Wednesday, 9 October 2019
Social Welfare Bill 2019: Report Stage
I used the word "agreed" as a means of explaining that a person will not be expected to sign a personal progression plan if he or she does not agree with the contents of the plan. I think the Senator was suggesting that some people might be encouraged, coerced or forced to sign personal progression plans, or that some penalty might be imposed thereafter in the event of someone failing to sign such a plan. I suggested that nobody would sign any document that they did not agree with. The terms and conditions of jobseeker's benefit and jobseeker's allowance mean that people must actively engage. Therefore, the language that is currently used in the jobseeker's benefit and jobseeker's allowance schemes for the employed is exactly the same as that prescribed in this Bill. I do not propose to change it as to do so would be to create an anomaly. This amendment seeks something slightly different from what the Senator asked me for last week. Last week, she was asking about whether somebody should sign a personal progression plan. I repeat on the record of the House that I cannot, by any stretch of the imagination, understand why somebody who does not agree with what is in his or her personal progression plan would sign the plan. Therefore, such a person definitely does not have to do so.