Press Release

SIPTU calls for increased support for artists unable to avail of Covid Unemployment Payment

Date Released: 14 April 2020

SIPTU and Irish Equity have written to the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, Josepha Madigan, calling for the Government to urgently increase the financial support for workers in the Arts sector who have been unable to avail of the COVID-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment (PUP).

SIPTU and Irish Equity Organiser, Karan O Loughlin, said: “Many artists in the PAYE sector are outside the eligibility criteria for the PUP. The fact that they were not working immediately before 13th March and were not made unemployed at that point disqualifies them.

“However, the reality is that many were due to start work very shortly after this date or over the course of the summer. This planned work has now disappeared as a direct result of the Covid-19 emergency. Among the artists in this situation are up to 100 performers in the cast of the RTE show, Fair City.

“Artists who are over 66 years of age are also precluded from claiming the PUP despite the fact that they work and perform regularly. It is clear therefore that the Government needs to do more for artists and Arts sector workers to ensure they have enough support to survive this crisis and return to work in their professions.”

She added: “We are calling on the Government to expand the scope of the current self-employed artist social protection scheme. The scheme should include all professional artists and arts workers whether PAYE or self-employed and its payment should be brought up to the level of the Covid-19 PUP.

“The EU Copyright Directive should also be implemented as this would be useful in creating additional income streams for performers and artists whose work is streamed online.”


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