People who have been receiving COVID-19 supports through the pandemic will not lose out on their social insurance benefits under a new plan.
Cabinet has approved new legislation to credit people receiving the COVID-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment (PUP) and those being supported by the Temporary Wage Subsidy Scheme (TWSS) with full PRSI contributions.
The measure will also be extended to people who lost their jobs after March 13th and have been on Jobseekers Benefit.
The Government said the legislation will ensure that the contributions on people’s record will be the same as if they had not lost their jobs.
Speaking this afternoon, the Social Protection Minister Heather Humphreys said people will now be entitled to the same benefits they would have been if the pandemic had not happened.
“We will pass legislation to ensure that all of those who have been receiving the PUP payment will get their full PRSI contribution entitlements,” he said.
“So that means that your stamp then will be paid for you and you will be able to collect all the benefits that you would normally have whether it is sick pay or different benefits the contribution entitles you to.”
She said the move will be important for long-term benefits like pensions and shorter-term benefits like illness and parental leave.
It comes as it emerged that over 67,000 fewer people received the PUP this week, the largest weekly decrease to date.
Over 250,000 people have signed off the payment since early May.
The largest cohort of people returning to work are aged between 35 and 44-years-old, with most working in hospitality, hairdressing, retail or automotive repairs.
Minister Humphreys said the figures “clearly show people are getting back to work with a significant fall in the number of people in every county” receiving the payment.
She said the July Stimulus Package, which is currently being finalised, will help thousands of workers who were badly impacted by the pandemic.