A BUSINESSMAN told yesterday how he was "gobsmacked" when he offered a permanent job to two workers who had been unemployed for two years -- but both turned it down because they get more in handouts from the State.
David Lawlor, of Watermark Technology in Citywest, Dublin, and who owns the distribution rights to Gaggia commercial coffee machines in Ireland and the UK, was offering a job in maintenance for an annual wage of €28,000.
A person on the national minimum wage of €7.65 an hour would earn €15,912.
First,the businessman offered the position to a Romanian national who has been living here for a number of years. But he quit after just one day.
"He's married, with kids, and is renting," said Mr Lawlor, adding that the man qualifies for multiple types of social welfare.
"He'd been working for a rival but had been let go two years ago. He started on the Tuesday and on the Wednesday he said he felt he was entitled to more money.
"He said he'd get more money on the dole."
Mr Lawlor had pointed out to the man that he could also earn overtime, at one-and-a-half times the rate, as well as have the use of a company van for incidental personal use.
"A lot of these guys are handy, so they do nixers; they have that on top of their dole."
The following week Mr Lawlor offered the job to a Filipino national, who, he said, had the skills required and had done the "best ever interview". He had been living here for several years, had four children and drove an "06 or 07 car".
During the interview Mr Lawlor -- who employs 10 people -- discovered the man had been involved in an industrial dispute with his previous company and had been unable to find another job.
"He was in a situation where no one would give him a job. But I figured that I would be able to manage the situation because I work very closely with my employees.
"But he went home and the next day he called and told me his wife said they would get more money on the dole."
Mr Lawlor said he was frustrated that, despite receiving almost 300 CVs and offering the job twice, he still could not find someone.
"It's a good job, it's secure, and it's well over the minimum wage. Yet we can't fill it.
"We've got people here who don't want to work, they don't want to be worse off (than on the dole)."
He said the new Government must tackle the issue for the sake of the economy.
"There are politicians here but they're not living in the real world where there are real problems. And until they fix those problems, we're going to go nowhere.
''If anybody out there is listening, I want them to know this is a real issue."
Figures supplied by the Revenue show that a single person earning €28,000 would net €23,565.36 with basic tax credits. This would rise to €23,924.88 for a medical card holder as they would pay 4pc Universal Social Charge (USC).
A married person on the same salary would have additional credits and would take home €25,215.36, rising to €25,574.88 if they hold a medical card and pay the reduced USC of 4pc.
The USC for non-medical card holders is 7pc for all earnings over €16,016.