Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has confirmed the €350 per week pandemic unemployment payment will be reduced for part-time workers.
However, Mr Varadkar said this set of workers will still be earning more than they were before the Covid-19 pandemic.
The Taoiseach’s comments come after the Irish Independent today revealed the €350-per-week payment will be cut to €203 in line with the jobseeker's allowance paid to the unemployed.
Speaking in the Dáil, Mr Varadkar said the payment will be extended for weeks rather than months for those who lost their job due to the coronavirus.
“Nobody who was working full time before the pandemic will see their unemployment payment cut, it will stay at €350 a week for those who are working full time prior to the pandemic hitting,” he said.
“Some people who were working part time will see their payments reduced, but their weekly payment will still be more than they were earning on a weekly basis, before the pandemic,” he added.
Meanwhile, the payment for full-time workers will be phased out over time under plans being brought to Cabinet this week by Social Protection Minister Regina Doherty.
The pandemic payment is due to expire next Monday, but the Government has signalled it will be extending the emergency scheme to assist those who lost their jobs due to Covid-19 restrictions.
However, it is understood they will soon begin the process of unwinding the payment, which is costing around €200m a week.
Part-time workers are first in line to see their payment reduced by almost 40pc, to €203 a week.
This will be followed by the phasing out of the payment for full-time employees as more people return to work in the coming months.
The Government is bracing itself for a backlash over the plan, with Opposition TDs expected to criticise any attempt to reduce the payment for those who lost their jobs due to the pandemic.
"There will be war about this, but we have to do it," a senior Government source said.
There have already been clashes in the Dáil between the Government and Opposition over the extension of the payment. Sinn Féin has said the payment should stay in place until the end of the year.
There are currently 543,200 people claiming the Covid-19 pandemic unemployment payment of €350 a week.
A Department of Business report recently showed almost 200,000 people are earning more on the pandemic payment than they did when they were working.
Yesterday, Central Statistics Office figures showed unemployment had dropped slightly last month, to 26.1pc.
However, there are still record numbers of unemployed people.
Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe said the Government was reviewing new figures on the number of people on the scheme who are now returning to work and this will inform their decision on the payment.
Mr Donohoe said he intends to "signal to our economy" how long the payment will last and what changes will be made over the coming months.
He said the payment will be continued, but said they have identified "some issues".
Separately, Mr Donohoe said the wage subsidy scheme will "not be disappearing overnight".
A total of 57,800 employers have registered for the temporary wage subsidy scheme and more than 508,100 workers have received a subsidy.
Under the scheme, the Government subsidises an employee's wage by up to 85pc if their net weekly pay is below €412 per week.
They will pay 75pc if their pay is under €586 a week.
Mr Donohoe said any decision on the scheme will be focused on unwinding the payment over time, while also ensuring jobs can be secured.
The minister said he plans to give "guidance" on the pandemic payment and the wage subsidy scheme.
"In a few weeks' time, we will be able to understand how companies who are on the scheme change their employment and their wage levels as their part of the economy reopens," he said.
"We don't have that information at the moment.
"When we have that information through, it will guide us regarding decisions that I make on the rest of the wage subsidy scheme," he added.
He said the scheme "cannot be sustained forever", but said the payment is having a "very valuable" impact at present.
When I envisaged 2020, I saw my first summer living in Dublin away from my parents consisting of fun, beers and boys. Instead, I've found myself moving back in with them, living in a box room and waving at my friends from a two-metre distance.