Thursday, 7 October 2021
Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection
Covid-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment
43. To ask the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection if she will reconsider the deadline for moving those in receipt of €203 on the pandemic unemployment payment to the jobseeker’s payment specifically for those in industries that have not yet fully opened such as the live entertainment sector until such a time when employment opportunities are readily available; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [48521/21]
The Pandemic Unemployment Payment (PUP) was introduced in March 2020 to support employees and the self employed who lost employment due to Covid-19. Expenditure on the scheme is over €8.7 billion.
With the gradual lifting of restrictions, the number of customers receiving PUP has dropped significantly by some 80% from 481,000 in February to over 101,400 this week. It is important in the interests of equity and sustainability to gradually restore standard social welfare terms.
In line with the Government’s Economic Recovery Plan, the PUP is gradually changing using a tapered and considered approach over a 6 month period from September 2021 until February 2022 to align it with standard jobseeker’s payments. Changes in the rate of payment were introduced in mid-September with further changes to place from 16th November 2021 and 8th February 2022. As PUP customers go on to the €203 rate, they will be transitioned to standard jobseeker terms.
The process of moving from the lower €203 rate of PUP to a jobseeker’s payment was due to begin in early September. I have deferred this process until after all sectors have started to re-open in line with "Reframing the Challenge, Continuing Our Recovery and Reconnecting". This means that affected customers, including those in the live entertainment sector, will continue to receive their PUP payment until 26th October when the process of their transition to a jobseeker’s payment will begin. The Department has written to all affected customers to outline the details of the transition and the options that will be available to them.
I trust that this clarifies the position.