Flac welcome Minister’s announcement allowing those on Covid Payment and Jobseekers allowance to travel to green list countries.
29 July 2020
FLAC Chief Executive Eilis Barry said this afternoon “We at FLAC very much welcome Minister Humphrey’s announcement that she will sign a regulation that will allow people receiving the pandemic unemployment payment and job seekers allowance to travel on this matter. Following timely work by our legal team, headed up by Sinead Lucey, we had only yesterday written to the Minister outlining our concerns regarding the legal basis for the practice of sanctioning Covid Pandemic Payment claimants who were travelling abroad. It’s reassuring to hear that the Minister has heard the concerns raised by FLAC and others.”
FLAC particularly welcomed the announcement to review all cases to date where people who went on holiday had their payment stopped.
Ms Eilis Barry stated, “Although FLAC welcomes this announcement we have some concerns around the proposed legislation. FLAC’s legal team has been reviewing the proposed Bill today which is being rushed through the legislative process. There still needs to be clarity in relation to jobseekers allowance as referred to by the Minister in her statement to the Dáil and whether those who are self-isolating, for whatever reason, may have their payment cut as the Departmental Circular indicates that those who are self-isolating may not be genuinely seeking employment.”
FLAC Managing Solicitor, Sinead Lucey stated,
“FLAC’s other concerns are the introduction of the requirement to be genuinely seeking work for those on the Covid PUP. This is inconsistent with the idea that the payment was intended for people who had been temporarily laid off. It may also disproportionately affect those with no child care during the pandemic and small business owners.
“Further, it may force people to forego statutory redundancy payments that they are owed by their original employers, if they subsequently take up employment elsewhere.
FLAC has been receiving many calls on this issue and one of the key problems is that people are not aware of their rights and obligations regarding Social Welfare supports during Covid-19.
Notes to Editor
1. FLAC (Free Legal Advice Centres) is an Irish human rights organisation, which exists to promote equal access to justice. As an NGO, FLAC relies on a combination of statutory funding, contributions from the legal professions and donations from individuals and grant-making foundations to support its work.
2. FLAC offers basic legal information through its telephone information line (1890 350 250). Free legal advice is available from volunteer lawyers through a countrywide network of advice clinics (these clinics are currently conducted over the phone) – more at www.flac.ie/help/. FLAC provides legal representation in a small number of cases in the public interest. FLAC provides legal advice directly to members of both the Roma Community and The Irish Traveller Community via specialist legal clinics. FLAC engages in policy work in areas of law that most impact on disadvantaged groups and including consumer credit, personal debt, and fairness in social welfare law, public interest law and civil legal aid. It operates the public interest law project PILA.
3. FLAC Note re Social Welfare (Covid-19) (Amendment) Bill 2020 https://www.flac.ie/publications/flac-note-re-social-welfare-covid19-amendment-bill/
4. FLAC sent a letter, on 28 July 2020, to Minister Humphreys detailing our concerns with the sanctions placed on Social Welfare Recipients travelling abroad. This letter is available on our website at https://www.flac.ie/publications/flac-letter-to-minister-humphreys/
5. The note of our legal team’s advices re Circular 35 20 is available online at https://www.flac.ie/publications/flac-note-re-circular-35-20/