SIPTU says government must do better on pay-related Jobseeker’s Benefit
SIPTU has welcomed the announcement by Minister for Social Protection, Heather Humphreys, at the Fine Gael Ard Fheis that the Government intends to introduce pay-related Jobseeker’s Benefit but says the approach proposed is “nowhere near good enough.”
Under the terms announced by the Minister, a reduction in benefit would apply after just three months. The proposed scheme would see benefit being applied at 60 percent of average earnings (max €450 per week) for a period of three months, then reduced to 55 percent (max €375) for a further three months and then further reduced to €300 (max €300). The Government had previously proposed to pay benefit at 60 percent for six months.
SIPTU Divisional Organiser, Adrian Kane, said: “Statistics show that 70 percent of workers who lose their job return to work within six months. By reducing the initial period after just three months, the Minister’s proposal will hit workers just when they need assistance the most.
“Most European Union schemes provide for higher payments for longer periods of time. The State needs to improve the social wage for workers who need to see the tangible benefits of paying social insurance.
“The scheme, as proposed by the Minister, will not provide the necessary security to workers who have lost their jobs,” he added. “It is nowhere near good enough.”
The lay off of hundreds of workers from Tara Mines in July has highlighted the inadequacies in the current Jobseeker’s Benefit scheme. Kane said that these new proposals are too late for SIPTU members in Tara Mines and that an emergency scheme needs to be put in place for them immediately.