Leo Varadkar promises to extend dole to self-employed in next budget

Minister Varadkar says the Government is "committed to do something to help the self-employed"

Leo Varadkar promises to extend dole to self-employed in next budget

Image: RollingNews.ie

The Social Protection Minister is promising to extend State benefits to the self-employed in Budget 2018.

It follows steps to improve entitlements for the self employed, after they got access to treatment benefits and invalidity pensions for the first time this month.

Writing in the Irish Independent, Leo Varadkar says: "Throughout 2017, my Department will also do detailed work on Jobseekers Benefit and how we might provide a better safety net for self-employed people whose businesses fail, hopefully for the next Budget."

An estimated 350,000 people are self employed across the country, and Minister Varadkar says it is important they are supported.

Speaking to Pat Kenny, Minister Varadkar explained: "Unlike normal employees, you don't have the kind of protections or the kind of rights that other people have.

"It's very hard to take a sick day because there's lost income. It's very hard to take holidays, because not only do you lose income, you have to get someone to cover for you."

He said the group of self-employed group is very diverse - including the likes of tradesmen, professionals, farmers and taxi drivers.

"As a Government we've been committed to do something to help the self-employed - to give them more income, to give them more social protections, and also to encourage more people into self-employment and entrepreneurship," Minister Varadkar said.

"Most importantly on the social protection side, we're starting to introduce additional benefits that you get in return for paying your PRSI at class S. That includes things like treatment benefit coming in next year, but also really importantly invalidity pension and occupational injuries benefit," he added.