Thursday, 4 April 2019
Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection
13. To ask the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the date for the publication of the report into the impact of reduced jobseeker's payments for persons aged 18 to 25 years of age which was due to be published two years ago; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [15640/19]
Reduced rates for young recipients of Jobseeker’s Allowance (JA) aged 18-25 were introduced on a phased basis to tackle high youth unemployment and prevent long term welfare dependency, and this is in line with practice in other EU and OECD jurisdictions. If a young jobseeker participates in education or training they will receive the maximum weekly rate of payment of €203. This includes the €5 weekly increase applied from last week, which I secured as part of Budget 2019.
There are a number of measures in place to assist young people into employment or training. In 2013 the EU adopted a Council Recommendation to member states on a Youth Guarantee. Under the Youth Guarantee process case officers engage with unemployed young people, on a monthly basis, to prepare and implement personal progression plans for employment.
Where young people do not find work quickly, additional supports are offered through places on employment and training schemes, which are closely aligned to the needs of the labour market. I also recently launched the Youth Employment Support Scheme (YESS) which is a work experience scheme targeted exclusively at young jobseekers facing barriers to employment. Participants receive a payment of €229.20 per week.
These policies have been effective in reducing both youth and long-term unemployment. For example, the most recent data shows that Irish youth unemployment has fallen from a peak of 31.2% in 2012 to 13.4% in March 2019. Irish youth unemployment has fallen from well above the EU average in 2012 of 23% to below the current EU figure of 14.9%.
As an input to our review of the impact of the changed payment rates the National University of Ireland, Maynooth undertook research which examined the effectiveness of the reduced rates in encouraging young jobseekers to avail of education, training and employment. This research was completed in late 2018 and found very positive results for those 18 year olds on JA at the age related reduced rate, noting a significant reduction from 111 weeks to approximately 50 weeks in unemployment durations. The detailed findings in the report will be used to inform my Department’s own review report which will be completed in the coming months. I will arrange to provide a summary of the NUIM findings to the Deputy.