Friday 24 October 2014

Private firms to help get 
unemployed off the dole

Fees only paid by State if job lasts

Published 13/08/2014 | 02:30

Last month new Tanaiste Joan Burton committed to building 25,000 houses a year.
Last month new Tanaiste Joan Burton committed to building 25,000 houses a year.

PRIVATE companies will be hired later this year to help unemployed people get off the dole and into jobs.

But the career guidance firms will only be paid the bulk of their fees by the Government if the job actually lasts.

The firms will be employed by the State to help long-term unemployed people find a job by offering them advice, helping them get training, apply for 
appropriate positions and prepare for interviews.

Up to 1,000 staff will be working with more than 110,000 long-term unemployed people over the coming years.

However, the companies will only be paid the bulk of their fees if the job lasts.

"Contractors will not be able to recover their costs or make any profit unless they place jobseekers into sustained employment," a Government source said.

The move ensures there is an incentive for the companies to get unemployed people into real jobs, rather than temporary positions.

The companies will be obliged to accept all unemployed people referred by the Department and won't have a role in selecting people for referral.

"This is to prevent so called cream-skimming of employable jobseekers in preference to jobseekers that are more distant from the labour market," a source said.

Social Protection Minister Joan Burton will bring a proposal to Cabinet next month to sign off on successful bidders from the tendering of the scheme, known as JobPath.

The companies will be paid a mixture of referral fees and job sustainment fees. The referral fees will be paid upon completion of a "personal progression plan" for each jobseeker, advising on how to find a job.

But the referral fees will be just 10pc of the maximum fees a company can receive for any individual client.

"The bulk of income will be derived from job sustainment fees, and these payments will be made only if the jobseeker secures employment while on the JobPath programme and only in respect of periods of sustained employment of 13 weeks up to a maximum of 52 weeks. In other words, contractors will have to produce tangible results in order to secure the bulk of payment," a source said.

Under the plan, the country will be broken into two 
regions - with one going to each successful bidder. Each region will contain a mixture of major employment centres and unemployment blackspots.

Employing up to 1,000 extra staff to help those on the Live Register get into employment, the companies are expected to work with more than 110,000 long-term unemployed people in the coming years.

Negotiations are expected to take two to three months once the Government has given its approval. The companies will need about six months to get up and running after being awarded the contract.

JobPath is expected to start working with unemployed people in the first half of next year.

Although unemployment has dropped from a peak of 15pc to 11.5pc following falls in the Live Register over 25 months, long-term unemployment is still extremely high.

At the moment, the Department of Social Protection has about 300 of its own staff working with unemployed people, known as "casework duties".

But the resources are stretched to deal with the scale of the problem.

The private companies will work in addition to the staff in the department in helping unemployed people find work.

Irish Independent

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