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Minister signals 'changes' to pandemic payment as 64,000 are back at work

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Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection Regina Doherty (Steve Humphreys/PA)

Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection Regina Doherty (Steve Humphreys/PA)

Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection Regina Doherty (Steve Humphreys/PA)

CHANGES to the pandemic unemployment payment will be tabled by the government shortly as it was revealed that 64,000 people have returned to work since the reopening began.

Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection, Regina Doherty, said today that the nature of the payment needs to be reviewed although it will be extended beyond its expiry date next Tuesday.

She said the government needs to examine how the payment fits into its plans to keep Ireland healthy and get the country working again.

“We are currently considering this and will soon bring forward proposals for some changes,” she said.

“Any future decisions will be based on our commitment that everyone who needs help will get the most appropriate assistance and also based on the ongoing progress we experience from the reopening of the economy.”

She said peak demand for the payment has passed in parallel with the flattening of the Covid-19 curve and each week will seen an incremental drop on the numbers in need of assistance if this progress continues.

New figures released by her department today show:

  • There are 543,200 people claiming the Covid-19 pandemic unemployment payment of €350 a week.
  • Among the recipients are 28,400 people who have informed the department that they are returning to work. Of these, 20,100 will get their last payment his week.
  • There are also 214,700 people on standard unemployment payments.
  • The number of people claiming the Covid-19 pandemic unemployment payment has fallen by 36,200 since last week.

  • A total of 57,800 employers have registered for a separate temporary wage subsidy scheme and over 508,100 workers have received a subsidy.
  • The main sectors in which people are returning to work are construction (9,900 workers back at work), wholesale, retail and vehicle repair (4,300 back at work), while 2,800 have returned to work in manufacturing.
  • Since Phase One of the Government’s Roadmap for the Reopening of Society and Business, some 64,000 employees are back in work.
  • There are 47,800 people in receipt of the Covid-19 enhanced Illness Benefit and most of them have been advised by their GP to self-isolate.

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