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Students are set to be badly hit over the summer months by moves to reduce the Pandemic Unemployment Payment for those who were working part-time before the COVID-19 crisis hit, according to the Union of Students in Ireland.

With college terms finished, most students would now be working full-time hours in order to save as much money as possible for the next academic year as well as survive on a day-to-day basis over the summer.

However, due to the on-going public health restrictions large numbers of students have been temporarily or permanently laid-off from jobs and have little possibility of finding other work.

The USI is making urgent calls for Government to take into account the hours students will miss out on this summer when making any reforms of the criteria for receiving the COVID-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment.

USI President, Lorna Fitzpatrick explained: “The vast majority of students in Ireland would have taken on many more hours in employment during the summertime to pay rent, for living expenses and to save for the coming academic year. The announcement by An Taoiseach yesterday that the Government plans to lower the payment for those working part-time before the pandemic was extremely worrying for students.

“It seems that the situation facing students just hasn’t been considered at all here. We are calling on the payment that is made to students to be based on the increased hours they had planned for the summertime and allow them to receive the full payment of €350. If that happens, they will still be receiving less than they would have in a minimum wage job for the summer, so are only asking to be treated fairly. As it stands, their payment would be reduced to €203. The fact that the Government plans to extend the Pandemic Unemployment Payment shows that they feel these jobs are not coming back any time soon.

“All recent research has shown that younger workers are disproportionately affected by COVID-19 related unemployment as the jobs in retail, hospitality and tourism have been worst affected by the lockdown – all traditional places of work for students in the summer.”

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