Number of people receiving pandemic payment drops by 7,000

Accommodation and food service sector has highest number of recipients

Just under half (49 per cent) of those in receipt of PUP are receiving the maximum rate of €350 this week. Photograph: iStock

Just under half (49 per cent) of those in receipt of PUP are receiving the maximum rate of €350 this week. Photograph: iStock

 

The number of people receiving the pandemic unemployment payment (PUP) this week has decreased to 449,500.

The latest figures from the Department of Social Protection showed the number of people receiving the payment has reduced by 7,059 compared with last week.

The PUP payments for this week were valued at €134.23 million, the department said.

The figures are in addition to the 186,702 people who were on the Live Register at the end of February.

Dublin has the highest number of people receiving PUP this week at 143,056, followed by Cork (45,238) and Galway (24,186).

All sectors, with the exception of the professional, scientific and technical activities sector, had fewer people receiving the PUP this week, “reflecting the number of people who have closed their claims in recent weeks to return to work”, the department said.

The sector with the highest number of people receiving PUP this week is accommodation and food service activities (107,905), followed by wholesale and retail trade (72,009), and construction (55,584).

Construction is the sector that has seen the largest decrease in the number of people receiving PUP this week, with 1,685 fewer people receiving the payment compared with last week.

The wholesale and retail sector has seen the number of PUP recipients decrease from 73,070 last week to 72,009 this week, followed by the accommodation and food service activities sector, which has seen a reduction of 108,767 recipients last week to 107,905 this week.

Just under half (49 per cent) of those in receipt of PUP are receiving the maximum rate of €350 this week.

Closing claims

The past seven days saw 9,847 people close their PUP claims, with 8,534 of these stating that they were doing so because they were returning to work.

Dublin had the greatest number of people closing their claims to return to work (2,105), followed by Cork (888) and Galway (466).

The top three sectors with the largest number of employees closing their PUP to return to work were construction (1,781), wholesale and retail trade (1,253), and accommodation and food service activities sector (1,042).

Minister for Social Protection Heather Humphreys said the PUP continues to act as “vital support” for almost 450,000 people who lost their job as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.

“The Government will ensure that the PUP remains in place until June 30th and the quickest and easiest way to apply is via MyWelfare.ie,” she said.

“I am deeply conscious how difficult these restrictions are for all our citizens. People are continuing to make extraordinary sacrifices on behalf of their families, friends, colleagues and frontline workers.

“We have shown before as a country that by adhering to the public health guidelines we can get these virus numbers right back down.”

The department said it is continuing to remind workers who are returning to work that they must close their claim for the PUP on the date that they start back at work, “in order to ensure that their claim is processed correctly and to avoid incurring an overpayment that the department will take steps to recover”.