The COVID-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment or PUP is a statutory support which is available to people who have lost their employment as a result of Government mandated restrictions arising from Covid-19. It is not intended as a permanent or standing scheme to respond to the normal operation of the labour market. While every loss of employment hits the workers affected very hard and we would want to do all we can to cushion this impact and help the workers affected it would be neither feasible nor equitable to extend PUP to every situation of a loss of employment particularly as the economy re-opens. I understand that in this case the lay-offs are not due to Covid-19 restrictions imposed by Government.
If an employee loses their job for reasons for reasons other than Government mandated Covid-19 restrictions, they can avail of support under the Jobseeker's Benefit or Jobseeker's Allowances schemes. Jobseeker's Benefit is a social insurance scheme based on an individual’s PRSI record and Jobseeker's Allowance is a social assistance scheme which is subject to a means test.
Support may also be available under the Department's means tested Supplementary Welfare Allowance.
The Department's employment services also stand ready to help any worker prepare for and find new employment.
Issues around redundancy and employment rights are a matter for my colleague the Minister for Enterprise Trade and Employment and I have arranged to forward this correspondence to him.