More than 63,000 end claims for Covid unemployment payment

Humphreys says last week saw largest number of people returning to work since crisis began

Minister for Social Protection Heather Humphreys:  said last week had seen the highest number of people returning to work since the Covid-19 crisis began in March. Photograph: Dara Mac Donaill

Minister for Social Protection Heather Humphreys: said last week had seen the highest number of people returning to work since the Covid-19 crisis began in March. Photograph: Dara Mac Donaill

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About 63,000 people have closed their claim for the Government’s Pandemic Unemployment Payment in the last week.

Minister for Social Protection Heather Humphreys said last week had seen the highest number of people returning to work since the Covid-19 crisis began in March.

The Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection said 412,900 people would this week receive the Covid-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment. It said this represented a decrease of 26,100 on the figures for last week.

“Since last week’s payment, 63,000 people have closed their claim for a Pandemic Unemployment Payment. Some 44,800 will be receiving their final payment tomorrow with the reduction in numbers receiving the payment being reflected in next week’s figures.”

The department said the main areas in which employees were returning to work this week were accommodation and food services, sectors such as. hairdressing and barbers and wholesale and retail trade, motor vehicle repair as well as construction.

The largest cohort returning to work are aged 35 to 44.

In addition to those receiving the pandemic unemployment payment there are also an estimated 410,000 people working for about 63,000 employers having their pay supported by the Government’s separate Temporary Covid-19 Wage Subsidy Scheme.

There were also 220,800 people on the Live Register as of the end of June.

The standard €350 pandemic unemployment payment will be re-structured this week with a two-tier system being put in place.

About 110,400 people, or 25 per cent of those receiving a payment this week, will receive a new lower amount of €203.

The Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection said the majority of people (75 per cent ) will continue to receive the €350 rate of payment.

”Employees whose average weekly earnings in 2019 or January and February 2020 (whichever is the higher) were less than €200 gross will receive a weekly Pandemic Unemployment Payment of €203 a week. This equates to the standard jobseeker rate of payment and as it is higher than the person’s prior earnings will still mean that people, who receive €203 per week, are in receipt of a higher income than they had prior to being laid-off due to Covid-19.

“Employees with average earnings of €200 or more a week will continue to receive €350 Pandemic Unemployment Payment. Three out of four recipients will continue to receive €350 per week. The payment to self-employed people has been assessed based on their 2018 returns to the Revenue Commissioners (Returns for 2019 are not due until later in 2020).”

Ms Humphrey said the new figures showed that the re-opening of the economy was picking up pace.

“Some 63,000 people closed their claim in the last week alone which is very encouraging. With Phase 3 of 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.”

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