Number on pandemic unemployment payment increases by 34,000

Almost 333,000 recipients of PUP with €95.5 million in payments processed on Tuesday

The number of people receiving the Government's Pandemic Unemployment Payment (PUP) increased by more than 34,000 this week, according to the Department of Social Protection.

There are now almost 333,000 recipients, with €95.5 million in payments processed on Tuesday, compared to €85.6 million last week.

Applications for the scheme, which supports those who have lost their jobs due to the pandemic, have been extended until the end of the year.

Most payments this week went to those working in hard hit sectors – more than 98,000 recipients were employed in the accommodation and food services trades. Retail and area such as hair and beauty salons also feature highly.


The payments are also in addition to more than 210,000 people on the Live Register.

However, in the past seven days about 4,200 people stopped accepting the payment, over half of whom because they are returning to work.

Minister for Social Protection Heather Humphreys said the increasing numbers were an anticipated reflection of recent Level 5 restrictions.

“The fall in the number of cases of Covid-19 in recent days is encouraging. This is a credit to the Irish people and the sacrifices they are making in responding to the public health advice,” she said.

A newly remodelled PUP system pays out on four rates ranging from €203 to €350 per week depending on what the individual was earning before losing their job.

New regulations mean that those who were employed before last February, but whose earnings were reduced since then, can still have their PUP payment rate based on earlier, higher earnings, the Department said.

Self-employed people can also continue to earn up to €480 per month while also in receipt of PUP, take up the Part-Time Job Incentive Scheme or avail of standard jobseeker payments.

Mark Hilliard

Mark Hilliard

Mark Hilliard is a reporter with The Irish Times