Wednesday, 20 May 2020
Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection
Covid-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment
1247. To ask the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection if seasonal workers will be included in the newly extended pandemic unemployment payment in view of the fact they have been hugely impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic and disadvantaged by their inability to qualify for the payment. [6270/20]
1254. To ask the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the position regarding seasonal workers in the tourism industry who were not in employment in the beginning of March 2020 as the tourism season was just about to commence at that stage and would have been on jobseeker’s allowance; if they are precluded from the pandemic unemployment payment for the entire period in view of the fact they would have been normally due to take up work in March; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [6345/20]
I propose to take Questions Nos. 1247, 1254 and 1272 together.
The COVID 19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment was introduced in March 2020 as a time-limited emergency measure to meet the surge in unemployment which resulted from the effects of the Coronavirus pandemic. The conditions for receipt of the Pandemic Unemployment Payment are that a person must of working age between 18 and up to 66 years old, have lost their employment on or after 6 March and the income associated with that employment due to the impact of the pandemic. If this is not the case the COVID-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment is not payable.
It would be impossible to construct a scheme based on claims of potential or prospective but unrealised seasonal employment, particularly in an environment where the economy was operating at full-employment with many unfilled vacancies prior to the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic. People who are currently receiving a jobseeker’s payment, including seasonal workers, who have been out of work for some time will continue to remain on this payment for the period they are entitled to it.
Where a student engages in seasonal work but was not in employment on 6 March they would not be eligible to receive the COVID-19 pandemic unemployment payment. The Student Universal Support Ireland (SUSI) Grant, payable by the Department of Education and Skills, represents the primary support for persons pursuing third level education. The matter of supports for students for the forthcoming academic year should be referred to the Minister for Education and Skills.
Where a person is experiencing financial hardship they can apply for financial support under the Supplementary Welfare Allowance scheme.
I trust this clarifies the matter.