Social insurance

Roll out of Jobseeker’s Benefit for the self-employed

Government approval

news reporter


news reporter


Roll out of Jobseeker’s Benefit for the self-employed

The Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection, Regina Doherty, TD, has published the Bill providing for a new social insurance scheme of Jobseeker’s Benefit for the self-employed. 

This new scheme will provide support to self-employed PRSI contributors who lose their businesses and are no longer engaged in self-employment.

Earlier this week the Minister received approval from Cabinet to publish and present to the Houses of the Oireachtas the text of the Social Welfare Bill 2019 which will introduce the new scheme of Jobseeker’s Benefit Self-Employed.

The Bill will be introduced as a priority in order to ensure that the new scheme will commence in November 2019.

Minister Doherty commented:

“When the economy crashed in 2008, many suffered. Self-employed traders such as plumbers, electricians and painters all around the country suddenly found themselves with no work and with very little support from the State. This Bill seeks to rectify that situation and create more fairness in our system of supports for those who actually create employment.

“Jobseeker’s Benefit for the self-employed will provide a social insurance support to self-employed contributors who lose their businesses and, hopefully, provide them with the breathing space and support they need as they re-assess their next steps.

“This measure is very much in keeping with this Government's policy of supporting self-employment and entrepreneurship and builds on other significant improvements for the self-employed in recent years, such as access to Invalidity Pension and Treatment Benefits.”

Many of the features of the existing Jobseeker’s Benefit available to employees will apply to the new scheme. These include:

  • Duration – it will be paid for 9 months to people with 260 or more PRSI contributions and 6 months to those with fewer than 260 PRSI contributions on their social insurance record;
  • Rates of payment will also be the same as those paid to employees receiving Jobseeker’s Benefit - currently €203 personal rate per week. Payments, including increases for qualified adults and children will also be made in line with that in place for the existing Jobseekers Benefit;
  • Payments will be subject to tax, in line with the current Jobseeker’s Benefit scheme for employees. 

A self-employed person who loses their self-employment will have to satisfy the qualifying conditions for the new scheme including satisfying a PRSI contribution requirement.

They will have access to the full range of activation supports available to all jobseekers such as referral to group information sessions, one to one interviews with caseworkers and subsequent caseworker support.

It is estimated that the cost of the new scheme will be approximately €2 million this year. It is expected to be in the region of €31 million in 2010 - the first full year of operation.