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Parachute dole cash work plan for parents

The Government plans to give unemployed parents coming off the dole a bridging payment to ease their return to work.

Under the plan, parents returning to work would continue to be paid €29.80 a week per child for up to a year on top of their salary.

Tanaiste and Social Protection Minister, Joan Burton, is bringing the proposal forward as part of a drive to eliminate welfare traps, where people feel better off staying out of work and are less inclined to search for employment opportunities.

The payments are regarded as a safeguard against poverty for low income families.

Payments

Under the proposal, a parent of six children, returning to work, could be paid more than €9,000 or €173.40 a week, should the payments remain in place for 12 months.

A parent of four children would receive €6,200 over the year, while a parent with two children would receive €3,099.

The proposal has been agreed in principle between Fine Gael and Labour.

But Government sources were keen to stress last night that many details remain to be worked out.

Fianna Fail's Social Protection spokesman, Willie O'Dea, said the proposal was a crude instrument which won't tackle the problem of incentivising people back to work.

"As stated, this simply delays the cliff dilemma of the parent losing the money," he said.

"It should be a graduated system, where there is a reduction of the amounts paid as the months go by.

"All this would do is encourage the parent to drop back on to the dole again after 12 months."

However, Brid O'Brien, of the National Organisation of the Unemployed, said any initiative which will help make the transition back to work as smooth as possible is welcome.

"The vast majority of people who are unemployed want to work," she said.

"This is welcome, but I would support calls to graduate any reductions in the payments."

Child Benefit payments are not affected by this proposal.

hnews@herald.ie


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