JobPath Data

Ceisteanna (460)

Dara Calleary

Ceist:

460. Deputy Dara Calleary asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection if information (details supplied) will be provided in tabular form. [48545/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Employment)

As the Deputy will be aware, JobPath is a case management service that provides employment counselling and advice to long-term unemployed jobseekers with a view to improving their prospects of securing sustained full-time employment.

The service is provided to help and support clients to identify and pursue suitable job opportunities themselves with the help of a Personal Adviser. Support can range from CV preparation, to assisting with job applications, to, in some cases, financial assistance for clothing or transport costs at interview stage or in the first days of employment.

The data requested in questions (a) - (d) is too voluminous to be answered in this Parliamentary Question. Therefore my officials will provide the data requested directly to the Deputy. I am advised that data is not compiled on referrals or employments by contractor office, however we can supply this data by county to the Deputy.

The total amount of fees paid by my Department to the JobPath Providers from January 2016 to the end of June 2019 is as per Table 1 below.

I trust this clarifies matters for the Deputy.

Table 1: Fees paid to the JobPath providers January 2016 - June 2019

Year

Amount paid to Seetec

Amount Paid to Turas Nua

2016

€10.7m

€14.5m

2017

€27.6m

€29.8m

2018

€38.1m

€33.6m

2019 (Jan-June)

€18.2m

€13.8m

Social Welfare Benefits Waiting Times

Ceisteanna (461)

Pearse Doherty

Ceist:

461. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the reason for the delay in processing medical evidence with the medical review and assessments department; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [48546/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Employment)

The Medical Review and Assessment Section (MRAS), in conjunction with individual scheme business sections, co-ordinates and manages all referrals for assessment to the Medical Assessors.

The Department offers a number of schemes on illness, disability; carers and occupational injury and applications vary in volume and frequency both yearly and seasonally.

High volume and resource intensive schemes like Domiciliary Care Allowance and Disability Allowance would have a higher proportion of Medical Assessors delegated to assessing these schemes. Medical Assessors are assigned to specific schemes on a daily basis.

The length of time taken for each scheme for desk assessments varies depending on the complexities of the case and the volume of documents submitted, Domiciliary Care Allowance is one such example. Therefore it is not feasible to allocate a fixed time for each case as they are unique in their own way even with clients of similar diagnosis. The Medical Assessor will take the time as required to read, analyse and evaluate each case in the assessment and arrives at the clinical opinion for capacity for work or the need for full time care. Furthermore, the Medical Assessor will take the time to prepare the narrative for the reasoning in the event of a not eligible opinion.

My department has efficiently reduced waiting times for medical assessments of claim applications in all schemes to between one to four weeks.

I hope this satisfactorily clarifies the concerns raised by the Deputy.

Disability Allowance Applications

Ceisteanna (462)

Willie O'Dea

Ceist:

462. Deputy Willie O'Dea asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection when a decision will be made on a disability allowance application by a person (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. [48553/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Employment)

I confirm that an application from this gentleman for disability allowance (DA) was received by the Department on 22 July 2019.

On 26 September 2019 the person concerned was requested to supply supporting documentation required by the deciding officer in order to make a decision on his eligibility.

The application has been referred to a Social Welfare Inspector (SWI) for a report on the person’s means and circumstances. Once the SWI has submitted his/her report to DA section, a decision will be made on the application and this gentleman will be notified directly of the outcome.

I trust this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.

Community Employment Schemes Supervisors

Ceisteanna (463)

Jack Chambers

Ceist:

463. Deputy Jack Chambers asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the status of efforts to address the pension issues for community employment supervisors and assistant supervisors based on the 2008 Labour Court recommendation and in view of the Fianna Fáil motion on the issue, which was passed by Dáil Éireann in 2018; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [48591/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Employment)

The Community Employment (CE) programme is designed to enhance employability by providing work experience and training opportunities for people within their communities.

The programme is operated by CE Sponsors, who are typically voluntary and community organisations wishing to benefit the local community. These CE Sponsoring organisations contract, as independent employers, with my Department on an annual basis, to provide job seekers and other vulnerable groups with good quality work experience and training qualifications within their communities to support their progression into employment.

