Thursday, 9 November 2017
Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection
263. To ask the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the number of persons who have received penalties in their social welfare payments as a result of non-compliance with the JobPath programme, by county; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [47514/17]
As the Deputy will be aware, JobPath is a service that supports people who are long-term unemployed and those most at risk of becoming long-term unemployed to secure and sustain paid employment.
The service commenced operations in mid-2015, and reached full State-wide delivery of the service in July 2016.
It is important to note that the rules and processes for the application of a reduced rate of payment are the same across all of the Department’s activation services, whether they are delivered directly by the Department’s own Intreo service or through its contracted services such as the Local Employment Service (LES) or JobPath service.
Only a departmental official - and not contractor’s staff - can make a decision to apply a reduced rate of payment. Contractors have no role in the decision making process. The process with regards to such decisions includes written / verbal warnings and an opportunity for the jobseeker to re-engage with the services prior to the application of a reduced payment rate.
Up to the end of September approximately 7000, or 5.8% of all clients who engaged with the JobPath service have had, at some point, a penalty rate applied to their payment: some of these clients may have had the penalty rate applied after finishing their engagement period with the JobPath service, so the actual numbers who have had a penalty rate applied while with the JobPath service will be lower. Application of penalty rates is not routinely recorded on a county basis but will be sourced and provided to the Deputy as soon as possible.
I hope this clarifies the matter for the deputy.