Wednesday, 10 July 2019

Questions (405)

Willie O'Dea


405. Deputy Willie O'Dea asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the number of persons in each of the years 2011 to 2018, and to date in 2019, who have been subject to sanctions and have had their social welfare payment reduced or ceased due to no compliance as determined by her Department in tabular form; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [30412/19]

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Written answers (Question to Employment)

Penalty rates were introduced in 2011 as a means of encouraging jobseekers to engage with activation measures and to co-operate with efforts of the Department to assist them in securing employment.  The Department is committed, under Pathways to Work, to incentivise the take-up of activation opportunities, and this includes implementing sanctions for failure to engage where appropriate.

The legislation underpinning the application of penalty rates is provided for in the Social Welfare Act.  Penalty rates can only be applied in specific circumstances and the decision to impose a penalty can only be made by a Deciding Officer of the Department.  If dissatisfied with that decision it is open to the Jobseeker to appeal the decision to the Social Welfare Appeal’s Office. 

A total number of 66,628 Penalty Rates have been applied to 46,300 people over the full period from 2011 to 2 June 2019. The following table includes individuals who may have had a Penalty Rate applied in more than one year.

Details of the numbers of people who were subject to penalty rates each year since their introduction in 2011 and up to 2 June 2019.

Year Penalty Rates applied










No. of People Penalty rated