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Numbers on Pandemic Unemployment Payment fall as economy picks up pace

The number of people receiving the Covid-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment has fallen from 439,000 last week to 412,900.

This marks a decline of 26,100 over the last seven days, according to the latest figures from the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection.

However, 63,000 PUP recipients have closed their claims in the last seven days – the largest such figure since the crisis began.

When a time lag for closing claims is factored in, this signals that the PUP figures are set to fall even further over the coming weeks. 

44,800 of this week’s recipients will receive their last payment tomorrow as they are returning to work.  

However as new “two-tier” rules take effect, over 110,400 PUP claimants who were earning less than €200 a week gross before the €350 a week PUP was introduced on March 16 will tomorrow see their weekly welfare payment fall to €203.

This is equivalent to Jobseekers Benefit.  

The Department stressed that while these recipients will lose €147 a week, they will still be receiving more than their pre-Covid earnings – and that all claimants who earned more than €200 remain eligible for the full €350 PUP support. 

In addition to those still claiming the PUP as of the end of June, a further 220,900 people are on the Live Register.

This means that 633,700 people remain totally dependent on the state for income support.  

A further 410,000 workers are having their incomes subsidised by the state under the Temporary Wage Subsidy Scheme.  

When all three categories are combined, 1,043,700 people remain fully or partly dependent on the state for income support. 

The Minister for Social Protection, Community and Rural Development and the Islands Heather Humphreys said that while the PUP continues to provide financial support to almost 413,000 out of work due to the coronavirus, today’s figures indicate that the re-opening of the economy is “picking up pace”. 

She described the fact that 63,000 people had closed their claims in the last week alone as “very encouraging”, noting that with Phase 3 of the Re-Opening Ireland Roadmap underway, an increasing number of businesses are now beginning to start back again.  

“In the last week we have seen the highest number of people return to work in a single week since the crisis commenced,” she said. 

“The Government has set employment recovery as its top priority and my Department and I will work hard to help everybody who lost their jobs due to Covid-19 take advantage of the jobs stimulus package to be announced later in the month and to get back into work without delay,” the Minister said. 

The top three sectors in which employees are returning to their workplaces are Accommodation and Food Services, “Other Sectors” (including hairdressers and barbers), Wholesale and Retail Trade/Repair of MOtor Vehicles and Construction.  

The largest age cohort getting back to work are aged 35-44. 

Today’s Department’s latest figures also reveal that to date, 52,000 people aged up to 66 have been medically certified to receive the Covid-19 Enhanced Illness Benefit of €350 per week. 

Of those just over 7% (3,709) had actually contracted the virus, while the remaining 93% (48,244) were acting on medical advice to not attend work on a precautionary basis.  

Since the beginning of June, 104 people were medically certified as having the virus, while a further 946 were medically certified to self-isolate on a precautionary basis. 

893 people are currently receiving a Covid-19 related Illness Benefit payment. 

The sectors with the highest number of employees certified to receive the Enhanced Illness Benefit are Human Health/Social Work (11,700), Wholesale and Retail Trade (11,000), and Manufacturing (7,000).

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