Under the annual agreement my Department funds the employment of CE participants, and provides funding towards training, material and supervisory costs. Grant aid is provided by my Department to cover these costs on a per capita basis. The agreement clearly establishes the role of the CE Sponsor as an independent contractor, responsible for all persons recruited by them.

I am very aware of the valuable and dedicated service that Community Employment (CE) sponsor organisations provide in running CE Schemes across the country. CE supervisors, as employees of these organisations, are an integral part of that good work. However, CE supervisors are not employed by my Department, nor are they public servants.

My Department is currently engaging with representatives of CE supervisors to discuss issues arising following that 2008 Labour Court Recommendation and all parties have agreed that the detail of all discussions undertaken by the group should remain confidential until the process has completed. I expect an outcome shortly.

Carer's Benefit Applications

Ceisteanna (464)

Brendan Griffin

Ceist:

464. Deputy Brendan Griffin asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection if a decision has been made on an application for carer's benefit by a person (details supplied) in County Kerry; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [48607/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Employment)

Carer's benefit (CARB) is a payment made to insured people who leave the workforce to care for a child or an adult in need of full-time care and attention. An increased payment can be made where full-time care is being provided to two people.

To qualify the carer must satisfy PRSI conditions, employment conditions, show that they are providing full-time care and attention and must show that the care recipient requires full-time care and attention.

An application for CARB was received from the person concerned on the 1st October 2019. The application is currently being processed and once completed, the person concerned will be notified directly of the outcome.

In the meantime if the person concerned is experiencing financial difficulties, she can contact her local Intreo Centre to apply for a means-tested payment under the Department's Supplementary Welfare Allowance (SWA) scheme.

I hope this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.

Carer's Support Grant

Ceisteanna (465)

Brendan Griffin

Ceist:

465. Deputy Brendan Griffin asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection if a carer's support grant payment will be made available to a person (details supplied) in County Kerry; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [48614/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Employment)

The Carer’s Support Grant is an annual payment paid by my Department to full time carers.

The person concerned was awarded the 2018 and 2019 Grants on 4 October 2019. Written notification of this award was sent to her that day. An amount of €3,400 (€1,700 for 2018 and €1,700 for 2019) was sent to her nominated bank account on 10 October 2019.

I trust this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.

Free Travel Scheme Eligibility

Ceisteanna (466)

Tom Neville

Ceist:

466. Deputy Tom Neville asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection if an application by a person (details supplied) will be reviewed; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [48624/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Employment)

The person concerned applied for a Companion Free Travel Pass on 26 August 2019. The application was assessed by the Department’s Medical Adviser on 07 September 2019. Based on the medical evidence provided, the application was disallowed on 14 September 2019.

It is open to the person concerned to provide additional (or specialist) medical evidence in support of their claim for a Companion Free Travel Pass. If further evidence is provided, the matter will be re-examined.

I hope this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.

Invalidity Pension Eligibility

Ceisteanna (467)

Robert Troy

Ceist:

467. Deputy Robert Troy asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection if a full invalidity pension will be awarded to a person (details supplied). [48669/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Employment)

Invalidity pension (IP) is a payment for people who are permanently incapable of work because of illness or incapacity and who satisfy the pay related social insurance (PRSI) contribution conditions.

The department received a claim for IP for the lady concerned on 11 September 2019. This claim was disallowed on the grounds that the medical conditions for the scheme were not satisfied. She was notified on the 20 November 2019 of this decision, the reasons for it and of her right of review and appeal.

I hope this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.

Disability Allowance Applications

Ceisteanna (468)

Tom Neville

Ceist:

468. Deputy Tom Neville asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the status of a disability allowance application by a person (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. [48682/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Employment)

I am advised by the Social Welfare Appeals Office that an Appeals Officer, having fully considered all of the available evidence, has decided to disallow the appeal of the person concerned by way of a summary decision. The person concerned was notified of the Appeals Officer’s decision on 20 November 2019.

