The numbers receiving the Pandemic Unemployment Payment continues to fall but at a slower rate, according to the latest figures published this afternoon. 

The number of people receiving the Pandemic Unemployment Payment (PUP) has fallen to 274,600; down 12,300 compared to last week.

The figure reported on 27 July was down 26,900 on the previous week. 

According to the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection, today's figure represents a drop of 54% in the overall number since its peak of 598,000 on 5 May. 

The number of people who closed their PUP claim and returned to work with employers under the Temporary Wage Subsidy Scheme (TWSS) went up by 12,600 last week, to 96,900 this week.

A total of 69,470 employers are registered with the scheme, supporting an estimated 390,000 employees. 

The top three sectors where people are returning to work remain Accommodation and Food Services, Wholesale and Retail, Repair of Motor Vehicles and Motorcycles and Construction. The largest age cohort returning to work is the under-25's. 

The total amount paid under the PUP to date is over €3 billion. 

In a statement the Minister for Social Protection, Community and Rural Development and the Islands, Heather Humphreys, said that people working in sectors where restrictions are still in place like pubs, arts and entertainment "who remain temporarily laid off are therefore not required to meet the Genuinely Seeking Work requirement for work in other sectors."

The Minister for Social Protection Heather Humphreys has extended until 17 September the suspension of redundancy payments introduced in March in response to Covid-19.

These relate to when a company temporarily lays-off workers or puts them on short-time hours as a result of the impact of the pandemic. This means an employee's right to redundancy has been deferred. It also gives the company the potential to rehire workers if business resumes.

The Minister also extended the Enhanced Illness Benefit for people with symptoms of Covid-19 until 31 March next year. The Benefit had been due to expire after 10 August.