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Executive Summary

A CSO Frontier Series Output- What is this?

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This new report, ‘Impact of selected COVID-19 Income Supports on Employees’, is the first in a new series from the Central Statistics Office (CSO) on ‘Insights from Real Time Administrative Sources’. The aim of this Frontier Series is to provide insights into Irish society by using newly available datasets from administrative systems. This is an example of the policy-relevant research projects the CSO are developing as part of its leadership role in the Irish Statistical System.

This publication presents analysis of the impact selected COVID-19 Income Support Schemes had on the income of employees in Ireland in the first three quarters of 2020. Employee earnings data, taken from the Revenue Commissioners’ PAYE Modernisation (PMOD) dataset, were combined with data on selected COVID-19 income support payments data from both Revenue and the Department of Social Protection (DSP). These selected COVID-19 income supports include the Pandemic Unemployment Payment (PUP), the Temporary Wage Subsidy Scheme (TWSS) and the Employment Wage Subsidy Scheme (EWSS). Employees were categorised as Recipients or Non-Recipients based on whether they received these COVID-19 income supports. Employee earnings is defined as earnings from paid employment, while employee income is defined as earnings from paid employment plus selected COVID-19 income supports.

This analysis examines the extent to which employees’ median weekly earnings and income were affected by the COVID-19 pandemic and the impact selected COVID-19 income supports had on the income of Recipient employees.

Summary Points

Section 1: Panel Analysis of Recipient and Non-Recipient Employees present in all Quarters Q1 2019 to Q3 2020

  • The median weekly income of Non-Recipient employees was higher than the median of Recipient employees, which included COVID-19 income supports. This difference in median weekly income between Recipient and Non-Recipient employees has widened since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic 
  • Median weekly income of Non-Recipient employees who did not receive supports increased by 5.4% in the year to Q3 2020
  • Median weekly income of employees who received selected supports in Q2 2020, but not in Q3 2020, fell by 9.7% in the year to Q2 2020 but increased by 4.2% in the year to Q3 2020 as the economy re-opened
  • Median income of employees who received supports in both Q2 2020 and Q3 2020 dropped by 16.3% in the year to Q2 2020 and by 13.2% in the year to Q3 2020
  • See Table 3.1 and Figure 3.1

Section 2: Matched Cohort Analysis of COVID-19 Income Support Recipients and Non-Recipients

  • The median weekly income of Recipient employees dropped by 12.0% in the year to Q3 2020, compared with a rise of 5.0% for Non-Recipient employees
  • The median weekly income of male Recipient employees was more negatively impacted by COVID-19 than females, with a drop of 18.6% for males compared with a decrease of 5.0% for females, in the year to Q2 2020
  • Employees aged under 25 who received supports had an increase of 16.0% in their median weekly income in the year to Q2 2020, compared with a drop of 18.2% for those aged 25 and over
  • Recipient employees in the lowest earnings 20% (first quintile) in Q3 2019 had an increase of 35.4% in median weekly income in the year to Q3 2020, while those who received supports that were in the highest earning 20% (fifth quintile), saw their median weekly income fall by 22.7% in the year
  • All counties had a drop in median weekly income for employees who received income supports, in the year to Q3 2020. These decreases ranged from a fall of 15.6% in Dublin to a drop of 3.7% in Donegal
  • See Tables 3.2 to 3.4 and Figures 3.2 to 3.6

Section 3: Matched Cohort Analysis of Employee Income including and excluding COVID-19 Support Income

  • The median employment earnings of all employees fell by 15.0% in the year to Q2 2020. When COVID-19 income supports were included however, median weekly income had a smaller drop of 6.5% in the period
  • Employees, both Recipient and Non-Recipient, aged under 25 had an overall reduction in their median weekly earnings of 22.0% in the year to Q3 2020, compared to an increase of 3.2% when income supports are included
  • The share of employees with weekly earnings, excluding income supports, of Less than €300 rose to 27.5% of all employees in the year to Q3 2020 an increase of 11.3 percentage points. When COVID-19 income supports are included, the share of employees in this earnings band fell by 3.9 percentage points to 12.3% of employees, as employee income moved over the earnings threshold into the higher earnings band
  • See Tables 3.5 and 3.6 and Figures 3.7 to 3.9

Go to next chapter: Introduction