hopefully be able to reopen. Of course, we are always guided by public health advice. I said earlier that the Department will take a very practical approach regarding those people who are expecting to go back to their particular sector. For people in a sector that is waiting to reopen soon, that is okay. The point is that this payment was due to stop on 10 August. We are now extending it until 1 April 2021. Then we wash out and people will be entitled to the standard jobseeker's payment. I apologise to Senator Burke who asked me that question earlier and I forgot to answer it.

From 17 September, the payments change and will be more aligned to what people earned before the start of the pandemic. They will stay in place until 1 February when they are reduced again. They will continue until 1 April when jobseeker's payment kicks in again. That is a long time for someone not to be seeking work and it is only right that people should be looking for work. We must call a spade a spade here because unfortunately in some cases people will not get their jobs back. We are investing all this money to help them to reskill and upskill and go back to education so that we can get them back to work. The quicker we can get them back to work, the better.We have introduced this legislation so that we can do as much as we can to help people.

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