There are 1,600 fewer people receiving Pandemic Unemployment payments in Galway this week as the number of people receiving the payment has fallen to less than half the peak level in May.
The latest figures from the Department for Social Protection show that Pandemic Unemployment payments have been made to 15,400 people in Galway today, down from 17,000 on July 21.
Nationally there has been a weekly decrease of 26,900 people on the special COVID-19 unemployment scheme, with €88.9 million being paid to 286,900 people this week.
In the past week, 19,200 people have closed their claim for pandemic unemployment, of which 900 were in Galway.
“I am particularly pleased to see that numbers of people who lost their jobs due to the Covid-19 health crisis are continuing fall as people are going back to work,” Minister Heather Humphreys said.
The number of people availing of the COVID-19 unemployment scheme has fallen by 52% since the peak demand on May 5 the Minister said.
This is roughly in line with the drop in Galway, which saw 32,300 people on the scheme in early May.
“I am confident that many more businesses will reopen in the weeks and months ahead as they avail of the most recent Government supports announced in the July Stimulus package.”
The government announced in the July stimulus package that the Pandemic Unemployment scheme will continue until April 2021, but with changes to the rates of payment.
The current system has people on either a payment of €203 a week, the same as the standard jobseeker rate, or €350 a week.
From September 17 until January 31 of next year, there will be three bands of payment based on your prior earnings, at €200, €250, and €300 a week.
This will be reduced again on February 1 of 2021, and from next April onwards the COVID-19 payments will be discontinued.
Minister Humphreys said that the Pandemic Unemployment scheme is for people who are “genuinely seeking work” and staying in the state.
Commenting on the news that 104 people had their payments stopped after screening at the airport determined they were travelling for non-essential reasons, the Minister said the scheme is “not paid to people who are leaving the country to reside elsewhere or who go on holidays abroad. Neither is the payment paid to individuals during a 14 day quarantine period.”
The decision to halt payments to people travelling abroad has been criticised for being brought in with little notice, and also for confusion surrounding travel guidelines between advice against non-essential travel, and a green list of countries it is deemed safe to go to.
However the government has said that the majority of people who had their PUP cut off were planning to leave the country permanently.