Fall in PUP numbers indicate EWSS impact

Aug 17, 2020

The Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection announced that the number of people in receipt of the Pandemic Unemployment Payment (PUP) decreased by 12,100 last week, compared to 274,600 people who received the payment the week before. This could possibly be due to the Employment Wage Subsidy Scheme (EWSS).

In the seven days up to 10 August, 11,100 people closed their claim for the PUP, and 5,000 were to receive their final payment on 11 August. Of the 11,100 who closed their claims, 8,400 were returning to work. The PUP is paid weekly in arrears, so there can be a one-week lag in how people returning to work are reflected in the data.

Accommodation and food services; wholesale and retail trade, repair of motor vehicles and motorcycles; and construction were the top three sectors that employees are returning to when coming off the PUP.

Legislation on the EWSS was enacted on 1 August and in allowing for a one-week lag, we are seeing a significant decrease in the numbers receiving the PUP as of 10 August. Revenue more recently publicised that employers can backdate claims to 1 July 2020 for EWSS payments in respect of new hires and seasonal workers, subject to exception limits. This may provide for further increases in the numbers returning to work. 

In addition to those closing their PUP claims, 29,000 individuals failed to confirm their continued eligibility for the PUP, as part of a process for assuring the integrity of the PUP. 

The Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection press release provides further detail on the PUP figures.