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Self-employed workers become eligible for social support

Self-employed workers will become eligible for the social benefits of a jobseeker from November on the basis of their social security contributions.

Minister for Employment and Social Protection, Regina Doherty, said the initiative will provide a revenue security network for thousands of SMEs across the country.

However, the Irish Trade Union Congress criticized the inability to raise the premium rate by the self-employed, which remains at more than a quarter of the amount paid by employees.

In her statement, Mrs Doherty described the planned social security benefit plan for the self-employed in November, which ensures that people set up or run their own business, which is a state, to support them if their business ceases.

Applicants will have to comply with an unspecified PRSI contribution condition and those who do not have sufficient PRSI contributions will be able to continue to apply for a jobseeker contribution.

She added that preparations for the necessary legislation had begun.

The Irish Trade Union Congress (ICTU) welcomes this change in its statement, but objected to the fact that the government did not increase the social security contribution of self-employed workers.

Political Policy Political Officer, ICTU Laura Bambrick said he pays a 4% rate compared to a 14.95% employee contribution.

She said historically, self-employed people do not have access to a wide range of social benefits, which is why their PRSI contribution is less. But she added that it wasn't.

"Even before this new payment comes into effect, self-employed workers have access to 80% of contributory benefits, contributing only 27% of the effective rate of social security paid to PAYE workers," said Dr. Bambick.

She quoted last year's survey of 20,000 self-employed people carried out by Mrs Doherty's department, in which more than four out of five respondents (88%) said they would be willing to pay a higher social security contribution in exchange for additional benefits.

"Officials estimate that a 0.5% increase in the self-employed to 4% PRSI would generate € 77.5 million per year," said the ICTU official.

She accused the government of ignoring the finding and instead introduced a new payment for the self-employed without a corresponding increase in their social insurance premiums.

Dr. Bambrick said it was happening at the same time that the government made it harder to claim a full old-age pension rate and raise the retirement age to 68 of their concerns about the future sustainability of the Social Security Fund.

"(To) crystallizes the injustice and shortsightedness of government thinking," added Dr. Bambrick.

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