Pandemic unemployment payment

Sir, – With the greatest respect to ivory tower academics at the University of Exeter, a significant number of staff who work in the hospitality industry are part time. Either they work mornings or afternoons in cafés or do evening shifts at restaurants. This allows flexibility for childcare in a couple or full-time study, etc. So rather than calculate the €350 pandemic unemployment payment over a 40-hour week, as Aidan Power has done (Letters, September 6th), we in the industry are competing with €350 for a 20-hour week, and that's €17 per hour. A recent part-time job ad I placed on offering over the minimum wage received 21 applications (half from 16-year-olds) compared to a typical response of 175 to 220 for previous ads pre-pandemic.

I’m not sure what Mr Power’s role is at the University of Exeter but I’m sure it’s not running the college canteen. – Yours, etc,


Café Owner,


Portobello, Dublin 8.