Changes to PUP Payment Rates

As was announced as part of the July Jobs Stimulus package, the Pandemic Unemployment Payment is continuing until April 2021 with the payment rates changing on 17 September 2020 and in February 2021.

PUP Rate Changes from 17 September 2020

From 17 September 2020, the Pandemic Unemployment Payment has moved to 3 rates of payment.

The rate a recipient is linked to their previous incomes, as follows:

  • if they earned over €300 (gross) per week – they will now receive €300 per week
  • if they earned between €200 and €300 (gross) per week – the rate of the Pandemic Unemployment Payment will now be €250 per week
  • if they earned less than €200 (gross) per week – the rate of the Pandemic Unemployment Payment will be €203 per week (there is no change to this rate)

Recipients of the Pandemic Unemployment Payment will see the impact of these changes in their bank accounts tomorrow, Tuesday 22 September.

Individuals do not need to contact the department about their earnings. The department will be contacting PUP recipients individually about these changes informing them of their new rate of payment.

How prior earnings determine the PUP rate

For Employees


For an employee, the department has examined their average gross weekly earnings in 2019 and January and February 2020. Whichever period gives the higher weekly rate of income will be used.

For example, if someone’s average gross weekly earnings were €195 in 2019 and €210 in 2020 – the figure of €210 will be used.

Similarly, if their average gross weekly earnings in 2019 were higher than in 2020, the 2019 figure will be used.


For the Self-Employed

For the self-employed, the 2018 and 2019 earnings provided to Revenue are considered and the higher average weekly income figure is used to decide their rate of payment.

For those who were both employed and self-employed in 2019

For those who have a combination of employment and self-employment in 2019, their earnings from both their employment and self-employment are added together in order to arrive at an average weekly earnings figure.

For all PUP recipients the department has used the calculation which gives the customer the highest weekly rate of income as the basis for determining their new PUP rate.

People returning to work

In the past week, some 6,333 people closed their claim for the Pandemic Unemployment Payment of which 4,707 reported that they were returning to work. Of those 4,707 returning to work, some 4,568 are receiving their last payment this week. As the Pandemic Unemployment Payment is a weekly payment paid in arrears, there is a one week lag in how closures, due to people returning to work or people making new applications for PUP, are reflected in the payment data.

This week the sector with the largest number of employees returning to work is Accommodation and Food Service Activities (820), followed by Wholesale and Retail Trade; Repair of Motor vehicles and Motorcycles (625) and the Education sector (529). A full breakdown of the sectors in this area is set out at Appendix 7 below.

Looking at the age profile, the largest number of people returning to work is in the 35-44 group (1,146), followed by the 25-34 age category (1,007). Full details are available at Appendix 8.

The department continues to remind workers who are returning to work that they must close their claim for the Pandemic Unemployment Payment (PUP).

In order to ensure that their claim is processed correctly, workers who are returning to work must close their claim for the PUP payment on the actual date that they start back at work.

The easiest way to close a claim for the Pandemic Unemployment Payment is online via Any worker returning to work with an enquiry about closing their claim, can contact the department’s dedicated income support helpline at 1890 800 024 (Monday to Friday from 9am to 5pm).

Industries that remain closed

Where, due to ongoing restrictions, a person’s employer has not restarted operations or where a sector is still temporarily closed, or has had to close their business again temporarily, the department will continue to support the workers concerned through payment of the PUP. New applications for PUP can be made until the end of this year.

Occasional employment

On the area of occasional employment, the department considers this to be once-off irregular, infrequent, or isolated events and where there is a clear divergence from previous employment patterns. Where a person has any doubt, they should contact the department directly to discuss their claim.

COVID-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment Checks

As is the case for all social welfare schemes and as part of the department’s normal work, the department conducts a series of pre and post payment checks for the COVID-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment, including:

  • integrity checks made against records already held by the department including Public Service Information data and cross checks with payments on other schemes. These help to verify if a person is who they claim to be and that they are entitled to claim payment
  • a reconciliation process between the department’s PUP payment file and Revenue’s records
  • a prior employment status check by comparing all claims for PUP against prior earnings and employment records from Revenue data
  • as with other welfare schemes, the department contacts recipients to ensure that they continue to satisfy the eligibility criteria of the COVID-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment
  • data analytics

(C) – 22/09/2020 extract