Minimum payment of €350 for workers must be introduced to Wage Subsidy Scheme - Donegal TD urges

Pearse Doherty TD

Sinn Féin TD, Pearse Doherty.

A Donegal TD has called for a reform of the Temporary Wage Subsidy Scheme so that workers are not penalised by receiving the wage subsidy rather than the COVID-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment.

Sinn Fein TD Pearse Doherty has called for a minimum payment of €350 per week to be introduced to the scheme.

Under the current wage subsidy scheme, employers who sign up will be required to pay their employees no more than 70% of their net weekly wage, which for many workers is less than the €350 they would receive through the Covid-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment.

Deputy Doherty said: "Sinn Féin welcomes the Temporary Wage Subsidy Scheme, which attempts to maintain a relationship between workers and their employers, keep them on payroll and support their incomes.

"However, in its current design the scheme is flawed and requires immediate reform.

"Employers who sign up are required to pay their employees no more than 70% of their net weekly wage, which for many is less than the €350 they would receive through the Covid-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment.

"In fact, anyone with a salary of less than €30,000 will receive less under the wage subsidy scheme than the would from the Covid-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment. 

"For a full-time worker on the minimum wage this wage subsidy will provide nearly €100 less than the Covid-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment.

"This is a disincentive for employers and employees to use the Wage Subsidy Scheme, which is an essential part of the Government's response to this crisis.

"Sinn Féin had proposed an Income Support Scheme that would guarantee 100% of take home pay up to a maximum of €525 per week. If these proposals are not implemented, the current scheme must at least be reformed.

"I have contacted the Minister for Finance Pascal Donohoe and Revenue calling for the scheme to reformed by ensuring that €350 is the floor or minimum payment employees receive through the Temporary Wage Subsidy Scheme. 

"This will improve the scheme, increase household incomes and encourage more employers and employees to avail of it. 

"This will provide further support to workers and also put us in a stronger position to rebuild the economy and society on the far side of this crisis."

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