Tuesday, 29 September 2020

Ceisteanna (531, 544, 545, 586)

Seán Sherlock

Ceist:

531. Deputy Sean Sherlock asked the Minister for Social Protection if she has spoken to the Minister for Finance about extending the pandemic unemployment rate at full pay to September 2021. [26288/20]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Róisín Shortall

Ceist:

544. Deputy Róisín Shortall asked the Minister for Social Protection to outline the extra measures which will be put in place to support retail, bar and restaurant and allied workers in the Dublin region in view of their loss of income following the tightened Covid-19 emergency period restrictions for Dublin; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [26449/20]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Róisín Shortall

Ceist:

545. Deputy Róisín Shortall asked the Minister for Social Protection if she will consider reinstating the full €350 per week rate for the pandemic unemployment payment for the Dublin region for the duration of tightened Covid-19 emergency period restrictions; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [26450/20]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Marian Harkin

Ceist:

586. Deputy Marian Harkin asked the Minister for Social Protection if the pandemic unemployment payment will be restored to its former levels for those that lose their jobs now or in the future due to Covid-19. [26675/20]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Social)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 531, 544, 545 and 586 together.

Last week, my Department issued payments valued at €61.3 million to over 206,341 people on the Pandemic Unemployment Payment (PUP). In total Government has spent over €3.5 bn on PUP payments.

From 17 September the PUP is being paid at three rates linked to a person's pre-covid employment earnings. Individuals whose prior earnings were €300 or over per week will receive a payment of €300 per week. A rate of €250 will apply to those who previously earned between €200 and €300 per week; and the rate of €203 remains unchanged for those who had prior earnings of less than €200 per week.

The changes to the payment rate means that Government is in a position to extend the scheme until April next and make it more sustainable by linking it to previous earnings. The new rates remain higher than the general weekly personal social welfare payments for people of working age, payable at €203.

In the interest of equality and fairness it is important that the pandemic unemployment payment rate changes apply to all scheme recipients as it would not be appropriate to make exceptions for those who had previously worked in a particular sector or location, while applying the changes to other recipients who are facing similar financial challenges.

I trust that this clarifies the position for the Deputies.