Written answers

Wednesday, 27 May 2020

Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection

Covid-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment

Photo of Violet WynneViolet Wynne (Clare, Sinn Fein)
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998. To ask the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection if provision is being made for the pandemic unemployment payment to be extended for students with a high-risk health status and that have been advised by their general practitioners not to return to work in the hospitality industry. [8031/20]

Photo of Holly CairnsHolly Cairns (Cork South West, Social Democrats)
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1017. To ask the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection her plans to ensure all meat plant workers whose health or employment has been negatively impacted by the Covid-19 clusters are provided with the Covid-19 pandemic unemployment payment and illness benefit. [8215/20]

Photo of Regina DohertyRegina Doherty (Meath East, Fine Gael)
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I propose to take Questions Nos. 998 and 1017 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 this payment are that a person must be of working age between 18 and up to 66 years old, have been in employment immediately prior to 13th March and have lost their employment income. Employees who satisfy these conditions, which can include those in meat processing or students, are eligible to the COVID 19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment if they satisfy these conditions.

Where an employee has had their hours reduced and is unemployed for 4 days or more in a week they can apply for the social-insurance based jobseekers benefit or the means tested jobseeker's allowance scheme. If they have been put on a short time working week on a temporary basis they may be eligible for short time work support.

If a person in employment is diagnosed with COVID 19 they can apply for COVID 19 illness benefit. A person who is a probable source of infection of COVID 19 and is self-isolating can also apply for COVID 19 Illness Benefit as they will have either been certified by their doctor or will have received text notification from the HSE where they have been contact-traced or otherwise personally identified and advised by the HSE as being a probable source of infection.

Where a person does not qualify for these payments and is experiencing financial hardship they can apply for financial support under the Supplementary Welfare Allowance scheme.

I trust that this clarifies the matter.

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