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Draft bill to link benefits to PRSI history

10 Jan 2024 / legislation Print

Draft bill to link benefits to PRSI history

The Cabinet has approved a draft bill to introduce a new Pay-Related Jobseeker’s Benefit that would give bigger payments to people with at least five years of PRSI contributions.

The Department of Social Protection said that the measure would bring Ireland into line with other EU countries and would ensure that people with “a strong work history” received enhanced benefits if they lost their employment.

Under the new system, there will be three rates of payment over nine months for people who have made at least five years’ PRSI contributions, as follows:

  • A top rate of a maximum of €450 (60% of previous income), payable for three months,
  • A second rate of a maximum of €375 (55% of previous income), to be paid for the following three months, and
  • A third rate of a maximum of €300 (50% of previous income) for the final three months.

For people who have between two and five years of paid contributions, the rate will be set at 50% of previous earnings, subject to a maximum for €300 per week, and for six months’ duration.

A copy of the general scheme of the bill will be sent to the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Social Protection, Community and Rural Development and the Islands for pre-legislative scrutiny.

Technical work to begin

“This is about ensuring that people who have worked for long periods, perhaps even all their working lives, won’t suffer that cliff-edge drop in their income if they become unemployed,” said the Minister for Social Protection Heather Humphreys (pictured).

The department said that it would work on the necessary administrative, technical, and IT arrangements over the coming months, with the aim of introducing the scheme in the final quarter of this year.

The new scheme is one of the measures to be funded by a previously agreed series of increases in PRSI rates for employers and employees over the coming five years.

Ministers have approved the heads of a bill that will increase these rates from 1 October every year from 2024.

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