Written answers

Wednesday, 29 July 2020

Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection

Covid-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment

Photo of Louise O'ReillyLouise O'Reilly (Dublin Fingal, Sinn Fein)
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37. To ask the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection if persons from the arts sector will be kept at the higher rate of the pandemic unemployment payment in view of the fact they cannot return to work until gigs and events are up and running; and if their average weekly earnings from 2019 can be used as the basis for the calculation of the payment; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [19010/20]

Photo of Richard Boyd BarrettRichard Boyd Barrett (Dún Laoghaire, People Before Profit Alliance)
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51. To ask the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection if she will report on the discussions she has had with regard to maintaining the pandemic unemployment payment for artists, performers, crew and event organisers in the arts, culture, music, live entertainment and events sectors as a basic minimum income over and above which these workers would be allowed earn some additional income without losing the payment until a full or substantial recovery to normal or near normal levels of employment and income earning opportunity return; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [17396/20]

Photo of Aengus Ó SnodaighAengus Ó Snodaigh (Dublin South Central, Sinn Fein)
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54. To ask the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection if she has had discussions with the Minister of Media, Culture, Tourism and Gaeltacht regarding the need to protect artists, those working in the events business and musicians with a continuation of the higher Covid-19 payments until such time as the sector can recommence in full. [18996/20]

Photo of Paul MurphyPaul Murphy (Dublin South West, RISE)
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63. To ask the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection if the €350 per week pandemic unemployment payment rate will be maintained rather than reduced. [19015/20]

Thomas Gould (Cork North Central, Sinn Fein)
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67. To ask the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection if measures have been taken to ensure that publicans that were due to reopen their establishments on 20 July 2020 can remain on the Covid-19 pandemic unemployment payment until 10 August 2020. [18125/20]

Photo of Aengus Ó SnodaighAengus Ó Snodaigh (Dublin South Central, Sinn Fein)
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73. To ask the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the steps she will take to protect artists, those working in the events business and musicians with a continuation of the higher Covid-19 payments until such time as the sector can recommence in full. [18997/20]

Photo of Bernard DurkanBernard Durkan (Kildare North, Fine Gael)
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75. To ask the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the degree to which special Covid-19 related payments are to continue or to be replaced by return to work incentives or other alternatives; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [19008/20]

Photo of Paul MurphyPaul Murphy (Dublin South West, RISE)
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85. To ask the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection if jobseeker’s benefits will be raised to the €350 per week pandemic unemployment payment rate rather than reducing the pandemic unemployment payment. [19016/20]

Photo of Gary GannonGary Gannon (Dublin Central, Social Democrats)
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91. To ask the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection her views on whether artists should be entitled to the full rate of the pandemic unemployment payment in view of the number of persons in the arts sector that have both PAYE and self-employed incomes which is a disadvantage to them for the payment in view of the fact these incomes cannot be combined for the same year and in further view of the fact that the sector will be impacted the longest by Covid-19. [19018/20]

Photo of Peter FitzpatrickPeter Fitzpatrick (Louth, Independent)
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93. To ask the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection if social welfare supports will be introduced to help employers and employees retain jobs during the Covid-19 crisis (details supplied). [19024/20]

Alan Dillon (Mayo, Fine Gael)
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209. To ask the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection if she will respond to the request by performers and crew in the live entertainment industry to retain the pandemic unemployment payment; if other supports and grants will be provided for those in the sector that due to social distancing requirements are uncertain as to when they will return to work; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [17247/20]

Photo of Richard Boyd BarrettRichard Boyd Barrett (Dún Laoghaire, People Before Profit Alliance)
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211. To ask the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection if she has requested that the pandemic unemployment payment be maintained as part of the July stimulus for artists, performers, crew and event organisers in the arts, culture, music, live entertainment and events sectors as a basic minimum income over and above which these workers would be allowed earn some additional income without losing the payment until a full or substantial recovery to normal or near normal levels of employment and income earning opportunity return; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [17393/20]

Photo of Richard Boyd BarrettRichard Boyd Barrett (Dún Laoghaire, People Before Profit Alliance)
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212. To ask the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection if she has requested of the relevant Ministers that the pandemic unemployment payment be maintained as part of the July stimulus for artists, performers, crew and event organisers in the arts, culture music, live entertainment and events sectors as a basic minimum income over and above which these workers would be allowed earn some additional income without losing the payment until a full or substantial recovery to normal or near normal levels of employment and income earning opportunity return; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [17696/20]

Photo of Bernard DurkanBernard Durkan (Kildare North, Fine Gael)
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232. To ask the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the extent to which Covid-19-related supports continue to be made available to eligible applicants nationally; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [19501/20]

Martin Browne (Tipperary, Sinn Fein)
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238. To ask the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection if her attention has been drawn to persons experiencing more persistent and prolonged unemployment as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic that will be most affected by the decision to reduce the pandemic unemployment payment following the announcement of the July stimulus package; the supports that will be available to families in which their income drops substantially as a result of same; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [19532/20]

Photo of Heather HumphreysHeather Humphreys (Cavan-Monaghan, Fine Gael)
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I propose to take Questions Nos. 37, 51, 54, 63, 67, 73, 75, 85, 91, 93, 209, 211, 212, 232 and 238 together.

As part of the Governments July stimulus package announced last week the pandemic unemployment payment has been extended to 1st April 2021.  Changes have been introduced to the structure of the payment which means that it continues to be a strong support but is also fair and targeted.

From 17 September 2020 until 31 January 2021 the Pandemic Unemployment Payment will be paid at 3 rates.  People who previously earned over €300 per week  will receive €300 per week, people who earned €200 to €300 will receive €250 and people who earned less than €200 will receive €203.  From 1 February 2021 there will be 2 rates.  People who earned over €300 per week will receive €250 and people who earned less than €300 per week will receive €203.  From 1 April 2021 people in receipt of the pandemic unemployment payment will need to apply for a jobseeker payment.

Where a person is self-employed their average weekly income for 2018 was used to determine their rate of payment for the pandemic unemployment payment.  This is the last tax year for which complete data on self-employed income is available.

The pandemic unemployment payment rate changes are necessary given the extended period over which the payment will be available.  It is also important to begin the process of aligning it with normal jobseeker payments over time.

It is also important to remember that those with adult dependents have the option of applying for a jobseeker payment, which is paid at €350 for a two-person household.

The July Stimulus Package also allocated significant funding of some €112 million in employment support service measures to assist people back to work details of which are available on www.gov.ie

I trust that this clarifies the position.

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