Significantly more people rely on wage subsidy scheme than the PUP, new figures show   

Ireland's emergency welfare schemes track Covid recovery as employees return to work 
Significantly more people rely on wage subsidy scheme than the PUP, new figures show   

'As we go into August, I anticipate further falls in the overall numbers — partly due to the expected reopening of indoor hospitality,' said Heather Humphreys, the social protection minister. Picture: Sasko Lazarov/Photocall

There are now significantly more people relying on the wage subsidy scheme than the pandemic unemployment payment or the regular unemployment payment, new figures show. 

The Department of Social Protection said there were 202,000 people needing the PUP this week — down by almost 9,700 from last week — as more food and accommodation workers return to work ahead of the planned full reopening of indoor dining next week.

The PUP figures compare with the 344,00 people across 34,200 employers who were relying on the employment wage subsidy scheme (EWSS) at the end of June.  

Total of 170k on jobs-related welfare payments

The Revenue-run wage subsidy scheme figures which are compiled on a weekly basis showed that the total so far this month was running at 259,000 people.

At the end of June, there were also 170,100 people on the regular live register count of the unemployed, meaning an unemployment rate of 18.3% when people on the PUP are included.  

However, the aggregate number on the EWSS, the PUP, and the live register, means there are 716,100 people relying on some form of jobs-related welfare payment this week.  

The gap between the number of people on the EWSS and the PUP is likely to widen further if the new plans for the reopening of indoor hospitality go ahead with no hitch. 

PUP numbers to fall further as business reopens

Social Protection Minister Heather Humphreys said the number of people requiring the PUP will likely fall further in the coming weeks. 

“This week we see just over 202,000 people receiving the pandemic unemployment payment, with over 8,800 having closed their claims in the past seven days as they are returning to work," she said. 

This means that the overall number of people in receipt of the PUP is at its lowest level since the early part of March, 2020.

“As we go into August, I anticipate further falls in the overall numbers — partly due to the expected reopening of indoor hospitality," she said. 

Despite falling in the week, the latest numbers show that, at 47,640, a large number of people in accommodation and food service still require the PUP payment ahead of planned full reopening. 

Many will not return to work immediately

It appears likely that a large number of people will not immediately get their jobs back. Parts of the economy which have all but fully reopened continue to show significant levels of people who still require the PUP.          

At 30,875, wholesale and retail account for the second largest group of people requiring the PUP this week, with 22,390 administrative and support staff accounting for the next largest. At 17,830, construction workers account for the third largest group.

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