Pandemic Unemployment Payment to remain open for new applicants until end of 2020

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Changes to payment rates will still go ahead as planned on 17 September.

THE GOVERNMENT HAS said the Pandemic Unemployment Payment (PUP) will be open to new applicants until the end of the year.

A decision had been taken as part of the July jobs stimulus to close PUP to new entrants from 17 September but today Minister for Social Protection Heather Humphreys said she had secured approval to extend this date until the end of the year. 

To date, over €3.5 billion has been paid out under PUP to hundreds of thousands of people who lost their jobs as a result of the pandemic. The extension means anyone who is laid off for a second time will still be able to avail of the payment.

“The PUP has been shown to be an extremely effective tool in responding to the economic impact of Covid-19 and in cushioning the population from sudden income shocks,” the minister said today.

“The government has agreed to my proposal to keep the scheme open to new applicants until the end of the year.

“With the continuing uncertainty posed by Covid-19, I believe keeping PUP open is a fair and appropriate course of action at this time.”

Changes to payment rates will still go ahead as planned on 17 September. From Thursday the Pandemic Unemployment Payment will move from 2 rates of payment to 3 rates.

The rate a recipient will receive will depend on the amount they previously earned:

  • If they earned over €300 per week – they will now receive €300 per week.
  • If they earned between €200 and €300 per week – the rate will now be €250 per week; and
  • If they earned less than €200 per week – the rate will be €203 per week (there is no change to this rate).

Recipients of the Pandemic Unemployment Payment will see the impact of these changes in their bank accounts on 22 September.

The minister also announced today that redundancy provisions relating to temporary lay-offs and short-time work will be extended until 30 November.

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Minister Humphreys acknowledged that the decision will be met with competing views but added that it is necessary in order to protect businesses and prevent permanent job losses.

“Today’s decision to extend these provisions was a difficult one. But in making this decision, we had to consider the need to ensure businesses survive and that permanent job losses are avoided as much as possible,” she said.

“I know many employees who have been laid off are experiencing great uncertainty. It’s important to note that the right to claim redundancy has not been permanently removed. Employees who remain on lay-off or short-time work for the requisite period when this emergency measure expires will be entitled to exercise their right to claim redundancy from their employer.”

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