The Department's jobseekers scheme can provide for the provision of income support for jobseekers whose number of working days are reduced by employers arising from difficult trading conditions or the need, for example, to scale back production for various reasons. This can help employers maintain flexibility during periods of temporary economic downturn, without resorting to permanent lay-offs, and such arrangements have been used extensively in Ireland in the past. During the period 2008-2010, approximately 40,000 individuals availed of the Systematic Short-Time scheme, which is thought to have been a major factor in ensuring that unemployment did not increase as rapidly as initially predicted.
This presents an opportunity for employers to retain skilled labour, in a reduced capacity, thus avoiding the need to recruit once the economic situation improves.
Short-time work arrangements in Ireland operate under the Systematic Short-Time (SST) programme, as part of the Jobseeker’s Benefit /Jobseekers Allowance scheme. The scheme is designed for use in situations where an employee’s working hours are reduced by their employer on a temporary basis.
Any proposed changes or expansions to the existing scheme(s) would need to be considered in the overall policy and budgetary context.