Tuesday, 26 March 2019

Questions (1290)

James Browne


1290. Deputy James Browne asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection her views on whether the practice by Turas Nua of requesting companies declining jobseekers work to issue a letter with the person's personal public service number, PPSN, is compliant with data protection legislation; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [13607/19]

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Written answers (Question to Employment)

My Department collects and holds large volumes of personal data and is very aware of the need to have adequate data protection policies, procedures and structures in place in line with current data protection legislation.

My Department’s contracts with the JobPath providers are in compliance with all relevant legislation and any information shared is contractually based and necessary to provide a service. All contracts in place are governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of Ireland and the courts of Ireland have exclusive jurisdiction over these contracts.

In addition, JobPath providers are contractually required to register with the Office of the Data Protection Commissioner as data processors and are legally bound to observe and adhere to data protection requirements.

The JobPath Providers are required to offer in-work support to the customer for up to twelve months while they remain in employment. This includes scheduled contact with the person as well as ad-hoc contact should they need immediate support or advice, this may be particularly important for those in temporary or part-time employment to provide the specific support needed to progress to more sustainable permanent employment.

The JobPath providers may contact employers as part of the in work support provided to JobPath customers who attain sustainable employment while with the JobPath service. In addition, contractors may, with the jobseekers consent, provide non-personal information to prospective employers or assist jobseekers in completing job application forms.

Personal data is not shared by the JobPath providers with employers or shared with other third parties. Sub-contractors engaged by the JobPath service providers for the purpose of delivering the JobPath service are also fully governed by the same contractual obligation as the main contractor.

A JobPath service customer is not under an obligation to provide employment or employer details to the JobPath provider but, if they wish to do so and avail of the in-employment support offered, all information will be treated confidentially.

My Department has regular meetings with both JobPath providers to ensure that they are fully aware of and are fulfilling their contractual obligations, including those concerned with data protection regulations. Both companies have undertaken regular independent audits of their data processes and procedures as part of these contractual obligations, in addition, the Office of the Data Protection Commissioner has conducted audits of each JobPath company. Employees of both companies, and their subcontractors, are subject to the same data protection laws as Departmental staff.

It is not appropriate, nor is it normal practice for Turas Nua to request that an employer provide a letter when declining a job applicant and Turas Nua have informed my Department that they are not aware of any incidence of this occurring. However, if the Deputy has details of a particular case , he should bring it to my Department's attention and my officials will investigate it further.