Ireland

Going overseas against travel advice will cost claimants Jobseekers or PUP payments

PEOPLE WHO LEAVE the island despite the advice against non-essential travel will not be paid Jobseeker’s Benefit or the Pandemic Unemployment Payment (PUP) for the duration of their trip and for the quarantine period thereafter. 

The Department of Social Protection confirmed the stance this week after it updated its holiday procedures to take account of the travel guidelines. 

The consequence was first reported by the Irish Daily Star and the department also provided TheJournal.ie with the same guidance. 

Under normal circumstances, claimants availing of Jobseeker’s Allowance or Jobseeker’s Benefit can go on holiday for a maximum of two weeks and receive the two weeks payment on their return.

The department has said however that, given the advice against non-essential travel, this does not currently apply for these benefits or the PUP. 

“The current general Covid-19 travel advice advises against all non-essential travel overseas until further notice. It is recommended that people should only travel for essential purposes and they are required to self-isolate for a further 14 days following a return from abroad,” a department spokesperson said. 

In line with this advice, the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection has recently updated the holiday procedures for Jobseekers, Supplementary Welfare Allowance and Pandemic Unemployment Payment schemes. On a temporary basis and as a consequence of the continuing Covid-19 pandemic, someone in receipt of one of these payments who travels abroad will not be entitled to a payment for that period and for the 14 day quarantine period on their return.

Explaining the removal of the payment for the two-week period after people return home, the department states that one of the conditions for receiving the payments is that claimants must be genuinely seeking work. 

“Given the requirement to self-isolate for two weeks on return from a holiday abroad, a person would be unable to fulfil the genuinely seeking work criteria,” the department states. 

The department said in addition that exceptions to this rule will be made for people who are required to travel “for urgent family reasons”, such a serious illness. 

Holidays within the Republic of Ireland or in Northern Ireland are allowed without consequence. 

‘Air bridges’

Despite the official advice against travelling, a European ‘green list’ of countries is currently being compiled. It’s planned this will contain a list of countries people can travel to without having to quarantine for 14 days upon arrival back in Ireland.

While this list was expected to be published this week, Cabinet yesterday agreed that this would be pushed back until later this month. 

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Should this happen it is likely that the normal flexibility around payments when holidaying outside the state would apply. 

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