Workers on the Pandemic Unemployment Payment will need to be incentivised to come back to work, according to the Restaurant’s Association of Ireland.
It comes after it emerged that the number of students on the payment has doubled since last August.
There are now 47,000 students claiming the payment – around one-fifth of the country’s full-time students.
The Pandemic Unemployment Payment (PUP) rate varies from €203 to €350 per week, depending on a claimant’s previous earnings.
Full-time students do not qualify for traditional Jobseekers Benefit as they are not considered available for full-time work; however, the PUP payment does not have the same restrictions.
The Union of Students in Ireland (USI) has insisted that students are entitled to the PUP because they work to support themselves through college and lost their jobs due to the pandemic just like everyone else on the payment.
On Newstalk Breakfast this morning, RAI Chief Executive Adrian Cummins said there will be a problem getting people to return to work when the hospitality industry reopens.
“Obviously, our industry is a people industry and we want to bring people back to work,” he said.
“Students are part of that but we also have people who have been with our businesses for many, many years and they are on PUP.
“I want to be very, very clear here; as an association, we are not looking for PUP to be reduced or gotten rid of but the Government needs to figure out a system to try and incentivise employers to take back on their staff or staff to go back to work when we start to reopen.”
He said it is up to the Government to decide how to encourage people back to work.
“The Government has to come up with a structure regarding how they get people back to work and incentivise people back to work or disincentivise people from being on PUP when they shouldn’t be on PUP,” he said.
“That is a matter for the Government. I am not in the Government.
“What I want to do is try and get all hospitality businesses open this summer, right across the board – pubs, restaurants, hotels equally – so we can get the 180,000 people back to work that we need this summer to make it a viable summer for our industry. That is what I want to do.”
Pandemic Unemployment Payment
The student PUP figures were revealed through a Dáil question from independent TD Denis Naughten.
The 47,000 students make up just over 11.5% of the total number of people on the PUP payment.
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