UNEMPLOYED people will have to sign a "contract" before they can get their dole payments in a radical shake-up of the social welfare system.
It is the first time that people seeking jobseekers payments will have to undergo such a process.
Previously it was a matter of supplying basic personal details such as name, age and PPS number to get a payment.
Under the “social contract”, they will have to co-operate with social welfare staff to develop a “Personal Progression Plan” to help them secure training or employment.
They will also have to attend all scheduled meetings and provide all the requested information about their job history and education level.
Social Protection Minister Joan Burton’s department said that people who fail to live up to their commitments under the contract will have their payments reduced and ultimately cut off.
The new system for helping unemployed people is designed to improve the training and job opportunities available to them. Rather than being left to drift into long term unemployment, they will be expected under their contract to engage with social welfare staff to improve their chances of getting a job.
The new system, known as Intreo, is in place in just four of the state’s social welfare offices at the moment – Sligo town, Parnell Street in Dublin, the Square in Tallaght and Arklow in Wicklow.
It is due to be rolled out in all social welfare offices by 2014.