Thursday, 3 June 2021
Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment
58. To ask the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment the extent to which job replacement or restoration throughout the construction sector has been or is being realised; if any further steps are necessary; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [30162/21]
The construction sector was negatively impacted following the introduction of restrictions late last year. The number of individuals from the construction sector claiming the Pandemic Unemployment Payment (PUP) rose steadily in the early weeks of the year and reached a high of 62,902 claimants on the 9th February this year.
The phased reopening of the construction sector, beginning on 12th April with the recommencement of all residential construction projects, saw a sizeable decline in the number of PUP claimants. The full reopening of all construction on 4th May saw further improvements and the number of PUP claimants from the construction sector has now more than halved, with only 28,758 claims related to the construction sector on the 25th May.
This shows that more and more construction workers have seen their jobs restored as the sector re-opens.
A further support for the construction sector that has helped maintain employment has been the Employee Wage Subsidy Scheme (EWSS). As was the case with PUP, the number of employees in the construction sector that were supported by the EWSS increased sharply in January 2021.
This vital scheme continues to provide valuable financial assistance to employers and has helped ensure employees remain within the sector, with almost 37,600 employees participating in April 2021.
There are also steps being taken to ensure the skills and employment levels required by the construction sector are in place for the future. These are being delivered across Further and Higher Education, through apprenticeship, non-apprenticeship further education and training, mainstream education and training, as well as specific programmes such as Springboard+, the Human Capital Initiative and Skillnet Ireland.