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21/10/2021

'Anomaly' sees older workers miss out on pandemic payment, says Kilkenny council chair

Some people have seen an increase in income due to the payment - others received nothing from the support

KILKENNY

Covid-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment: 'While I recognise the Temporary Wage Subsidy Scheme is open to those aged 66 and over, I don’t think there is any justification for excluding older people'

Workers over the age of 66 are losing out under the terms of the new Covid-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment, according to the Cathaoirleach of Kilkenny County Council Peter ‘Chap’ Cleere.

In many cases, these older workers were providing community spaces such as pubs, and have now found themselves missing out. Cllr Cleere says the scheme must be amended to correct ‘a number of anomalies’.

“While it was introduced in rapid time, and I commend the hard-working civil servants who made this possible, issues need to be addressed,” he says.

“This includes the fact the payment is only applicable to people aged between 18 and 66. I have been contacted by numerous people over the age of 66 who were working but have lost their jobs as a result of this pandemic. The fact that these workers have been excluded from receiving this payment is deeply unfair and has left older people in financial difficulty.

There are also reports of people who were working part-time - or one or two shifts - now earning substantially more income as a result of the pandemic payment. In some cases, they were employed by someone deemed ineligible for the payment.

“While I recognise the Temporary Wage Subsidy Scheme is open to those aged 66 and over, I don’t think there is any justification for excluding older people from the other main income support that has been established in response to the Covid-19 pandemic," says Cllr Cleere.

“I am therefore asking the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection to consider extending the Covid-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment to people over the age of 66.”

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