Tuesday, 30 June 2020
Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection
Covid-19 Pandemic Supports
837. To ask the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection if consideration has been given to providing income supports for taxi drivers that are returning to work as the lockdown comes to an end in the context of diminished demand for their services in the next few months; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [13154/20]
851. To ask the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection if concerns (details supplied) raised in relation to the events industry will be addressed; if further supports will be made available for freelance and self-employed workers in the sector; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [13423/20]
856. To ask the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection if she will continue the pandemic unemployment payment into 2021 in circumstances in which certain seasonal sectors of the economy have passed their season; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [13531/20]
867. To ask the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection if artists will be allowed to take up short-term projects and work to remain on the pandemic unemployment payment in view of the fact the sector will not open properly until 2021; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [13708/20]
I propose to take Questions Nos. 837, 851, 856 and 867 together.
The COVID-19 pandemic unemployment payment was introduced as a time limited emergency measure in response to the pandemic and approval has been given to the extension of this payment until 10th August. 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 at this time.
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.
A self-employed person who is continuing to operate their business at a reduced level may be eligible for support under the jobseekers allowance payment. Jobseekers Benefit for the self-employed, which I introduced last year, is a PRSI support available for self-employed people who have ceased trading. I have also recently announced the extension of the Enterprise Support Grant which will be made available to small business owners who transition from the Pandemic Unemployment Payment to re-open the business. The grant, of up to €1,000, will be payable to self-employed micro enterprises which employ fewer than 10 people, have an annual turnover of less than €1 million and are not eligible for support from the COVID 19 Business Restart Grant or other similar business reopening grants. The Department is developing the systems to put it into effect and will communicate how to access the grant in the coming weeks.
It should be noted that any person who is experiencing financial hardship may be eligible for other financial support under the means tested supplementary welfare allowance scheme including an Exceptional or Urgent needs payment.
I trust that this clarifies the position at this time.