Written answers

Tuesday, 16 June 2020

Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection

Covid-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment

Marian Harkin (Sligo-Leitrim, Independent)
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1013. To ask the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection if childcare providers who cannot reopen their childcare facilities as a result of severely reduced numbers due to the fact that parents of children are still working from home will continue to be eligible for the Covid-19 payment in these circumstances; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [11285/20]

Photo of Regina DohertyRegina Doherty (Meath East, Fine Gael)
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The COVID 19 pandemic unemployment payment was introduced as a time limited emergency measure in response to the pandemic and Government has agreed its extension until 10 August 2020.  Changes were also announced to the structure of this payment which means that it continues to be a strong support which is also fair and targeted.

The Government is aware that there are certain professions and businesses which will be affected by business closures longer than other sectors.  The confirmation that this payment will be available until early August provides financial certainty to people in these sectors.  In addition, my colleague, the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, has announced a major funding package to facilitate the reopening of childcare facilities from 29 June 2020.  The details are available on www.gov.ie.

I trust this clarifies the position at this time.

Photo of Denis NaughtenDenis Naughten (Roscommon-Galway, Independent)
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1014. To ask the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection if payment will be made for the nine months under the present eligibility criteria in cases in which a person transfers from the pandemic unemployment payment to jobseeker’s benefit; her plans to extend the payment beyond nine months; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [11317/20]

Photo of Regina DohertyRegina Doherty (Meath East, Fine Gael)
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Jobseeker's benefit is a weekly payment to people who have lost their employment and who satisfy the scheme conditions including the requirement to have sufficient social insurance contributions paid.  This benefit is paid for 9 months (234 days) for people with 260 or more PRSI contributions paid.  It is paid for 6 months (156 days) for people who have less than 260 PRSI contributions paid.

Where a person transfers from the Covid-19 pandemic payment to jobseeker’s benefit, payment may be made for up to 9 months dependent on their PRSI contributions paid. Where a person has exhausted their claim for jobseeker’s benefit they may apply for means tested jobseeker’s allowance.

I trust that this clarifies the matter.

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