The Workers’ Party has condemned the announcement by An Taoiseach Leo Varadkar to cut the Pandemic Unemployment Payment for part-time workers, saying the decision is based on a false assumption that those who were working part-time before being made redundant were doing so by choice.
Speaking on the matter, Workers’ Party representative Éilis Ryan said:
“Any part-time worker who is seeking full-time is entitled, in normal times, to claim unemployment benefit for the days they are not working. If they for some reason being fully unemployed, in normal times, they receive a full unemployment benefit.
“The reasoning behind this is that a majority of part-time workers are working part-time because they cannot find suitable full-time employment – they are, therefore, partially unemployed. There is no reason why this should not also be our assumption under the current, changed circumstances.”
“A company may have employed two people, one on a full-time contract, and one on a part-time contract hoping for more hours – i.e. partially unemployed. Both individuals may now be redundant, but, according to Fine Gael, one requires greater financial assistance from the state because they used to work full-time. This simply does not add up.”
“The reality is, that the PUP has exposed how totally unfamiliar with unemployment our Fine Gael bosses are. The €350 payment was chosen because standard unemployment benefit – rightly so – was regarded as too low to survive on, for the newly-unemployed.
“But if this is the case for a full-time worker, why not a part-time worker? Part-time work is some sort of hobby, taken up by those with wealthy spouses who they can fall back on when they lose their jobs. A part-time worker who becomes unemployed has precisely the same financial needs as a full-time worker. The PUP must be retained in full for all workers.”