News & Media

Over €2bn extra for Jobseekers but nothing more for €350 Covid-19 PUP beyond 9th June

27 May 2020

Statement by Ged Nash TD
Spokesperson on Finance, Public Expenditure and Reform
  • Dept of Business figures that say 38% earned less than €300 and so get more on €350 PUP are based on 2018 data

  • Certainty needed now on future of €350 payment after 9th June.

Following an analysis of the revised estimate for the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection Labour spokesperson Ged Nash has questioned why over €2 billion extra has been allocated for jobseeker payments, but nothing extra to fund the €350 Covid-19 pandemic unemployment payment which ends on 9th June.

Deputy Nash said:

“Looking at the figures provided in the revised estimates for social welfare payments I am surprised and deeply worried that the caretaker Government have pencilled in over €2 billion for jobseeker payments but nothing further to extend the €350 Covid-19 pandemic unemployment payment after it expires.

“I am also really shocked that the figures being used by the Government and some employers to imply hundreds of thousands of workers are earning more on the €350 Covid-19 payment is based on out of date 2018 Revenue figures, not real time data. This has been used to smear low pay workers who lost their jobs through no fault of their own.

“Despite the Taoiseach saying the estimates were being presented on a no-policy change basis, it is clear that Fine Gael have provided significant funds for future jobseeker payments but nothing to extend the €350 weekly payment. Jobseekers is paid at a lower rate and under the current plan hundreds of thousands of workers will be put onto this payment in 14 days time.

“The allocation for Jobseekers Benefit in 2020 has increased from a proposed €354m in the REV to €1.543 billion today, an increase of nearly €1.2 billion. Jobseekers allowance has increased from €1.6bn to €2.57, an increase of nearly €1 billion on the spending plans published after the Budget last year.

“The estimate published today provides €2.23 billion for the PUP but that is only enough to pay for it up until it expires in June after 12 weeks. We know workers are exiting the payment at a high rate as sectors reopen but it would be wrong to cut their rate in a fortnights time when so many workplaces remain closed.

“No decision has been made yet on extending the €350 Covid-19 payment beyond 9th June but the document published today shows that they plan to move tens of thousands of workers onto lower jobseeker payments. That is simply unacceptable.

“The Temporary Wage Subsidy Scheme will be funded up until 18th June under current arrangements.”