A little under 600,000 people claimed the payment this week.
The number of claimants of the Covid-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment has dropped for the first time since its introduction in March.
According to figures published by the government on Monday (11 May), 589,000 people received the payment of €350 this week, including approximately 8,700 people who received the payment for the first time, at a total cost of €206.3 million.
The number of people receiving the payment has reduced by 9,000 since last week and, for the first time since its introduction, the number of people leaving the scheme is greater than the number of new entrants.
The majority of people leaving the Pandemic Unemployment Scheme, according to Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection Regina Doherty, have moved on to the Temporary Wage Subsidy Scheme (TWSS), which enables employees of businesses affected by the pandemic to receive income supports directly from their employer through the payroll system.
53,000 employers have registered with the Revenue Commissioners for the TWSS, with at least one subsidy being paid in respect of 456,200 people under that scheme.
The payments made as part of the Covid-19 Pandemic Unemployment scheme are in addition to the 214,700 people who were reported on the Live Register as of the end of April.
All Covid-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment payments issued will be in recipients’ bank accounts or at their local post office tomorrow (Tuesday 12 May).
Commenting on the figures published on Monday, Regina Doherty said: “Today we see a slight drop in the amount of people receiving Pandemic Unemployment Payments as the number leaving the scheme – primarily to go on the Temporary Covid-19 Wage Subsidy Scheme – is now greater than the number of new entrants. We now have a very clear view of the peak of the challenge we currently face.
“Hopefully the direction of travel from here on will continue to be positive. As we move through the Government’s phased re-opening of society - while observing the recently published guidance for returning to work – we can expect certain sectors of the labour market to gradually re-open and for more people to close their applications for assistance.
“However, there won’t be a quick return to work for everybody and the nature of the virus is such that we won’t be able to switch the economy instantly back on in the same manner as we put it into sleep mode.
“My department will continue to support those who can’t go back to work while simultaneously working on effective plans for the post-pandemic environment to re-train, re-energise and re-employ all those who have been disrupted by this unprecedented health emergency.”