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Recipients who earn more on pandemic payment than at work will be reviewed when it is extended past June 8

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Heather Humphreys. Picture: Steve Humphreys

Heather Humphreys. Picture: Steve Humphreys

Heather Humphreys. Picture: Steve Humphreys

The Pandemic Unemployment Payment (PUP) will be reviewed to address recipients who earn more from the payment than they would from their jobs.

The payment is to be extended past its expiration date of June 8, according to Business Minister Heather Humphreys.

Today, payments valued at €202.8m to nearly 580,000 people were issued, a reduction of 5,200 on last week.

Speaking on RTÉ Radio One’s Morning Ireland, she echoed the Taoiseach’s claims that it is not “fair” or “sustainable” that some recipients of the payment were making more money from the €350 weekly payment than their wages.

She said that this “anomaly” is due to the speed of the payment being put in place and that the payment will be reviewed to address issues before it is extended past June 8.

“It’s not fair and not sustainable that some people are earning more than before they were off work however when the PUP was introduced it was an urgent response to an unprecedented emergency,” she said.

“The payment provided families with immediate assistance following the overnight loss of hundreds of thousands of jobs.

“We’ve never claimed it was perfect but in situations like what we were presented with speed trumps perfection,” she added.

“It was due to expire on June 8 and because we’re only slowly reopening the country now it’s going to be extended and we will need to make some changes to it to deal with some of these anomalies and we’ll certainly be doing that.”

The minister said that the payment will continue to support people who are off work due to the pandemic but tackle issues such as some people who are refusing to go back to work due to earning more on the PUP.

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“We want the PUP to continue for those people who are off work due to the pandemic but in terms of the anomalies, we’ll certainly have to address those,” she said.

So far, around 156,000 people have contacted the Department to close their PUP. Last week, approx 44,000 people closed their claim for their payment and 35,600 of those reported that they were returning to work.

The sector with the most people returning to work is construction, with 12,700 workers back in work. 5,500 people have returned to work in retailers and 3,700 have returned to their jobs in the manufacturing sector.


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