I thank the Deputy for her question. Since the outbreak of Covid-19 here in March 2020, the Government has sought to save as many lives and as many livelihoods as possible. The early introduction of the temporary wage subsidy scheme, TWSS, and its longer term successor, the employment wage subsidy scheme, EWSS, provided immediate assistance. This was followed by many targeted measures for business which have been critical in keeping them afloat and preventing redundancies. We acted swiftly to prevent the closure of viable companies experiencing temporary pressures on liquidity making temporary amendments to the Companies Act 2014 in respect of insolvency.
On Tuesday I signed an order commencing the new small companies administrative rescue process, SCARP, legislation. I thank the Minister of State, Deputy Troy, for leading on this initiative. From this week, small and micro enterprises have access to a new restructuring and rescue process mirroring examinership, but in an administrative form. It is designed to be cheaper and faster than the court-sponsored examinership system. Taken together with the range of grants and loans available, we should save viable businesses and jobs that would otherwise have been lost.
Last week's labour force survey revealed that more than 110,000 people returned to work in the third quarter of this year. Encouragingly, employment is up in every region and every sector. At the end of November, the number of people on the pandemic unemployment payment had fallen to 54,824, its lowest level to date. We are not able to project how many of those will become redundant.
While many sectors are rebounding relatively quickly, a smooth recovery is certainly not guaranteed and the announcement last Friday of the reimposition of some restrictions is a reminder to us all in that regard. Redundancies in some businesses will regrettably arise. We do not have a definitive measure of redundancies arising, as distinct from job losses or gains. The measures we do have, such as collective redundancy notifications and redundancy claims from the Social Insurance Fund, SIF, give only a partial picture. That said, after a surge last year, both have dropped significantly in 2021. Redundancy claims from the Social Insurance Fund for this year are below 2019 levels. More people became redundant in 2019, before the pandemic, than in this year of the pandemic. Collective redundancy notifications have dropped approximately 40% from 2020 levels.