Plans to link a person’s welfare payments to their previous earnings will come into effect by the end of the year, said Social Protection Secretary Heather Humphreys.
The Fine Gael minister said the introduction of the scheme will “soften the cliff edge drop” in a person’s income if they lose their job and have to switch to welfare.
The wage-related jobseeker’s benefit is paid to workers under the age of 66 who have been in full-time employment and have demonstrated “strong, recent attachment to the workforce”. A person must also seek employment to benefit from it, reports The Mirror.
Someone with five years of PRSI contributions (six of which must have been earned in the previous 12 months) would receive 60 percent of their previous earnings, up to a maximum of €450.
Individuals with less than five years of contributions are entitled to 50 per cent of their previous earnings, up to a maximum of €300 per week.
Minister Humphreys said when people lose their jobs, moving from a higher wage to a welfare payment can come as a shock.
She explained: “It’s not just the basic [Jobseekers Allowance] payment, it’s the add-on payments you get depending on the number of children you have or whether your spouse is working or not,” reports The Mirror.
She said Ireland was an outlier and the only European country that had no wage-related benefits.
Minister Humphreys made the comments as she launched a public consultation for the scheme in Dublin on Friday morningm reports The Mirror.
This consultation will run until the end of the month, with the minister then working with her officials to draw up a plan.
The proposal will then be presented to the government and it is envisaged that the new benefit will be introduced by the end of the year.
The Fine Gael TD also said there are no plans to change the services provided to Ukrainian refugees and international protection seekers.
Those fleeing the war in Ukraine are currently receiving the same benefits as an Irish citizen would receive, which Ms Humphreys described as “the right thing to do”.
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