Thursday, 25 March 2021
Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection
Back to Work Enterprise Allowance Scheme
118. To ask the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection if the back to work enterprise allowance can be repurposed to include self-employed persons in the tourism and arts sectors given that restrictions are likely to continue for some time; and, if not, if there is scope to set up a targeted scheme for such persons who are missing out on such payments. [16095/21]
The Back to Work Enterprise Allowance (BTWEA) scheme offers support for people who are long-term unemployed and who are interested in self-employment as a route to entering the labour market. The BTWEA is not an income support for individuals already in self-employment. The scheme plays a vital role in supporting the development of new enterprises for the long term unemployed.
Those in self-employment have a range of other income support options available to them from the Department. The individuals referred to by the Deputy may be entitled to the Pandemic Unemployment Payment (PUP), Jobseeker's Benefit or the means-tested Jobseeker’s Allowance payment depending on their situation.
As part of Budget 2021, self-employed can engage in limited levels of self-employment and can earn up to €960 over a rolling eight week period and continue to maintain entitlement to PUP. Where a self-employed person exceeds this threshold they may apply for the Part Time Job Incentive for the self- employed scheme which enables a self-employed person who has been in receipt of the PUP to engage in self-employment for up to 24 hours per week and receive a personal weekly rate of payment of €128.60. No income threshold is applied under this support.
The Enterprise Support Grant (ESG) is available to eligible self-employed recipients who close their PUP and re-start their business. A once-off grant of up to €1,000, to assist with the costs associated with reopening, is available under this measure. The grant, is payable to self-employed individuals who employ fewer than 10 people, have an annual turnover of less than €1 million and who are not eligible for support from similar business reopening grants from other Departments.
I trust this clarifies the position.