The Social Welfare Appeals Office functions independently of the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection and of the Department and is responsible for determining appeals against decisions in relation to social welfare entitlements.

I trust this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.

JobPath Data

Ceisteanna (469, 470, 471, 472, 473)

John Brady

Ceist:

469. Deputy John Brady asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the number of persons referred to JobPath; the number of persons referred twice, three and four times, respectively, having already spent at least one year on the scheme previously, in tabular form. [48686/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

John Brady

Ceist:

470. Deputy John Brady asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the number of registration fees paid in respect of JobPath referrals since 2015; the number of registration fees paid in respect of the same person twice, three and four times, respectively, in circumstances in which the person had spent at least one year on the scheme previously, in tabular form. [48687/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

John Brady

Ceist:

471. Deputy John Brady asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the number of persons referred to JobPath in the first year; and the number of those referred in the first year who sourced employment that was sustained for 52 weeks, in tabular form. [48688/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

John Brady

Ceist:

472. Deputy John Brady asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the number of persons referred to JobPath in the second year; and the number of those referred in the second year who sourced employment that was sustained for 52 weeks, in tabular form. [48689/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

John Brady

Ceist:

473. Deputy John Brady asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the number of persons referred to JobPath in the third year; and the number of those referred in the third year who sourced employment that was sustained for 52 weeks, in tabular form. [48690/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Employment)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 469 to 473, inclusive, together.

As the Deputy will be aware, the primary purpose of JobPath is to provide a case management based employment advice and counselling service to long term unemployed jobseekers. Between July 2015 and October 2019, some 247,296 jobseekers had commenced their engagement period with the JobPath service. Of this number, 52% were unemployed for over three years. This group, in particular, faces significant barriers when seeking to enter or return to employment in the labour market.

The numbers of clients to engage with the JobPath service for the first three years and their employment outcomes are set out in Table 1 below. It should be noted that many clients who are currently engaged with JobPath are still in the first phase of the service. They have not had sufficient time with the service to have gained employment nor sustain that employment for up to 52 weeks. Furthermore, as many clients who have commenced employment will have done so less than 52 weeks ago the numbers sustaining employment for 52 weeks is expected to increase over time. This is particularly relevant for those clients who commenced an engagement with the service in 2018.

The number of Jobseekers engaged with JobPath and the number of current subsequent engagements is set out in Table 2 below.

The number of registration fees paid in respect of JobPath referrals since 2015 as well as the number of registration fees paid in respect of the same person twice, three and four times are set out in Table 3 below. Registration fees are incurred when a client engages with the JobPath service and agrees a personal progression plan. However, due to the validation process there is a time difference between the date of the client engagement and the payment of the registration fee.

I trust that this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.

Table 1: Jobseekers engaged with JobPath & Outcomes Years 1 - 3

For the purposes of the JobPath Contracts 2015 and 2016 are considered to be Contract Year 1, however, for convenience the table below is presented by calendar year.

Contract Year

Year

Jobseekers engaged with the JobPath service

Number of Job Starts (One per referral*)

Numbers who sustained 52 weeks Employment (to date)

Year 1

2015

6,591

1,659

644

Year 1

2016

65,461

14,413

5,432

Year 2

2017

74,869

21,618

8,762

Year 3

2018

60,848

14,505

3,021

*Jobseekers may have multiple job starts during an engagement period, however, for the purposes of the above statistics only one job start per referral has been counted.

Table 2: Jobseekers engaged with JobPath & the current number of re-engagements

No.

Total number of Jobseekers engagements with JobPath July 2015 - End-October 2019

247,296

Total number of Jobseekers to complete at least one full engagement period with JobPath.

138,446

Total number of Jobseekers currently engaged with service for the 2nd time having previously completed one full engagement period.

27,490

Total number of Jobseekers currently engaged with service for the 3rd time having previously completed two full engagement periods.

