Dole cut if unemployed won't accept job help
UNEMPLOYED people risk losing their social welfare benefits for failing to engage with private companies hired to help them get off the dole and into jobs.
The career guidance firms will be paid by the Government from next year to help long-term unemployed people to find a job by offering them advice, helping them get training, apply for appropriate jobs and prepare for interviews.
Social Protection Minister Joan Burton will bring a proposal to Cabinet next month to sign off on successful bidder from the tendering of the scheme, known as JobPath.
The Department of Social Protection has started to draw a clear link between an person's entitlement to welfare and their responsibility to engage with the State's employment services.
"That link will be similarly evident through JobPath - those referred will be expected to engage," a Government source said.
However, the private companies will not be allowed to make decisions on the welfare entitlements of jobseekers.
"This function will remain with the department at all times," a source said.
Dozens of people who failed to show any interest in getting work have had their entire €188-per-week dole payments cut off in recent years.
The power to suspend payments for two months was introduced by Ms Burton to tackle people who repeatedly refused to turn up to interviews with social welfare staff or take up offers of jobs or training.
Social welfare officers already had the power to cut dole payments by up to €44 per week. Under JobPath, up to 1,000 new staff will be working with more than 110,000 long-term unemployed people over the coming years.
The companies will be obliged to accept all unemployed people referred by the Department and won't have role in selecting people for referral.