Claim: Existing welfare payments for those under 26 years are a disincentive to work.
Fact: Where young people can secure a job there are strong financial incentives to do so. Prior to the recent budget changes, a young person aged 23-24 years was in receipt of €144 per week (pw) and those aged 25 received €188. Now it is proposed to reduce this to €100 and €144 pw respectively. The majority of young jobseekers do not claim secondary benefits so this is the maximum payment they receive. Even if young jobseekers were to take up a job on minimum wage rates they would have a weekly take home pay (minus USC) of approximately €329. So there is a clear financial incentive for young jobseekers to take up employment even when paid minimum wage rates compared to existing welfare payments as 23-24 year olds would receive an additional €185 pw and those aged 25 an extra €141 pw in work compared to being on jobseekers allowance.
Claim: Young people are unwilling to take up available employment.
Fact: This assertion by some has really angered and demoralized the young people we work with. The vast majority of jobseekers are actively seeking work, which is very challenging when we know that there is one advertised job for every 32 jobseekers. Young jobseekers are sending out applications and in many cases are lucky to get an acknowledgment. We also know from Eurostat figures that participation in the labour market by young people in from 2004-2006 when we had a buoyant labour market was among the highest in the EU http://notesonthefront.typepad.com/.a/6a00d8342f650553ef019b00351aaf970c-pi This clearly shows that when jobs are available, young people will take them up.
Claim: Government states that this decision will encourage young people to take up education, training and work experience opportunities.
Fact: We estimate that these cuts will impact on at least 20,853 young jobseekers in 2014 based on those already on the Live Register, not taking into account the new claimants aged 22-25 years from January 2014. From our analysis of the Budget measures, Government is providing an additional 3,250 places on Tús, Momentum and JobBridge. It is not possible to say how many places will be created on JobPlus, as this is an employer led scheme. Therefore 20,853 young people are being “incentivized” into a guaranteed extra 3,250 places. There is already a lack of quality education, training and work experience opportunities. Since 2008, successive Governments have failed to provide sufficient places. We support activation into quality and meaningful education, training and work experience opportunities, but young people cannot access places that do not exist.
Claim: Government states that it is implementing a “Youth Guarantee” and that this will meet the needs of young jobseekers. This “guarantees” every young person a quality education, training or work experience place if they are unemployed for 4 months or more.
Fact: The allocation of an initial €14m for the Youth Guarantee in Budget 2014 is welcome; however, it represents 5% of the estimated annual cost of a comprehensive Youth Guarantee scheme. While exact estimates on the cost of implementation of the Youth Guarantee in Ireland are difficult, NYCI estimated in early 2013 that full implementation would cost in the region of €273m https://www.youth.ie/sites/youth.ie/files/NYCI_051_A4_accessible.pdf per annum based on the number of young people unemployed for six months for more. The Irish Government can access European funds to compliment exchequer funding of about 66% of the overall expenditure. The Government has established an interdepartmental working group to develop a plan for Ireland which must be submitted to the EU by the end of this year.
Claim: Government stated it is investing a further €46m in education, training and work experience opportunities for the under 25s as part of Budget 2014 and mentions four specific schemes, JobPlus, JobBridge, Tús and Momentum. http://www.welfare.ie/en/pressoffice/pdf/sp151013.pdf Page 3
Fact: No breakdown is given on the “additional” €46m, some of which is not new money. More important is the number of places being provided. At best we can say that 3,250 new places are being created and additional places depend largely on employer recruitment of under 26s.
- Both JobPlus and JobBridge are demand led schemes; it will depend on employers taking on employees and interns. We already know that only 29% of interns on JobBridge are under 25 years. The reduction from 12 to 6 months in eligibility for under 25s in JobsPlus is welcome, although surprised not extended to 25 year olds.
- Momentum is an existing scheme, we welcome the fact it will be continued in 2014 but the additional places for under 25s is 750 rather than 2,000 as there are 1,250 under 25s on the existing scheme.
All we can say for certain is that an additional 3,250 places have been created (1,000 TUS, 750 Momentum, 1,500 JobBridge) for the under 25s. Extra places on JobPlus depend on employers.
Claim: Most young jobseekers are living at home and therefore have the financial support of their parents/family and don’t need welfare payments.
Fact: The OECD report “Getting Youth on the Job Track” found in 2011 that 40% of young people aged 16-24 in Ireland were at risk of poverty, which is the highest in the EU. Budget 2014 will make that situation worse. The Vincentian Partnership state that the cost of a single adult living as part of a household will be €184 in 2014. https://docs.google.com/file/d/0B-cR3V9wzdlJSnpCVVRsSTVBeXc/edit?usp=sharing&pli=1 Young people on €100 and €144 respectively are going to be surviving on incomes well below the poverty line. Also young jobseekers living with their parents are subject to a means test where the income of their parents is taken into account in a process known as a “benefit and privilege” assessment. We know that 19,405 applicants under the age of 25 had their application for Jobseekers’ Allowance refused from 2009-2012. This clearly shows that the payment is going to young people who are living in relatively low income households.
Claim: Government states that this cut only affects young people on Jobseekers’ Allowance.
Fact: While it is true that this cut only applies to young people on Jobseekers’ Allowance, they represent 92% of all claimants as the majority of young people lack the 104 weeks PRSI contribution to qualify for Jobseekers’ Benefits because they have not entered employment or have worked for less than 2 years.
Claim: Ireland has a well developed strategy to address youth unemployment
Fact: In September the OECD in their report “Getting Youth on the Job Track” stated that “A comprehensive national strategy to tackle the very high unemployment rates among the young is lacking. Youth Policy is fragmented, with several Government departments taking individual action. A more coordinated and tailored approach to the is required”
Some of the other main points in their report were;
- Introduction of Intreo welcome but “pace of reform implementation is slow”
- At present each caseworker in Department of Social Protection oversees 800 jobseekers, which is high by international standards.
- We spend 0.05% of GDP on placement services; UK spends 0.19% and Nordic 0.21%. This disadvantages young jobseekers as they require more support, career advice and job counseling
- Queries why there is “no specific provision for youth entrepreneurship”
 Dáil Question 321 September 24th 2013
 Getting Youth on the Job Track, OECD, Economic Survey of Ireland, September 2013 P63
 Dáil Question 322, September 24th 2013
 Dáil Question 371, 372 May 28th 2013
 Getting Youth on the Job Track, OECD, Economic Survey of Ireland, September 2013 P67