Dáil needs to be recalled to rectify PUP foul up
30 July 2020
Spokesperson on Education, Enterprise and Trade
The Dáil needs to be recalled in order to deal with a foul up in relation to the Pandemic Unemployment Payment according to Labour Spokesperson on Enterprise, Aodhán Ó Ríordáin.
Deputy Ó Ríordáin was speaking after it was revealed that a number of people have had their PUP cut from the higher rate of €350 to €203 a week, on foot of an anomaly that does not allow applicants to combine PAYE and self-employed earnings in any one year. It also puts self employed workers with a small amount of PAYE income automatically on the lower rate even if they earn over the threshold to qualify for the higher rate.
Deputy Ó Ríordáin said:
“ A steady stream of people have come to us who had their PUP unfairly cut even though they had earned above the threshold. It seems that for many of them it was because the Department judges them on their PAYE income alone and was refusing to treat them as self-employed! For others they were refusing to combine PAYE and self employed income. This is a complete mess and we suspect there may be thousands affected.”
“In one case, it was brought to my attention that one individual was above the income threshold for the higher rate based on his self-employed earnings but because he had one small PAYE earning in the last two years, he was told he was ineligible to receive the higher rate of €350 and they refused to look at his 2018 income.
“This is blatant discrimination against self-employed people and it disproportionally affects workers in the arts and entertainment sector who have no way of going back to work to earn money as their sector has not been allowed to reopen due to Covid-19 restrictions.
“The Dáil needs to be recalled next week and the Government must correct this and to allow applicants to combine PAYE and self-employed earnings to qualify for PUP and to end this discrimination against arts and other workers who have a mix of PAYE and self-employed jobs.
Ó Ríordáin continued:
“Fine Gael consistently present themselves as the party of the self-employed, surely if that is the case Minister Humphrey’s cannot stand over a policy that is causing thousands of hard-working self-employed people to be stripped or denied their PUP payments and the Dáil must be recalled to amend the legislation to reflect this .