THE Pandemic Unemployment Payment (PUP), which kept the lights on in the local and national economy for much of the pandemic, is about to be wound down.
At one point in May of 2020 almost 15,000 Clare people were receiving the payment, which was then set at €350 per week.
Even on January 11 2022 there were still 1,754 people in the county receiving the PUP, but almost all restrictions having been removed now, that figure is likely to have fallen in recent days.
The PUP closed to new applications from last Saturday, January 22, as the restrictions were being scrapped.
From March 8, anyone still in receipt of it will move to a weekly rate of €208, which is a four week extension on what had been planned.
From then on the recipients will be transitioning to standard jobseeker terms and, if eligible, they will move to a jobseekers payment from April 5.
While the PUP was criticised by some business people who said it was making it more difficult to recruit staff, it undoubtedly played a huge part in keeping the economy functioning during unprecedented times throughout the country.
As it comes to an end the economy is very strong, with labour shortages in many sectors.
Speaking about the ending of the PUP, Minister for Social Protection Heather Humphreys said, “The Pandemic Unemployment Payment has been an absolutely vital support for workers and their families.
“What was originally intended to be just a six week short-term payment will now last for over two years with over €9 billion in payments issued to workers.”
“In line with the widespread lifting of restrictions, the government has approved plans for the winding down of the PUP over the coming months.
“The decision to lift restrictions represents a hugely positive step which will see tens of thousands of people return to work over the coming weeks as the country begins to return to normal,” the minister concluded.