1,555

Table 3: Registration Fees Processed for payment July 2015 - End October 2019

Registration Fees Processed for payment July 2015 - November 2019

Total Number of Unique Clients

Total Registration Fees paid

1 registration fee paid only

156759

156759

2 registration fees paid only

42060

84120

3 registration fees paid only

1972

5916

4 registration fees paid only

14

56

Totals

200805

246851

Carer's Allowance Payments

Ceisteanna (474)

Willie O'Dea

Ceist:

474. Deputy Willie O'Dea asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection when arrears will issue to a person (details supplied) in respect of a carer's allowance; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [48704/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Employment)

Carer's allowance (CA) is a means-tested social assistance payment made to a person who is habitually resident in the State and who is providing full-time care and attention to a child or an adult who has such a disability that as a result they require that level of care.

I can confirm that arrears of carers allowance due from 6 December 2018 to 5 June 2019, for the amount of €4,075.50, will be issued to the nominated bank account of the person concerned on 28 November 2019.

The person concerned was notified of this on 21 November 2019.

I hope this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.

Social Welfare Appeals Status

Ceisteanna (475)

Niamh Smyth

Ceist:

475. Deputy Niamh Smyth asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the status of a social welfare appeal by a person (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. [48708/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Employment)

The Social Welfare Appeals Office has advised me that an appeal by the person concerned was registered in that office. It is a statutory requirement of the appeals process that the relevant papers and comments by or on behalf of the Deciding Officer on the grounds of appeal be sought from the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection. These papers were received in the Social Welfare Appeals Office on 10 October 2019 and the case has been assigned to an Appeals Officer who will make a summary decision on the appeal based on documentary evidence presented or, if required, hold an oral hearing.

The Social Welfare Appeals Office functions independently of the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection and of the Department and is responsible for determining appeals against decisions in relation to social welfare entitlements.

I trust this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.

Carer's Allowance Applications

Ceisteanna (476)

Willie O'Dea

Ceist:

476. Deputy Willie O'Dea asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection when a decision will be made regarding a carer's allowance application by a person (details supplied) that is ongoing since January 2019; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [48716/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Employment)

Carer's allowance (CA) is a means-tested social assistance payment made to a person who is habitually resident in the State and who is providing full-time care and attention to a child or an adult who has such a disability that as a result they require that level of care.

My department received an application for carer’s allowance (CA) from the person concerned on 9 August 2019.

The application was awarded to the person concerned on 20 November 2019 and the first payment will issue to her nominated Post Office on 28 November 2019.

Arrears of allowance due from 15 August 2019 to 20 November 2019 will issue shortly.

The person concerned also applied for her payment to be backdated to the date from which domiciliary care allowance (DCA) was awarded in respect of her son. DCA was awarded on 5 November 2018, backdated to 1 November 2017. I am advised that this request was disallowed as she had not applied for CA within the 6 month allowable timeframe from the date which DCA was awarded from.

The person concerned was notified on 20 November 2019 of these decisions, the reason for them and of her right of review and appeal.

I hope this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.

Working Family Payment Applications

Ceisteanna (477)

Tom Neville

Ceist:

477. Deputy Tom Neville asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection if she will address a matter regarding the case of a person (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. [48745/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Employment)

Working Family Payment (formerly Family Income Supplement) is a weekly tax free payment which provides additional income support to employees on low earnings with children.

WFP for the person concerned was due for renewal from 30 October 2019 and an application was received on 29 August 2019

In order to process the claim, as the person concerned had a 2nd employment further information was requested on 21 October 2019 and this information was provided to us on 18 November 2019.

The person concerned has now been awarded WFP with effect from 31 October 2019 to 28 October 2020.

I trust this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.

Disability Allowance Payments

Ceisteanna (478)

Tom Neville

Ceist:

478. Deputy Tom Neville asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection if disability allowance arrears will issue to a person (details supplied); the details of the amount and arrears due to the person; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [48747/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Employment)

The person concerned has been awarded disability allowance with effect from 15 May 2019. The first payment was made by her chosen payment method on 17 October 2019.

Arrears of payment due were calculated to take account of any overlapping payments and have issued to the person concerned on 24 October 2019. A breakdown of this figure has also issued to this lady.

I trust this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.

