Ireland changes rates of pandemic unemployment payment

Out-Law Analysis | 15 Sep 2020 | 9:47 am | 2 min. read

The Irish government has announced that the payment rates for its Covid-19 pandemic unemployment payment (PUP) will change as of 17 September 2020. It had been planned as part of the July Jobs Stimulus that new applications would not be accepted after 17 September 2020, however, the government announced yesterday that this date has been extended and new applications will be accepted until the end of 2020.

 

The PUP will be in place until 31 March 2021 and is available to employees and the self-employed who have lost their jobs on or after 13 March 2020 as a result of Covid-19.

The government has issued guidelines on who qualifies for the payment. Eligible recipients will receive the payment each week in arrears, either via electronic transfer into a bank or credit union account held in an Irish financial institution or to a nominated post office for collection. Recipients will receive the payment for the duration of the PUP so long as their circumstances for being eligible for the PUP do not change. 

Those who were working and were also in receipt of any social welfare payment, such as the carer's payment, working family payment or one-parent family payment, may also claim the PUP in addition to retaining their existing welfare payment, provided that they have lost their employment due to Covid-19 and meet the eligibility criteria.

If an employee has one adult and one or more dependent children they have been advised to claim a jobseeker's payment instead of the PUP. This is because the employee may claim an additional allowance for their adult dependent and child dependents, which may increase their weekly payment above the maximum due under the PUP.

The rates at which the PUP are paid are set to change periodically as the PUP is being gradually phased out, beginning with 17 September 2020.

From 17 September 2020 until 31 January 2021, the PUP will be paid at three rates: for those whose prior earnings were less than €200 per week, the rate will be €203 per week; for those whose prior earnings were between €200 and €300 per week, the rate will €250 per week; and for those whose prior earnings were over €300 per week, the rate will be €300 per week.

From 1 February 2021 until 31 March 2021, the PUP will be paid at two rates: for those whose prior earnings were less than €300 per week, the rate will be €203 per week; or for those whose prior earnings were over €300 per week, the rate will be €250 per week.

From 1 April 2021, the PUP will no longer be available. If an employee is receiving the PUP at that date, they will need to apply for either jobseeker’s benefit, jobseeker’s allowance or jobseeker's benefit for the self-employed.

There are a number of ways employees can apply for the PUP remotely: through the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection's online portal (provided the employee has a basic MyGovID account), by post via a downloaded application form (1-page / 234KB PDF), by requesting an application form via email ([email protected]) or by requesting an application form by phone (1890 800 024 / 01 2481398).