Thousands of people currently receiving the Pandemic Unemployment Payment will see their entitlement fall by up to €100 a week from today. 

Up to now, the top rate of PUP payment for those laid off due to the Covid-19 crisis was €350 a week, which applied to those who were earning more than €200 a week prior to the pandemic.  

The lower rate of €203 was payable to those whose pre-pandemic earnings were below €200. 

However from today, the top rate will fall to €300 for workers who were previously earning over €300 a week.

A new rate of €250 will apply to those whose pre-Covid earnings were between €200 and €300 a week.

The lower rate of €203 for those earning less than €200 remains unchanged. 

The reduced entitlements will be reflected in welfare payments due this Tuesday. 

PUP rates will be further reduced in February, and the scheme will expire on March 31 2021, after which claimants will avail of normal Jobseekers benefits. 

It was originally due to be closed to new entrants from today, but that deadline has been extended to the end of December. 

As of last Monday, 209,941 people were claiming the PUP – down from the peak of 598,000 in early May.  

However as the coronavirus surge continues, it remains to be seen whether that number will climb again if extensive health restrictions are re-imposed.