Written answers

Wednesday, 20 May 2020

Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection

Covid-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment

Photo of Catherine MurphyCatherine Murphy (Kildare North, Social Democrats)
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1264. To ask the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the level of flexibility regarding the Covid-19 payment of €350; if small business owners and or sole traders in receipt of the payment can still avail of some sort of financial assistance as they return to work or attempt to gain work on a phase by phase basis in harmony with the Roadmap for Reopening Society and Business; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [6503/20]

Photo of Regina DohertyRegina Doherty (Meath East, Fine Gael)
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The Roadmap for Reopening Society and Business, published by the Government on 1 May 2020 sets out a timetable for the phased reopening of society and the economy and envisages a series of steps which will lead to the resumption of various sectors of the economy.  Decisions around the future of the supports in place will continue to be monitored having regard to a range of factors including how the public health situation evolves and the effects of the re-opening of Phase 1.

The Government recognises that the COVID-19 pandemic has presented unprecedented challenges for businesses.  My colleague, the Minister for the Department of Business Enterprise and Innovation has introduced a range of supports and guidance for businesses available on the Department's website at www.dbei.gov.ie.

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 around the payment to self-employed people, including sole traders and business owners, are that they must have experienced a collapse of income and be available to take up other full-time work if it was available to them in order to qualify.  If a self-employed person does not meet this criteria and is continuing to operate their business at a reduced level they may be eligible to apply for support under the means tested jobseeker’s allowance.

I trust that this clarifies the position for the Deputy.

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