Ireland is in the midst of a serious unemployment crisis, a crisis which gives rise to many negative economic and social consequences – for society as a whole and for individuals and their families.
In our Programme for Government we undertook to introduce a better approach to how the State engages with and supports the unemployed to get back into the workforce.
Pathways to Work sets out how we intend to do this and is a key element of our strategy to get Ireland working again. Delivered alongside the measures in the Government’s Action Plan on Jobs to help create new employment opportunities, we aim to avoid a repeat of the mistakes of the 1980s and 1990s when unemployment remained high even after economic recovery took hold.
The approach set out in this statement will build on existing Government policies to ensure that as many new job opportunities as possible are filled by those on the Live Register. Our challenge, in ‘ Pathways to Work’, is to ensure that the creation of new jobs results in a reduction in unemployment – particularly long-term unemployment - so that individuals do not become permanently disenfranchised within our society. Our aim is to engage with every unemployed individual to make sure that their first day out of work is also their first step on the pathway back to work.
‘ Pathways to Work’ has five strands:
- more regular and on-going engagement with people who are unemployed
- greater targeting of activation places and opportunities
- incentivising the take-up of opportunities
- incentivising employers to provide more jobs for people who are unemployed, and
- reforming institutions to deliver better services to people who are unemployed.
These strands will ensure that Ireland’s greatest resource, its people, will no longer remain on the Live Register for lengthy periods without an appropriate offer of assistance from the State. In return, individuals will be made aware of their responsibility to commit to job-search and/or other employment, education and training activities or risk losing welfare entitlements.
Together, the five strands of ‘ Pathways to Work’ present a coherent, effective and overdue transformation of Ireland’s labour market activation policies.
Enda Kenny TD , Taoiseach
Eamon Gilmore TD, Tánaiste
Joan Burton TD, Minister for Social Protection
Ruairí Quinn TD, Minister for Education and Skills