Written answers

Tuesday, 16 June 2020

Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection

Covid-19 Pandemic

Photo of James BrowneJames Browne (Wexford, Fianna Fail)
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1002. To ask the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection if her attention has been drawn to the impact of the pandemic on students who would normally work additional hours during summertime; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [11039/20]

Rose Conway-Walsh (Mayo, Sinn Fein)
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1004. To ask the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the provisions she plans to put in place for seasonal workers who due to Covid-19 will now not have sufficient contributions to qualify for unemployment benefit in late 2020 and early 2021; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [11078/20]

Paul McAuliffe (Dublin North West, Fianna Fail)
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1011. To ask the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection if provision will be made for students who normally rely on full-time work during the summer months; and if they will be able to claim the Covid-19 emergency payment. [11226/20]

Norma Foley (Kerry, Fianna Fail)
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1023. To ask the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection if she will address the urgent case of seasonal workers whose stamps are running out and are not being catered for by the pandemic unemployment payment; and if she will address the issue of stamps running out for this cohort of workers due to the pandemic and include them in the payment. [11508/20]

Photo of Regina DohertyRegina Doherty (Meath East, Fine Gael)
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I propose to take Questions Nos. 1002, 1004, 1011 and 1023 together.

The COVID 19 pandemic unemployment payment was introduced as a time limited emergency measure in response to the pandemic that will now be payable until 10 August 2020, further to the recent Government announcement.  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 before 13 March 2020 and have lost their employment due to the pandemic and are not being paid by their employer.

If a person was in not in employment immediately prior to 13 March 2020 but was due to take up summer employment they are not eligible to receive the pandemic unemployment payment.  It would be impossible to construct a scheme based on claims of potential or prospective but unrealised employment, particularly where the economy was operating at full-employment with many unfilled vacancies prior to the onset of the COVID 19 pandemic.

Jobseekers benefit is payable for 9 months for people with 260 or more PRSI contributions paid or 6 months if they have less than 260 contributions paid.  Where a person exhausts their claim for jobseekers benefit or they have insufficient contributions paid they may apply for support under the means tested jobseeker's allowance.

In respect of students, 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.

Any person who is experiencing financial hardship may be eligible for other financial supports under the means tested supplementary welfare allowance scheme.

I trust that this clarifies the matter.

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