My Department is primarily responsible for the provision of income supports to individuals. The PUP payment was the main income support introduced for those impacted by Covid-19 which was payable to eligible workers irrespective of the sector from which they lost their employment. PUP, similar to other social welfare supports, is not paid on a sectoral basis. In terms of analysis, internal labour market reports are produced on a regular basis. They will typically include detailed summaries of the level and trends in employment, unemployment and the income support schemes offered by Government, including the PUP, Jobseeker Payments and the EWSS. Recipient and payment profiles are examined and analysed with respect to a variety of different characteristics, including the geographic, demographic, socio-economic and sectoral characteristics.
Examples of published reports which provide an overview of the level of analysis conducted include the recently published ‘PUP Labour Market Transitions Analysis’ and a policy paper published last June detailing the impact of COVID-19 on the Irish labour market. Both reports include a sectoral focus, with impacts on the Hospitality sector detailed.In addition, my Department conducts regular meetings with the Labour Market Advisory Council and its associated Employer Relations Subgroup. An important function of the Council is to advise on important trends occurring within the labour market and the key factors which should be considered for any and all policy responses. Furthermore, my Department has conducted extensive outreach campaigns to recipients of PUP regarding their connections to previous employers and their intentions and plans to return to employment. Since the gradual lifting of restrictions the number of customers receiving PUP has fallen dramatically to approximately 60,400 last week compared to an earlier peak this year of 481,000. During the same period the number of people from the accommodation and food sector has also decreased from a high in February 2021 of 111,870 to just under 12,900 last week, a reduction of almost 99,000. I trust that this clarifies the position for the Deputy at this time.