Written answers

Thursday, 6 July 2023

Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection

Social Welfare Benefits

Photo of Colm BurkeColm Burke (Cork North Central, Fine Gael)
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165. To ask the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection to confirm whether her Department is investigating the possibility of linking the rate of maternity benefit to a woman’s pay or PRSI contributions; if so, the current status of these plans; when they are likely to be implemented; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [32824/23]

Photo of Heather HumphreysHeather Humphreys (Cavan-Monaghan, Fine Gael)
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Maternity Benefit is a payment made for 26 weeks to self-employed women, employed women who are eligible for Maternity Leave and who satisfy certain PRSI contribution conditions. As announced in Budget 2023 the standard rate of Maternity Benefit has increased to €262 per week from January 2023. In 2023, it is estimated that my Department will spend approximately €273 million on the scheme.

The Programme for Government includes a commitment to consider increasing all classes of PRSI over time to replenish the Social Insurance Fund to help pay for measures and changes to be agreed including, inter alia, improvements to parental leave benefits.

Last December I published a public consultation document or "Strawman" on Pay-Related Benefit for Jobseekers. While the Strawman primarily focuses on jobseekers supports, feedback received as part of the public consultation will also help to inform the consideration of potential changes to other short-term income supports, such as Maternity Benefit.

Any changes to the Maternity Benefit scheme would have to be considered in an overall budgetary context.

I trust this clarifies matters for the Deputy.


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