PUP cuts must be reversed – workers can’t pay the price for the pandemic

16 November 2021
  • Tax relief for home workers promised by Govt must be backdated

Labour employment spokesperson Marie Sherlock said the government must immediately assuage the concerns of workers in the night economy and restore the PUP payment in its entirety. Speaking following the news of restrictions to curb the spread of Covid, Senator Sherlock said that all workers need certainty.

Senator Sherlock also urged government to immediately backdate the tax relief promised for workers in this year’s budget, which is not due to come into effect until January.

Senator Sherlock said:

“We are on a knife edge with Covid right now and the leaking of this information from Cabinet that the night economy will effectively shut down once again will be deeply worrying to workers in the sector, many of whom are just after returning to work after extended lockdowns and restrictions on the sector.

“The real irony of today’s leaks from cabinet is that it coincides with the PUP payment being cut further. I am calling on government to do the right and responsible thing and immediately stop this cut. Workers need certainty. Their livelihoods, through no fault of their own, are effectively being taken away from them. We need to prevent these workers from experiencing any further economic hardship. This news will be particularly devastating to workers and businesses as it comes at the busiest time of year for the sector.

“Young people will take the brunt of the pain in today’s announcement – with their social lives about to be curtailed once again and because young people make up a large share of those working in the night economy. Young people are overrepresented in insecure, low paid employment seen in the retail, hospitality, and food and drink sector that were deeply affected during pandemic.

“At the peak of Covid unemployment, we saw nearly 60% of young people aged 15-24 out of work. Government need to ensure they’re protected and insulated from further economic hardship.

“No worker can pay the price for the spread of covid. Those who can work from home must do so, but government really needs to stand up to the mark for our remote workers too. Firstly, the tax relief for home workers promised by the government in this year’s budget must be backdated immediately. The relief is not a huge amount but it is important and will go some way in bridging the gap for home workers. With the increased cost of energy and other home bills, workers cannot be forced to choose between turning on the heating or plugging in the laptop. We need to see this happen for our workers without further delay.

“Employers must also buck up. Government needs to encourage and pressurise employers to provide a daily stipend of €3.20 where workers have been workers to work remotely. Workers cannot be left out of pocket and should be supported by their employer to work from home safely and comfortably.

“This is a precarious time for everyone. Workers need certainty and they need security from government that they will be protected.”

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