Professional Artists on Jobseeker’s Allowance

Where
Ireland
When
2020
Who
Department of Social Protection
Describe the main features of the policy/measure: 

In 2019, the Government announced the extension, on a permanent basis, of a pilot social welfare scheme to self-employed artists including those working in the performing arts, film and architecture. The expanded scheme recognises the unique creative circumstances of artists in receipt of Jobseeker's Allowance. From September 2019, self-employed artists in receipt of Jobseeker's Allowance for the first year they are out of work will now be able to focus on their artistic efforts and develop their portfolio, rather than having to participate in the normal labour market to make ends meet. This scheme was designed to make it easier for writers and artists to access Jobseeker's Allowance during times when their incomes are low and to provide support to develop income opportunities. This new professional status is a real and symbolic recognition of the status of professional artists in Ireland and recognises their contribution to Irish culture within the state support systems. Artists eligible to apply include actors, theatre and film directors, dancers, opera singers, set, costume and lighting designers, musicians, composers, choreographers, architects and street performers.

What are the results achieved so far through the implementation of the policy/measure?: 

The review of the pilot scheme (which had a more limited eligibility criteria) revealed that over 100 artists and writers availed of the scheme. Analysis showed that the vast majority of the artists on the pilot, (over 87%) who subsequently exited from the Jobseekers Allowance scheme do so within the first year.
Feedback from the organisations representing visual artists and writers was positive. It was clear to them that the State recognises the vital contribution professional artists make to Irish society but also understands the economic hardships many artists face as periods of unemployment can be a typical feature for them as they try to build up their work.
As a result of the review findings it was decided that the scheme will be established as a permanent scheme in its own right and will include other professional artistic disciplines. The derogation from activation for the first 12 months will help the artists to exit Jobseekers Allowance having had the opportunity to grow their self-employment in their artistic field.

Partner(s) engaged in the implementation of the measure: 
Name of partnerType of entity
Department of Social Protection
Public Sector
Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media
Public Sector
Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation
Public Sector
Visual Arts Ireland
Civil Society Organization (CSO)
Actors Equity/SIPTU
Civil Society Organization (CSO)
Irish Writers Centre
Civil Society Organization (CSO)
Musicians Union of Ireland/SIPTU
Civil Society Organization (CSO)
Dance Ireland
Writers Guild of Ireland
Civil Society Organization (CSO)
Screen Directors Guild of Ireland
Civil Society Organization (CSO)
Irish Street Arts, Circus & Spectacle Network
Civil Society Organization (CSO)
Goal(s) of UNESCO's 2005 Convention
Cultural Domain(s)
Multi-domain