1,000 signatures reached
To: Leo Varadkar, Paschal Donohoe and the caretaker government
No reduction to Covid19 €350 payment
Extend the Pandemic Universal Payment of €350 until the end of the Covid19 pandemic and expand it so that those over 66 and under 18 who were working prior to the pandemic and all those who work in the gig economy and precarious employment are also eligible for a payment of €350 per week.
Immediately, in the interests of equality, review all other social welfare payments including disability, pensions, jobseekers and others with a view to establishing an increased universal minimum payment to lift all in Irish society out of poverty.
Why is this important?
The Pandemic Universal Payment of €350 per week for all those who lost their income as a result of the Covid19 crisis was a welcome move by the caretaker government and an admission that the current social welfare rates and their previously proposed €203 payment were wholly inadequate.
Currently the payment is set to run until 19 June. The payment needs to stay in place until the end of the current health emergency and until the full recovery of employment lost as a result of the pandemic. Any attempt to "taper off" the payment, as recently suggested by Minister Paschal Donohoe, may result in people being pushed back into a workplace before it is safe and financially punish them for a loss of income that was completely out of their control.
The current payment does not cover all those who lost income as a result of the crisis. Many of those who work in the gig economy or in precarious employment were deemed ineligible because they were not working on or after 6 March. Both Over 66s and Under 18s who were working prior to the crisis were also deemed ineligible. The payment should be expanded to include these workers.
The rate of €350 is an unofficial admission by the caretaker government that the current social welfare rates are wholly inadequate and rates for all social welfare payments including those on state pensions, disability and job seeker payments should now be increased to €350 per week. These measures should be taken as a first step towards creating a Universal Basic Minimum Payment to eradicate poverty in Irish society.