Minister Heather Humphreys

PUP will remain open to new applicants until March 31

The Pandemic Unemployment Payment (PUP) will remain open to applicants until March 31, 2021.

Social Protection Minister, Heather Humphreys, secured Government approval today (Tuesday) to extend the scheme for new applicants until the end of the first quarter of next year.

To date, over €4.3 billion has been paid out in PUP payments to hundreds of thousands of people who lost their jobs as a result of the Pandemic.

The scheme was due to close to new applicants on December 31, at the end of this year.

However, the extension of the will ensure workers can still access the PUP in January in the event that their employment ceases after Christmas.

Commenting on the extension, Minister Humphreys said: “We are providing certainty to employees who may be returning to work in the run-up to the Christmas period.

"I have listened to the retail and hospitality sector and I know they have had concerns that closing PUP to new entrants on December 31, as originally planned, would act as disincentive to take up work."

She added: “Workers can be re-assured that, if they have to re-apply for PUP in January, February or March, they will have an entitlement to the payment.

She's hopeful the extension will encourage some people to access seasonal work at least.

“This extension will help mitigate the risk that employees might think they would encounter were they to take up work in the lead-in to Christmas. It’s about giving employees some peace of mind,” said the Cavan Monaghan TD.

Extension of the waiver on waiting days for jobseeker’s payments

Minister Humphreys also secured Government approval to extend the waiver on waiting days for Jobseeker payments until the end of March 2021.

Ordinarily, when a person makes an application for jobseeker’s benefit or allowance, payment is not made for the first three days of unemployment – these are called 'waiting days’. These waiting days will continue to be waived on applications for Jobseeker’s payments until March 31.

“In line with keeping the PUP scheme open for applications, I am also extending the waiver on the waiting days for jobseeker’s payments. This will ensure that individuals who get temporary work between now and the end of March, and who lose their job can claim a jobseeker’s payment and receive their income support immediately,” said Minister Humphreys.