Thursday, 29 April 2021
Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection
Covid-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment
86. To ask the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the reason a reckonable income figure is used to determine the payment rate of the pandemic unemployment payment to self-employed persons; if her attention has been drawn to the fact that many self-employed salon owners are being paid less than their respective employees due to same; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [22549/21]
The Pandemic Unemployment Payment was introduced as an emergency measure to provide an income support to those who had lost their employment as a result of Covid. In order to ensure that the scheme was simple and accessible for the unprecedented number of applicants, a flat payment rate was introduced initially. This rate was the equivalent of the Jobseeker benefit rate for a two-person household.
From 26 June 2020, the Pandemic Unemployment Payment moved to 2 rates of payment; a 3 rate structure was introduced with effect from 7 September; and a 4 rate structure is in place since 16 October. These changes more closely link the rate of payment to the amount that individuals previously earned and make the scheme more targeted and fair. In determining the rate payable, the objective was to ensure that recent earnings were taken into account.
The rate of the Pandemic Unemployment Payment for a self-employed person is calculated by reference to their reckonable income in either 2018 or 2019, whichever is the greater, as these are the last two years for which complete information is available in respect of the reckonable income of self-employed persons. Details of reckonable income are supplied to the Department by the Revenue Commissioners, and are supplied net of business related costs, including capital allowances. When submitting returns to the Revenue Commissioners, self-employed persons can offset business related costs against gross trading income, with the resulting assessment to tax and PRSI based on the net profit or income accruing to the individual.
I hope that this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.