Revealed: Extension and changes to COVID unemployment payments

The Pandemic Unemployment Payment has this afternoon been extended to at least Phase 5 of the Roadmap for Re-opening Society and Business – currently scheduled to begin on August 10.

However, from June 29, there will be changes in the payment for some part-time workers.

The Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection, Regina Doherty confirmed that a new two-level payment structure to link the Pandemic Unemployment Payment level to prior earnings will be introduced from that date.

The changes mean that for anyone whose whose prior employment earnings were €200 per week or higher (about 75% of recipients), the payment rate will remain at €350 per week.

For those whose prior employment earnings were up to €199.99 per week (about 25% of recipients), the PUP rate will be €203 per week - the primary rate of payment of the Jobseeker’s Benefit scheme

The Minister said no person on the lower rate of payment will receive less on PUP than they were previously paid by their employer.

Also announced today was the extension until until Phase 5 of the Roadmap, of the waiver of waiting days on jobseekers payments and the increased rate of payment for Qualified Adults on jobseeker claims.

And also extended until Phase 5 is the current arrangements with respect to the waiver of waiting days and the payment of an enhanced rate of Illness Benefit to people affected by Covid-19.

In announcing the extension the Minister said: “The Pandemic Unemployment Payment was the most effective and remarkable emergency response in the history of our nation’s social welfare system. In the space of days, we provided assistance to over 600,000 people who lost their income suddenly and without warning.

"At a time of great stress and worry about the health effects of Covid-19, the introduction of the payment helped reduce the extent to which this stress was compounded by worries related to financial concerns. In doing that it played a vital role in contributing to public support for the necessary public health measures including social distancing.

“This public support is now paying dividends and we can begin to roll back the restrictions and re-open our society – even at a faster pace than we thought was possible a number of weeks ago. However we cannot be complacent. Many people are still dependent on the Pandemic Unemployment Payment and will be for some time. We need to continue to support them. Today I am pleased to announce that the Pandemic Unemployment Payment will continue until at least Phase 5 of the Roadmap for Re-opening Society and Business – August 2020”

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