Cabinet needs to deal with PUP discrimation against self-employed
4 August 2020
Spokesperson on Education, Enterprise and Trade
The Cabinet needs to deal today with the PUP oversight whereby potentially thousands of workers 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 according to Labour Enterprise Spokesperson Aodhán Ó Ríordáin.
Deputy Ó Ríordáin said:
“Minister Humphreys needs to bring a memo to Cabinet to fix this anomaly. We heard again over the weekend of more people affected by PUP foul ups after a self-employed taxi driver who had already voluntarily ceased claiming the Pandemic Unemployment was then told his PUP payment was being discontinued because he was ‘observed by social welfare inspectors operating as a taxi for hire in Dublin’ even though such criteria, should he have been in receipt of the payment, would not have applied to him, because he is self-employed.
“The criteria for the Pandemic Unemployment Payment have altered on a number of occasions and it is clear that there are a number of issues with the payment that Minister Humphreys needs to deal with and that the Department of Social Protection are making it up as they go along. When I raised the issue of self-employed people having their PUP cut, she blatantly ignored the issue. This simply isn’t good enough.
“Instead of acknowledging the issues with the PUP and committing to ask her officials to address them, the Minister for Social Protection decided to launch a bizarre broadside at the Arts community in the Dáil. Instead of asking them to retrain and reskill, she should do her job and address the anomaly with the PUP payment that disproportionately affects the Arts community.
Ó Ríordáin continued:
“Minister Humphreys and Cabinet need to deal with the outstanding issues with the PUP payment to allow people who combine self-employed and PAYE income to receive the higher rate of PUP if their combined income is above the threshold for the higher rate instead of attacking people who work in sectors such as the Arts that cannot reopen due to Covid-19 restrictions.