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Top rate of Pandemic Unemployment Payment to go to back to €350 as country prepares for Level 5 restrictions

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Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe (Brian Lawless/PA)

Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe (Brian Lawless/PA)

Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe (Brian Lawless/PA)

The Pandemic Unemployment Payment (PUP) will increase to €350 a week for anyone who was earning more than €400 before they lost their job due to Covid-19 restrictions.

The Government has decided to overhaul the welfare benefit to coincide with new restrictions being announced to stop the spread the virus.

Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe, Public Expenditures Minister Michael McGrath and Social Protection Heather Humphreys brought a joint memo to Cabinet outlining proposed changes to the PUP

The move will see an additional payment rate added to the existing scheme.

At present, anyone earning less than €200 before the Covid-19 pandemic are paid €203 a week, those who earned between €200 and €300 gets €250 a week and those paid more than €300 gets €300.

The revised scheme will add a new rate which will see anyone who was earning more than €400 a week before they lost their job due to Government restrictions paid €350 a week.

Existing recipients of PUP who were earning more than €400 will also see their payment automatically increase to €350.

Meanwhile, the Government’s Employment Wage Subsidy Scheme (EWSS) is also to get a major overhaul to correspond with plans to introduce more severe Covid-19 restrictions.

The scheme, which was announced as part of the July Stimulus Package, allows employers and new businesses whose turnover has fallen 30pc due to the coronavirus claim a flat rate subsidy based on the number of their employees.

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Under the existing scheme there are two different rates of payment but this will be expanded to four in the revamped EWSS which was designed by Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe.

The subsidy paid to employers is based on the gross income of their employees.

At present, for every employee paid between €203 and €1,462 gross per week, the subsidy is €203 while for every employee paid between €151.50 and €202.99 it is €151.50.

Under the new scheme there will be four rates with €203 paid for every employee earning between €151 and €203 a week; €250 for those paid between €204 and €300; €300 for those paid between €300 and €400 and €350 for those earning between €400 and €1,462

A source said “the objective is to retain as many staff as possible in employment during the increased restrictions”

This new scheme will run to the end of January 2021.

Separately, the Covid-19 Restrictions Support Scheme (CRSS) will provide businesses with up to €5,000 week if they have been forced to close due to coronavirus restrictions.

The scheme was announced on Budget Day and will run until the end of March next year.

Businesses can apply to the Revenue for cash payments under the scheme.

The payments will be calculated on the basis of 10pc of the first €1m in turnover and 5pc thereafter, based on average VAT exclusive turnover for 2019.

For businesses under restriction which continue to trade, to qualify, turnover must not exceed 20pc of 2019 turnover.

Visit our Covid-19 vaccine dashboard for updates on the roll out of the vaccination program and the rate of Coronavirus cases Ireland


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