A MAJOR agency for the unemployed is concerned at a "harsh" government plan to make jobless people post their CVs online or face losing their benefits.
The Irish National Organisation of the Unemployed warned the measure to axe dole payments to those who do not cooperate must not be used as a threat, especially against those who are not well versed in IT.
Minister of State at the Department of Social Protection, Kevin Humphreys, has revealed that the plan is being introduced next year. He said the department has to ensure jobseekers are doing everything they can to get back to work.
The move is part of a revamp of the old Fas JobsIreland.ie website, now run by Solas, to allow employers search the Live Register for job candidates.
Local social welfare officers will first ask claimants to upload their CVs to continue getting paid. It is understood that the government is prepared to introduce legislation to allow the halting of benefits.
Co-ordinator of the INOU, John Stewart, said he hoped the department's intention is to genuinely help the out-of-work input information about their skills and experience and an opportunity for employers to access that information.
"I hope that is the case and this is not a measure to weed out those not looking for work, because the vast majority of the unemployed are desperately anxious to get back to work," he said.
"I'm concerned that claimants do not have their jobseekers payment stopped. That would seem to be a very harsh decision if taken."
He said his organisation will be contacting the minister to clarify what is proposed and whether failure to upload a CV will mean a penalty or the complete loss of a welfare payment.
Mr Stewart said there are already a number of checks in place to ensure claimants are genuine. If a jobseeker does not automatically qualify for a payment, they are means tested and have to provide evidence they are looking for a job.
He said there are also security and data protection issues around the plan that have to be clarified. "First of all, my concern would be who would have access to the information submitted," he said.
"In the not too distant past, there was an issue regarding people purporting to be one thing but their motives were quite different. This is in relation to private investigators accused of stealing personal data from the Department of Social Protection,"
He said the jobless must be given adequate support to prepare their CVs.