Sinn Féin Senator Paul Gavan has raised concerns that some workers, through no fault of their own, are set to be deprived of the PUP Christmas bonus payment.
Senator Paul Gavan stated:
“While the Christmas bonus payment to Pandemic Unemployment Payment recipients is very welcome, there are at present concerns that deserving workers are now falling outside of this payment.
“The Mandate Trade Union understands from some of their members that shop workers, who voluntarily returned to work in order to help prepare for the anticipated reopening of retail on December 1st, may now through no fault of their own, lose out in being eligible for the Christmas bonus.
“Workers who receive the PUP payment for any one day in the period Friday, 27th November to Thursday 3rd December will receive the Christmas bonus. This then effectively excludes workers who volunteered to return to work on Friday 27th to help prepare for Christmas shopping after the Government announced a relaxing of Covid-19 rules.
“Many businesses will have been forward planning and would have required staff to volunteer in order to prepare for the reopening of the business.
“So we are in the situation where those shop workers who volunteered to return to assist their employer, and to prepare for reopening may now fall through the net and will not be eligible for the bonus. Even though they would satisfy the PUP qualifying 17 weeks requirement prior to the Christmas bonus eligibility criteria announced by the Minister.
“We should not punish retail workers that returned to work and put themselves forward so shops could open.
“It would not take much to fix this anomaly with the payment. Surely if we are serious about supporting retail workers, not just by saying we support them, then we should be able to fix this now.
“I have also written to the Minister on the issue and I am calling on the Government to urgently address the matter because, clearly, the payment will be made very shortly. I am hoping for Government action in that regard.
“This anomaly is clearly unjust in action to those readying our retail for the opening of our economy so should be corrected.”