Tuesday, 8 October 2019

Questions (489)

James Browne


489. Deputy James Browne asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the steps she will take to ensure that a person (details supplied) does not need to attend Turas Nua appointments; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [41040/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Employment)

All Jobseekers on the live register; including those working part time and in receipt of jobseeker payments must be capable of; available for and actively seeking full time employment, they are also required to engage with the Department’s activation services. The Social Welfare (Consolidated) Act 2005, as amended, specifies that participation in activation meetings is mandatory.

JobPath is an employment activation service provided by my Department that supports people who are long-term unemployed, including those in casual or part time employment. The person concerned was referred to JobPath on the 2nd March 2019 as a part-time casual worker.

Customers referred to JobPath who are working part-time have all activities including meetings with their personal advisor scheduled around their work commitments and the JobPath contractors are required to be flexible in the provision of the service in that respect.

JobPath contractors give due notice of any changes to scheduled appointments including cancellations. Unfortunately in this case I am advised that appointments have been cancelled at short notice due to unforeseen emergency personal circumstances of the Turas Nua employee. It was not possible to provide written notice to the client in these instances due to the limited time involved. On each occasion an SMS message was sent to the individual in advance of the appointment time notifying them of the cancellations.

In the case of the customer concerned several scheduled appointments have been rescheduled at the customer’s request due to their work commitments. Turas Nua will not request a customer to forgo paid employment to attend a scheduled appointment.

I am advised that the person concerned had not attended two scheduled appointments, Turas Nua were not notified by the individual of their reason for non-attendance. In such instances the service provider is contracted to refer a customer to their local Intreo Centre to be advised of their obligation to attend scheduled appointments, as was the case for this individual.

JobPath providers give an immediate reimbursement for travel expenses for all customers that use public transport or private transport to attend scheduled appointments. This includes a contribution towards fuel costs for travel by car, based on miles travelled to and from scheduled appointments. Clients of the service are made aware of this policy when they first engage with the service. In this case the customer has not sought reimbursement of their travel cost for using their own car for attending scheduled appointments.

As the person concerned is still in receipt of a Jobseeker’s payment she is therefore expected to continue to attend scheduled appointments with the Job Path service.

I trust this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.