Food service one of top sectors in which employees are returning to work

One of the top sectors in which employees are returning to work this week is the food service.

The food service accounts for jobs in the production, transporting and selling of prepared food, and more.

The Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection has issued an update on payments awarded under the Covid-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment and Enhanced Illness Benefit.

According to the department, counties Kildare, Offaly and Laois each have a “small increase” in the numbers receiving the payment this week.

In the past seven days, 6,800 people have closed their claim for the unemployment payment, with some 3,300 receiving their final payment today (Tuesday, August 25).

230,400 will receive the unemployment payment this week, with overall numbers dropping over 61% since the peak on May 5, the department stated.

The top sectors in which employees are returning to work this week are: food and accommodation services; wholesale and retail trade; repair of motor vehicles and motorcycles; construction; and administrative and support service activities.

Meat factory workers ‘entitled to Covid-19 illness payment’

Recently, the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection responded to queries from AgriLand regarding eligibility for such payments.

Following concerns raised by trade union SIPTU over sick pay for workers in meat factories in Ireland, the department said that all workers are entitled to claim the Covid-19 Illness Benefit payment, irrelevant as to whether a company has a sick pay scheme or not.

However, to be eligible for payments workers need to have a Personal Public Service Number (PPSN) and make Pay Related Social Insurance (PRSI) contributions.

The department also stated that all employees (other than some public sector employees who pay a modified rate of social insurance) including self-employed people, non-nationals and those living in Direct Provision centres are entitled to the special Illness Benefit payment.

When asked if there is a way to activate payments without a PPSN amid concerns that workers may not have one, a spokesperson for the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection said:

“It is expected that anyone living and working in Ireland has a PPSN and is making PRSI contributions.

A company sick pay scheme is not compulsory; it should be seen in the context of the contract of employment between employer and employee. It is a separate matter from the state safety-net of Illness Benefit funded through PRSI.

“Employees who are non-nationals and employees who live in Direct Provision also have access if temporarily laid-off without pay due to Covid-19 to claim the Pandemic Unemployment Payment. This payment is paid with effect from when they were temporarily laid-off.”