SIPTU representatives have called on professional artists to avail of an expansion in the categories of those eligible to claim Jobseeker’s Allowance while they focus on their artistic work and to develop their portfolio.
SIPTU Services Division Organiser, Karan O Loughlin, said: “Visual artists and writers have this month been joined by artists such as screen writers, film directors and film actors in being able to claim Jobseeker’s Allowance under this scheme.
“Those eligible for the scheme also include those involved in the theatre art form, specifically actors, costume designers, theatre directors, set designers and stage designers. Musicians, dancers, choreographers, opera composers and circus and street performers complete the list of artistic disciplines who are now included in the scheme.”
She added: “This development should greatly benefit artists, many of whom are in precarious working positions and due to the nature of their work have periods when a lack of earnings is a serious problem. That the Government has recognised that specific and special measures are needed to assist these workers is positive.
“It should also mark a step forward on the path to recognition of the professional status and value of performing artists in Ireland. However, we also need a broader discussion about the working lives of artists and their capacity to have longevity and dignity in their careers. The way to truly value artists is to ensure they can make a secure living from their work and that means the development of a basic income scheme for them.”
In order to qualify for the scheme, professional artists must apply for and satisfy the qualifying conditions for Jobseeker’s Allowance including a means test. They must be unemployed, capable of, available for and actively seeking work.
Applicants are also required to provide a certificate/declaration from their professional body as to their status as a professional artist. They must be registered as self-employed with the Office of the Revenue Commissioners and at least 50% of their income should be derived from their art in the previous year. Participants on the scheme can, on a voluntary basis, continue to avail of the supports of the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection’s Public Employment Service.