COVID Payment Set To Decrease

COVID unemployment payment is set to decrease as the economic reality of the lockdown slowly emerges. Will there be any economy left after the anticipated second lockdown?

 

It is understood the rate will stay at €350 a week for the remainder of the summer but then start to be reduced over around nine months until it reaches the €203-a-week level of the current jobseekers' allowance.

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The current PUP regime is due to expire in three weeks' time on August 10. However, the first reduction of €50 to the top rate won't happen until several weeks later.

Last night, sources stressed details of the plan are still being finalised.

A sub-committee of ministers is due to meet tonight to discuss the July stimulus ahead of a full Cabinet meeting tomorrow.

The Government's first landmark initiative is set to include plans for extending the temporary wage subsidy scheme (TWSS) as well as better restart grants and longer waivers from commercial rates for pandemic-hit businesses.

Social Protection Minister Heather Humphreys and Public Expenditure Minister Michael McGrath last week promised there won't be a "cliff-edge" reduction in the level of PUP payments.

Ms Humphreys said: "I don't want to see people just falling off a cliff edge in terms of their income reduction.

"I want it to be fair. People have lost their jobs".

The PUP payments were brought in after hundreds of thousands of people found themselves suddenly unemployed during the coronavirus lockdown.

 

 

At its peak more than 600,000 people were in receipt of the support.

Last week, there were 249,800 people on the €350-a-week top rate of the payment.

A further 95,800 people are on a lower rate of €203 a week since July 7.

The lower rate was brought in for people who were paid less than €200 a week in their pre-pandemic employment, many of whom were part-time workers.

Other measures expected to be in the July stimulus include an extension of the TWSS - where the State helps businesses to pay a portion of their employees' wages - into next year.

It is likely to be expanded to include seasonal workers and newly hired employees.

There are also expected to be gradual reductions in the percentage paid to businesses over time.

There have been suggestions that the maximum restart grant for businesses reopening after the pandemic could be doubled to €20,000, although no final decisions have been made.

A three-month waiver on commercial rents announced in May is likely to be extended into the autumn.

Last night, a Government source said: "The Covid-19 pandemic is an unprecedented emergency.

"It's been met with an unprecedented Government response, in terms of scale and speed."

They said the overriding goal of the July stimulus is to give confidence to businesses to reopen, re-employ staff and also recruit new workers.

 

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