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Covid-19 unemployment payment to be cut for those who earned less pre-pandemic

The changes mean part-time workers or those who were earning less than 200 euro a week before the outbreak will see their payment cut to 203 euro.

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Paschal Donohoe announced the changes (Leon Farrell/Photocall Ireland/PA)

Paschal Donohoe announced the changes (Leon Farrell/Photocall Ireland/PA)

Paschal Donohoe announced the changes (Leon Farrell/Photocall Ireland/PA)

The Covid-19 pandemic unemployment payment (PUP) will be cut at the end of June for those who earned less than 200 euro per week before the pandemic.

The 350 euro weekly PUP was first introduced in March and was set to be cut in June.

Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe said on Friday the temporary wage subsidy scheme will be extended until the end of August but the PUP will be extended until August 10.

Speaking at Government Buildings, Mr Donohoe said the PUP will be split into a two-tier structure from June 29.

The changes mean part-time workers or those who were earning less than 200 euro a week before the outbreak will see their payment cut to 203 euro per week.

“The extraordinary level of support that is in place now can’t last forever but, equally, the unprecedented shock that many businesses big and small all over our country have experienced will take some time to resolve,” he said.

Social Protection Minister Regina Doherty defended the cut to the payment for people on low wages and those who worked part-time before the crisis.

“We’re not cutting anyone’s wages,” she said. “The scheme that was introduced at breakneck speed in March was needed to replace people’s income.

“I am absolutely adamant when the changed rate comes, not a single person will be in a receipt of a euro less then when we shut down the economy on March 13.

“That is fair and equitable and addresses the concerns about the money  for the scheme – it was not from the bank, it has to be borrowed and I think it is fair.”

Mr Donohoe said more than 58,600 employers have registered for the temporary wage subsidy scheme and over 1.39 billion euro has been paid out since it was first introduced in March.

517,400 employees have received at least one payment from the scheme so far.

“I have always been clear this support cannot last forever but I am satisfied a decision has been made for the scheme to continue until the end of August,” he said.

“As the public health restrictions are eased in the coming weeks, I will expect to see a continued decline in reliance on the scheme throughout the summer as the economy reopens.”

PA