Written answers

Tuesday, 16 June 2020

Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection

Covid-19 Pandemic Supports

Photo of Louise O'ReillyLouise O'Reilly (Dublin Fingal, Sinn Fein)
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956. To ask the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection if pandemic supports will be extended for the photography and videography sectors in order that they can have the certainty required to keep businesses going until Ireland exits the Covid-19 crisis and enters a stable recovery period for small and medium businesses. [11116/20]

Photo of Louise O'ReillyLouise O'Reilly (Dublin Fingal, Sinn Fein)
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957. To ask the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the future of the pandemic unemployment payment in the event workers still require financial support in cases in which their employment is not fully operational until mass gatherings are permitted; and the plans in place for the event industry. [11117/20]

Photo of Anne RabbitteAnne Rabbitte (Galway East, Fianna Fail)
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973. To ask the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the steps she is taking to support those working in the photography and videography industry whose businesses have been wiped out due to Covid-19 restrictions and numerous cancelled events as a result; if she will extend supports to such sectors in view of the fact they will be slow to recover to return to some sense of normal business; if her officials have had discussions with representatives from this sector; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [10581/20]

Photo of John LahartJohn Lahart (Dublin South West, Fianna Fail)
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979. To ask the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection if she considered the request from an organisation (details supplied) with regard to implementing a time extension on pandemic supports to photography and videography businesses, giving its members the certainty required to keep their companies going until there is a recovery for the industry. [10689/20]

Duncan Smith (Dublin Fingal, Labour)
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980. To ask the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection if she will extend the pandemic unemployment payment to make it available to all limousine SPSV owners and staff who have been out of work due to the restrictions imposed due to the Covid-19 outbreak; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [10695/20]

Photo of Martin KennyMartin Kenny (Sligo-Leitrim, Sinn Fein)
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984. To ask the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection if the pandemic unemployment payment will be extended for those employees who work full time on zero-hour contracts and do not have full-time contracts of employment; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [10748/20]

Christopher O'Sullivan (Cork South West, Fianna Fail)
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1019. To ask the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection if the pandemic unemployment payment and temporary wage subsidy scheme will continue for event and arts workers until the mass gathering bans and social distancing are not required for medical safety. [11444/20]

Photo of Regina DohertyRegina Doherty (Meath East, Fine Gael)
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I propose to take Questions Nos. 956, 957, 973, 979, 980, 984 and 1019 together.

The COVID-19 pandemic unemployment payment was introduced as a time limited emergency measure in response to the pandemic and Government has approved the extension of this payment until 10th August. Changes were also announced to the structure of this payment which means that it continues to be a strong support but is also fair and targeted.

The Government is aware that there are certain sectors which will be affected by business closures longer than others and the confirmation that this payment will be available until early August provides financial certainty to people affected. My colleague, the Minister for the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation has introduced a range of supports and guidance to assist businesses with their recovery from the severe financial impacts of the pandemic and the details are available on that Department's website at www.dbei.gov.ie.

The conditions for receipt of this emergency payment are that a person must be of working age between 18 and up to 66 years old, have been in employment immediately before 13th March and have lost their income from employment due to the pandemic. Where a person does not meet the conditions for receipt of the pandemic unemployment payment and they are unemployed for 4 days or more in a week they can apply for the social-insurance based jobseekers benefit or means tested jobseekers allowance. Any person who is experiencing financial hardship may be eligible for other financial support under the supplementary welfare allowance.

The Employment (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2018 which I introduced on the 4th March 2019 provides that zero hour contracts are prohibited except in situations of genuine casual employment and where they are essential to allow employers to provide cover in emergency situations or to cover short-term absence. This important legislation will improve the security and predictability of working hours for employees on insecure contracts.

I hope that this clarifies the position.

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