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Minister Regina Doherty said the bill would create "more fairness" in the social welfare system.

Government to go ahead with plans for self-employed to access jobseeker's payments

Self-employed people will be able to access €203 a week if they’re out of work.

SELF-EMPLOYED WORKERS WILL soon be able to access jobseeker’s benefit after a new bill gained Cabinet approval this week. 

In April, the government promised to bring forward legislation to provide self-employed workers with a jobseeker’s benefit scheme.

This followed on from the government announcing in Budget 2019 last October that self-employed people would be able to receive jobseeker’s benefits if they’re out of work. 

However, as Budget 2020 approaches, the new provisions have not yet been rolled out. 

Today’s announcement of the new scheme sets out that self-employed people will be entitled to benefits beginning in November.

The publication of the bill today following Cabinet approval means the Oireachtas will soon vote on whether or not it should become law. 

Under the scheme, self-employed people will be eligible for €203 a week – this means that they’ll be receiving the same as other workers. 

The government expects that the new scheme will cost at least €31 million in 2020. Under the scheme, someone cannot work in any self-employed capacity and receive jobseeker’s benefit. 

Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection, Regina Doherty, said that the self-employed will now be provided with “breathing space and support” if they find themselves out of work. 

“When the economy crashed in 2008, many suffered. Self-employed traders such as plumbers, electricians and painters all around the country suddenly found themselves with no work and with very little support from the State. This Bill seeks to rectify that situation,” Doherty said in a statement.

Jobseeker’s benefit will be paid for nine months to people with 260 or more PRSI contributions – the duration is reduced to six months for anyone with contributions below this number. 

Like other employees, self-employed workers will be able to access increases for dependents or children. 

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