Number of people claiming PUP drops to lowest since December
Decrease of nearly 25,000 people receiving payment compared with last week
The accommodation and food service sector sees the largest decrease in the number of people receiving the PUP this week after the hospitality industry reopened. Photograph: Tom Honan
The number of people receiving the Pandemic Unemployment Payment (PUP) is at its lowest since December 2020, with the number of claimants falling below 300,000 for the first time this year.
The Department of Social Protection paid out €84.3 million to 285,265 people on Tuesday. This represented a decrease of 24,250 people when compared with last week.
At the height of the pandemic, in the week beginning May 4th, 2020, some 602,100 people availed of the PUP.
The accommodation and food service sector saw the largest decrease in the number of people receiving the PUP this week. However, because PUP is paid two weeks in arrears, the figures do not yet reflect the reopening of hospitality over the past week.
The sector had 84,787 claimants, some 5,339 fewer people receiving the payment compared with last week. When the number of people claiming PUP was at its highest back in May 2020, 131,230 employees from this sector availed of the payment.
Wholesale and retail trade is the second worst-affected sector, with 41,695 people availing of the PUP. There was also a decrease of 4,739 people receiving the payment in this sector compared with last week.
Some 27,245 people from the administrative and support service sector also availed of the payment this week.
There has also been a notable decrease in the number of PUP claimants who work in the hairdressing and beauty sector. In May 2020, 39,090 people from this sector received the PUP. This week, the number reduced to 14,024.
The payment week for PUP runs from Friday to Thursday and payments are paid on the following Tuesday. Individuals who closed their PUP on Monday, June 7th, such as those who returned to work when pubs and restaurants opened for outdoor service, will receive their final payment on Tuesday, June 15th.
This week, the sector with the largest number of employees closing their PUP claim to return to work is the accommodation and food service sector, with 5,016 people closing their claim.
The construction sector saw 2,416 people close their claim, and wholesale and retail trade had 2,284 employees return to work.
Self-employed people who run their own business can also now earn €960 over an eight-week period while retaining their full PUP entitlement. There is no formal application process, and a self-employed person just needs to inform the Department if they earn more than €960 in any eight-week period.
The €1,000 Enterprise Support Grant will remain in place for self-employed people who close their PUP payment. Those who claimed the grant in 2020 but who found themselves back on the PUP in 2021 will be able to access the grant for a second time.
The figures published on Wednesday are in addition to the 171,699 people who were on the Live Register at the end of May.
Dublin is the county with the highest number of people receiving PUP this week, with 97,189 people availing of the emergency payment.
Cork has 27,108 people on the PUP and Galway has 15,684.