Wednesday, 14 July 2021
Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection
Covid-19 Pandemic Supports
236. To ask the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection if her attention has been drawn the fact that actors can get very sporadic access to work which would force them to sign off PUP but which would not represent a sustainable opportunity to re-establish their self-employed income on a medium term basis; and if a special category under PUP or some other mechanism could be found to allow such persons avail of income support after the opportunity has been exhausted. [38367/21]
The Pandemic Unemployment Payment (PUP) is an emergency payment for employees and self- employed people who lost employment as a direct consequence of Covid 19. Due to the lifting of public health restrictions and the progress on the vaccine rollout the requirement for emergency measures has diminished as thousands of employees return to work each week.
Under the Government’s National Economic Recovery Plan, the PUP has been extended for existing claimants in recognition that some sectors will remain impacted for a longer period. The scheme closed for new applications from 7th July. To allow as much time as possible for the economy to recover and employments to reopen, there will be no change to the PUP rate until 7th September when it will be gradually reduced on a tapered basis, over a 6 month period, until February 2022 back to Jobseeker terms.
Self-employed PUP recipients, including self-employed actors, may take up some limited self-employment. A person can earn up to €960, net of expenses, over an eight week period and maintain their full PUP entitlement. Furthermore, if a self-employed person takes up limited self-employment of up to 24 hours per week, they can retain income support under the Part Time Job Incentive. Those who are eligible will receive a weekly rate of payment of €128.60. There is no income limit applied in these cases. The extension of the Part Time Job Incentive to self- employed people will continue until the end of the current year.
A self employed person who is continuing to trade but has limited income has the option of applying for Jobseeker's Allowance subject to satisfying the statutory scheme conditions including the means test.
I should also mention that there is a specific exclusion under the genuinely seeking work condition applied to Jobseeker's Allowance for professional artists. The Scheme is available to professional artists of specified art forms. It acknowledges the status of self-employed artists, including professional actors and gives them 12 months to focus on building up their work without being subject to the requirement to engage in activation as is the case for other Jobseeker's Allowance recipients.
For self-employed people who are no longer trading, they may be eligible for support under Jobseeker's Benefit Self Employed.
The €1,000 Covid-19 Enterprise Support Grant to assist self-employed people to restart their business will continue to be available to self-employed people closing PUP claims until the end of 2021. Self-employed people closing their PUP claim since 1 June 2021 to reopen their business will be able to avail of this grant even if they have previously claimed it as part of a reopening in 2020.
I trust that this information is of assistance to the Deputy.