The Government has signed off on €6.8 billion in extra funding for the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection, as it is due to reach this year's spending limit early next month.

Public Expenditure Minister Paschal Donohoe brought a memo to Cabinet today seeking approval for the revised spending estimates.

The estimates will be presented to the Dáil next Wednesday and a vote will be held on Thursday.

Under spending rules, the Government and departments can spend four-fifths of the previous year's spending allocation before new estimates are passed by the Dáil.

This year, the house did not vote on new allocations because the election was called.

The Department of Social Protection has had a huge level of extra spending due to the emergency Covid payments.

It was due to reach its spending limit by early June due to the additional outlay on the Pandemic Unemployment Payment (PUP) and the Temporary Wage Subsidy Schemes.

A spokesperson for the minister said the additional funding does not represent a policy change.

The €350 weekly Pandemic Unemployment Payment is due to run for 12 weeks and will expire on 8 June.

Both the Taoiseach and Mr Donohoe have indicated that it will be extended in some form, but no decision has yet been made.

Opposition deputies have repeatedly called for the payment to be maintained at its current level.