Tynwald Members will be asked at January’s sitting to approve a further six-month delay to changes to rules around Employed Person’s Allowance (EPA).
The changes were approved by Tynwald in May 2019 and were due to come into effect in June 2020 before being postponed twice, with Tynwald approval, firstly to April 2021 and then to April 2022 due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The changes involve an increase in the minimum number of hours that some individuals and couples must work in order to qualify for EPA.
Treasury Minister David Ashford MHK said:
‘The world is a very different place to when these changes were approved in 2019, and the financial impact of the coronavirus pandemic is still of great concern to many in our community.
‘With this in mind, and the agreement of Tynwald, I’d like to press the pause button. If approved, a six-month delay will enable us to assess the position and consider the impact these changes may have on vulnerable working families.’
The changes mean that to qualify for EPA from 19 April 2022, or October 2022 if a six-month delay is approved:
- Lone parents whose youngest or only child is aged 13 or over must work at least 24 hours a week (currently 16 hours)
- Couples whose youngest or only child is aged 6 or over must work at least 48 hours a week (currently 30 hours), but they will be able to make up these hours in whatever combination they choose. For example, one partner could work 40 hours a week while the other partner works 8 hours a week, or they could both work 24 hours a week
- Couples whose youngest or only child is aged under 6 must work at least 35 hours a week (currently 30 hours), but they will be able to make up these hours in whatever combination they choose, like the example above.
There would be exceptions to the new minimum work requirements set out above where, for example, an adult or child in the family is sick, disabled, is at least six months pregnant or is receiving a bereavement support payment.
The Social Security Division of the Treasury is inviting customers who require more information regarding how the changes may affect them to contact the EPA team on 685092 or email EPA@gov.im
Employment Services (formerly referred to as the Job Centre) offers assistance with preparing for interviews, searching for jobs, writing a CV and updating training and skills. Anyone who would like help or advice should contact officers on 687014 or email firstname.lastname@example.org