Further 51,700 to get pandemic payment this week after Level 5 move

Almost 300,000 claimants to receive payment this week, at a cost in excess of €85.6m

Self-employed people on the Pandemic Unemployment Payment can earn up to €480 per month while retaining full entitlement to the payment. File photograph: Getty

Self-employed people on the Pandemic Unemployment Payment can earn up to €480 per month while retaining full entitlement to the payment. File photograph: Getty

 

An additional 51,700 people will receive the Pandemic Unemployment Payment this week.

The development is a result of the country moving to Level 5 of the Government’s Covid-19 roadmap. Figures from the Department of Social Protection show that 295,860 people will receive the payment this week, at a total cost of €85.6 million, an increase of more than €20 million from last week.

The figures come following the Government’s decision last week to close all non-essential retail and to permit restaurants and bars to provide delivery or takeaway services.

The sector with the highest number of people receiving the payment this week is accommodation and food service (90,051), followed by wholesale and retail trade (43,432) and administrative and support service (25,656).

The group with the highest number of people receiving the payment is the under 25s at 74,479, followed by the 25- to 34-year-old cohort at 68,111.

The department stated that despite the increase in restrictions, about 3,000 people closed their Pandemic Unemployment Payment claims this week.

Minister for Social Protection Heather Humphreys said this week’s figures reflect the “economic impact” of the Level 5 restrictions.

“I know this has been a really difficult few days, particularly for those who have temporarily lost their jobs or whose businesses have had to close,” said Ms Humphreys.

“I know that people are worried about the next few weeks . . . but I also know that we have it in us to suppress this virus and protect lives.”

Ministerial plea

She called on the public to “redouble our efforts” in suppressing the virus this week.

“Limit our contacts, work remotely where possible and stay within 5km of our home for exercise. This is in our gift. We have shown before that we can get this virus back under control and allow our economy to reopen again.”

There are now four different rates of the payment, with the Cabinet agreeing to restore the maximum of €350 per week in light of the tighter restrictions.

From October 16th those who earned below €200 will receive €203 per week, people who earned between €200 to €299.99 will receive €250 per week, individuals with weekly earnings of between €300 to €399.99 will receive €300 per week and people who earned €400 or more will receive a rate of €350 per week.

Existing recipients of the payment who previously earned more than €400 gross have had their payment rate increased automatically and have received the higher figure of €350 this week, said the department.

About 40 per cent of payment claimants received the highest rate of pay this week (122,193). The lowest rate of pay had the second highest number of claimants at 67,026, followed by the second lowest rate of pay at 54,785.

Self-employed people on the payment, including those who work in the arts and entertainment industry, taxi drivers and others, can earn up to €480 per month, while retaining full entitlement to the payment.