Make PUP payment fit for purpose

22 September 2020
  • Government needs to move speedily on supports for workers in Dublin in the Arts, Events and Hospitality sectors.
  • Restore €350 payment level.

As thousands of workers in Dublin face into no work for three weeks at a minimum, the Government must now move urgently to introduce adequate financial supports, Labour’s spokesperson for Employment affairs, Arts and Culture, Sen. Marie Sherlock said:

“It is simply unacceptable that draconian measures be taken to combat the increase in the incidence of Covid 19 without a commensurate package of supports for those worst affected in the art, events and hospitality sectors.

“Three days on from the announcement of the restrictions, the only support made available has been the offer of the Restart plus grant for businesses with no adequate provision for workers.

Senator Sherlock continued

“Ironically, the restrictions came in just 24 hours after cuts were imposed to the PUP payment. Reductions to Pandemic unemployment payment and the introduction of the EWSS were designed to be consistent with a recovering economy with more venues and premises opening. Instead, we now have the situation where restrictions are going in one direction and the payments are going in the other.

“As a matter of urgency, the PUP payment needs to be reset to €350 per week for new and existing claimants.

“The rules of eligibility also need to be changed so that both PAYE and self employed earnings can be taken into account. The failure to date to consider both earnings ignores the lived reality for many in the arts and events sector who have to combine regular income with their earnings from performances and events.

“Government also now needs to call on insurance companies to engage on the issue of refunds. We have seen motor insurers and health insurers administer customer refunds and public liability insurers now need to do likewise for those venues, premises and contractors that cannot operate.

“The announcement of the membership of the Arts and Culture Taskforce is welcome but the thousands of those who are jobless in the sector cannot wait until October 31st for the group’s report to be completed. It is vital that the taskforce can issue interim recommendations during the course of its work to respond to the Dublin restrictions and to inform Budget 2021.”

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