The Temporary Wage Subsidy Scheme (TWSS) was set up by the Government in response to the loss of income for those whose employment was affected by the COVID-19 pandemic in Ireland. Payments to employees under the scheme commenced in the week ending 22 March 2020 and the scheme was closed at the end of August 2020.
While the Pandemic Unemployment Payment (PUP) is a weekly scheme, the availability of TWSS data depends on an employee’s pay frequency which could be weekly, fortnightly, every four weeks or monthly. The TWSS data in this output reflects the estimated number of persons being supported by the scheme in each week. This estimate is calculated by filling in previous weeks using pay frequency as an indicator. For example; if someone is paid monthly and received a payment on week 20 of 2020, they would be estimated to be covered by the scheme for weeks 16 to 20.
Tables LRW07-LRW08 and LRW13-LRW18 on the CSO PxStat database service contain data on TWSS recipients for the period of the week ending 22 March 2020 through to the week ending 06 September 2020 (the scheme ended on 31 August 2020).
Figure 3.1 below shows there were 36,438 persons estimated to have been directly supported by the TWSS during the week ending 22 March 2020 and this rose over the following weeks to a peak of 422,224 during the week ending 03 May 2020. There were slight fluctuations in the following weeks, but the series remained above 400,000 until the week ending 14 June 2020. It started to fall from the end of June 2020, apart from minor increases in the week ending 19 July 2020 and the week ending 26 July 2020, until the scheme closed on 31 August 2020. There were an estimated 334,414 persons being supported by the TWSS for the week ending 30 August 2020 while there were only 65,589 estimated to have been supported by the scheme in the week ending 06 September 2020. It is important to consider that the numbers being supported by the TWSS for that last week is particularly low as there is only one day in that week that the scheme was operational.
Figure 3.2 below presents the number of male and female TWSS recipients for each week the scheme was operational. The trends for males and females are in line with the overall trend for all TWSS recipients although the series for males is much higher in parts than females and the peaks occur at different times. For males, the series peaked at 248,648 during the week ending 03 May 2020 while the peak for females of 181,089 occurred during the week ending 02 August 2020.
Figure 3.3 below shows the changes in the number of TWSS recipients working in selected economic sectors while the scheme was operational. The shape of the series is very different for both; it reaches a peak of 103,204 early in the summer of 2020 for the Wholesale & Retail Trade sector, while it reaches the peak of 84,961 for the Accommodation & Food Service Activities sector much later in the summer. There were more employees from the Wholesale & Retail Trade sector being supported by the TWSS from when the scheme started in March 2020 until the week ending 12 July 2020. From July 2020 until the scheme was closed there were more employees from the Accommodation & Food Services sector being supported by the TWSS.
Figure 3.4 below presents the cumulative number of persons who received at least one payment under the TWSS between March 2020 and the end of August 2020 when the scheme ended. By the end of the fourth week of the scheme (week ending 12 April 2020) there were close to 400,000 TWSS recipients and it had almost reached 500,000 by the week ending 17 May 2020. By the week ending 05 July 2020 the number of people on the scheme was close to 600,000. By the time the TWSS closed at the end of August 2020, 664,098 people had received at least one TWSS payment since the scheme was established in March 2020, of which 56.5% were male, 16.0% were aged under 25 years and 50.0% were aged between 25 and 44 years of age.
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