Wednesday, 1st May 2019
Press statement by Hildegarde Naughton TD
Fine Gael, Galway West and South Mayo
Almost one-in-five workers in County Galway and more than one-in-10 in the city will benefit from the extension of Jobseeker’s Benefit for the self-employed, which was announced by the Government this week.
Self-employed workers have traditionally been precluded from claiming any welfare assistance in the event that they become unemployed. This has been seen as a disincentive to entrepreneurship and start-up companies.
However, Fine Gael TD for Galway West Hildegarde Naughton said that the Government’s decision has finally addressed that anomaly, and follows similar moves to recently extend treatment benefits and the invalidity pension for the self-employed.
“This has long been a focus of mine in this area of policy,” she said. “Self-employed people create jobs not just for themselves, but for others, and many have done so during periods when we struggled to create and maintain jobs as a country.
“The creation of this new social insurance scheme for the self-employed recognises that contribution, but it also provides a safety net for entrepreneurs who contribute to our economy by being brave enough to start businesses,” explained Deputy Naughton.
The new initiative will provide assurance to people who set up or run their own businesses that the State will support them if their efforts to create employment and an income for their families and employees suffer as a result of their business ceasing.
The Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection is currently preparing the necessary legislation to implement the new scheme. It is expected to be in operation by November.
Deputy Naughton said that 19.5 percent of workers in Co Galway were self-employed, according to the last census. In the city, a total of 11.1 percent were self-employed. They will soon be entitled to welfare support in the event of ceasing to trade.
“Many self-employed people rightly considered that they were getting a raw deal in terms of their social insurance contribution, and the benefits to which they were entitled compared to PAYE workers,” said the Galway West TD.
“This latest announcement represents a new deal for the self-employed. It should provide some assurance and encouragement to those who are already running their own businesses, while also removing some risk for those who are thinking about setting up on their own.”
Recent moves to extend treatment benefits and the invalidity pension for the self-employed has helped to establish parity between sole traders and employees in terms of the benefits they can access under the social insurance system.
It is estimated that up to 6,500 individuals could benefit from this latest support at any point in time during a full year. Under the scheme, applicants will have access to the full range of employment supports available to other jobseekers.