Written answers

Thursday, 12 October 2017

Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation

Action Plan for Jobs

Photo of Niall CollinsNiall Collins (Limerick County, Fianna Fail)
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39. To ask the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation the policy measures in the action plan for jobs to bring down the levels of underemployment. [43166/17]

Photo of Frances FitzgeraldFrances Fitzgerald (Dublin Mid West, Fine Gael)
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The Action Plan for Jobs is the Government’s key instruments to support job creation. The Action Plan for Jobs is working. 225,000 extra people are at work today than in 2012 when the first Plan was launched. 18,000 new jobs were created in the first six months of 2017.

While the Action Plan is a whole of Government approach to support job creation, I am responsible for developing the 2018 Plan. My priority is to deliver on this Government’s goal to help create 200,000 additional jobs by 2020, including 135,000 jobs outside Dublin.

Underemployment is generally defined as individuals who are currently in part-time employment but with a desire and availability to work more hours.

The Central Statistics Office (CSO) measures part-time employment and underemployment. In its most recent data release as part of the Q2 2017 Quarterly National Household Survey (QNHS) the statistics indicate that part-time working is declining and that the majority of part-time workers are doing so by choice:

- Part-time employment has declined by 6.4% while the number working full-time has increased by 5.0% over the year to Q2 2017 (seasonally adjusted);

- Almost four out of every five part-time workers are working part-time by choice (in Q2 2016, the number was three out of four).

The Action Plan for Jobs (APJ) 2017 included a chapter on ‘Addressing New Labour Market Challenges’, which specified a number of specific actions that have helped contribute towards the reductions in underemployment experienced over the past year and will continue to tackle underemployment issues. These include

- Implementation by the Pathways to Work 2016-2020 programme by the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection.

- Introduction of the new Single Affordable Childcare Scheme by the Department of Children & Youth Affairs.

- My own Department is leading the roll out of training under the Women Returning to the Workforce Initiative, targeting women who are currently detached from the labour market and who are interested in entering/re-entering employment.

My Department is currently in the process of developing the new Action Plan for Jobs 2018 in consultation with a broad range of stakeholders internally and externally. Actions that continue to address underemployment, and indeed labour market participation and activation challenges in general, will be sure to feature prominently in this new Plan that will be published in January 2018.


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