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Self-employed people allowed earn €960 over two months without losing their Pandemic Unemployment Payment

The move aims to help those who want to take up occasional intermittent work without losing their payment,

Image: Shutterstock/Myronovych

SELF-EMPLOYED WORKERS will be allowed to earn €960 over two months while also claiming the Pandemic Unemployment Payment (PUP). 

An amendment to the Social Welfare Bill put down by Sinn Féin’s Claire Kerrane and accepted by government means the current rules which allow self-employed workers to earn up to €480 per month without losing access to the PUP will now change.

While it is the same financial amount, spreading it out over two months means workers should not fear losing their PUP when taking one-off jobs over €500. 

The move comes after engagement with self employed people like musicians, performers and taxi drivers. 

It is hoped the payment will allow self-employed people in affected sectors to take up occasional intermittent work without losing their entitlement to the PUP.

Speaking in the Dáil this afternoon, Social Protection Minister Heather Humphreys said she hopes this measure will be “warmly welcomed by our taxi drivers, musicians, electricians, plumbers and other self-employed workers across the country”.

“This measure took effect from Budget day. There is no application process, it’s a self-declaration so a self-employed person simply needs to inform my Department if they earn more than €480 over a 4 week period.

“I am aware that there is an amendment down for debate later which looks at changing this to €960 over an eight week period.

“I am happy to accept that amendment as having spoken to musicians and members of the entertainment industry directly, they have explained that this would make life easier for them when it comes to one off gigs,” she said.

Whether it is €480 over four weeks or €960 over eight weeks, the minister said the government did not want people to turn down work for fear that it might impact their payment.

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“We all hope with the vaccine coming on stream that we will get back to some level of normality in 2021 and we want to see our musicians and artists back performing as much as possible.

“In the meantime this will provide them with greater flexibility to take up occasional gigs while knowing that the safety net of the PUP is still there for them,” said Humphreys.

Prior to the Budget, Taoiseach Micheál Martin confirmed to TheJournal.ie that the PUP system was being reviewed before the Budget to assess how to use the social welfare system “creatively”.

The PUP is available to employees and the self-employed who lost their job on or after 13 March due to the Covid-19 pandemic.  

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