Numbers getting Covid-19 jobless payment down to 589,000

More people now in receipt of salary support under the temporary wage subsidy scheme

The number of people receiving the Government’s special Covid-19 unemployment payment has fallen slightly by about 9,000 to 589,000 over the last week.

However at the same time about 30,000 more people are having their pay supported under the separate Government temporary wage subsidy scheme.

The Department of Social Protection said on Monday that 456,200 people working for more than 53,000 employers had had at least one payment supported by the Temporary Covid-19 Wage Subsidy Scheme (TWSS).

It said the number of employees supported at least once under the TWSS had increased from 427,400 as at April 30th.


In addition to the number of people receiving the special €350 per week special Covid-19 unemployment payment and those who are having their pay supported under the wage subsidy scheme, there are also 214,700 people who were on the live register as of the end of April.

This means there are more than 1.25 million workers relying on State support for all or part of their income.

Separately there are about 42,000 receiving the €350 Covid-19 enhanced illness benefit. This predominantly relates to people who have been advised by their GP to self-isolate as well as a smaller number of individuals who had been diagnosed with Covid-19.

Minister for Social Protection, Regina Doherty said on Monday: "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."

She said there is now “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 . . . we can expect certain sectors of the labour market to gradually reopen and for more people to close their applications for assistance.”

However the Minister said there would not be “a quick return to work for everybody”.

She said the nature of the virus was 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 retrain, re-energise and re-employ all those who have been disrupted by this unprecedented health emergency.”

The department said that since the scheme was launched in mid-March more than 95,000 people had sought to close their Covid-19 pandemic unemployment payment. It said in many cases this was because employers were taking people back on to their payroll under the TWSS.

Martin Wall

Martin Wall

Martin Wall is the former Washington Correspondent of The Irish Times. He was previously industry correspondent