Social Welfare Benefits Eligibility

Ceisteanna (479, 489)

Micheál Martin

Ceist:

479. Deputy Micheál Martin asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the position of workers who will retire in 2020 at 65 years of age but will not be entitled to a contributory pension until 67 years of age; if they will have an entitlement to jobseeker's payment between their retirements and pension entitlement age; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [48750/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Michael McGrath

Ceist:

489. Deputy Michael McGrath asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection her plans to ensure that persons who must retire at 65 years of age due to their contracts of employment but will not qualify for the State pension until 67 years of age from 2021 are in a position to avail of social welfare support for the intervening period; her plans to make changes in this regard; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [48956/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Employment)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 479 and 489 together.

Increasing pension age, to moderate the increase in pension duration, is a means by which pensions can be made sustainable in the context of increasing longevity. In order to provide for sustainable pensions and to facilitate a longer working life, legislation passed in 2011 provides for an increase in the State pension age in three separate stages. In 2014, the State pension age was standardised at 66. This will be increased to 67 in 2021 and 68 in 2028. The Roadmap for Pensions Reform 2018-2023 has stated that future changes in State pension age after 2035 will be based on research into life expectancy.

This sustainability is vital, if the current workers, who fund State pension payments through their PRSI, are to receive a pension themselves when they reach retirement age. It is the only feasible solution which does not involve reducing pension rates to pensioners (which would result in an increase in the rate of poverty among older people), or reducing other significant areas of Government expenditure (such as other payments made by my Department).

In most cases, it is hoped that workers will continue to work up to State pension age, and so the question of claiming a social protection payment would not arise. Where this is not possible and a person ceases their employment before reaching State pension age, they may apply for either the jobseeker’s benefit or jobseeker’s allowance schemes. Jobseeker’s payments are currently paid to eligible jobseekers aged 18 to 66 years subject to the person satisfying the general scheme conditions. Social Welfare legislation states that jobseeker payments may be made until the person reaches pensionable age provided they satisfy the necessary contribution conditions.

It is important to note that there is no legally mandated retirement age in the State, and the age at which employees retire is a matter for the contract of employment between them and their employers. While such a contract may have been entered into with a retirement age of 65, in the context of the previous State pension arrangements, there is no legal impediment to the employer and employee agreeing to increase the duration of employment for one or more years, if both parties wish to do so. In this regard, the Workplace Relations Commission has produced a Code of Practice on Longer Working and the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission (IHREC) has published guidance material for employers on the use of fixed-term contracts beyond normal retirement age.

I hope this clarifies the matter for the Deputies.

State Pension (Non-Contributory) Applications

Ceisteanna (480)

Seán Sherlock

Ceist:

480. Deputy Sean Sherlock asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the status of an application for a State pension by a person (details supplied) in County Kildare. [48755/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Employment)

An application for state pension non-contributory was received from the person concerned on 7 November 2019. A request for further information in relation to this pension claim was issued to the person concerned on 19 November 2019.

On receipt of the requested information, the person's eligibility for pension will be examined and the person concerned will be notified of the outcome in writing.

I hope that this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.

Social Welfare Benefits

Ceisteanna (481)

Jackie Cahill

Ceist:

481. Deputy Jackie Cahill asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the social welfare payment a person (details supplied) is receiving; the value of same; if the person's carer's allowance payment has ceased; if there is an application with her Department for disability or invalidity for the person; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [48756/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Employment)

Carer's allowance (CA) is a means-tested social assistance payment made to a person who is habitually resident in the State and who is providing full-time care and attention to a child or an adult who has such a disability that as a result they require that level of care.

The person concerned was in receipt of carer's allowance until 31 October 2019, at which time it was stopped as the care recipient went into full-time residential care in a nursing home.

The person concerned has been awarded a basic supplementary welfare allowance of €40.20 effective as of 7 November 2019. The three weeks of these payments due were issued as one payment of €120.60 on 21 November 2019. She has also received an Exceptional Needs Payment of €150 on 21 November 2019.

The person concerned submitted an application for Disability Allowance (DA) on 12 July 2019. I am advised that their application, based upon all the evidence submitted, was disallowed on medical grounds as it was not found that this lady was substantially restricted in taking up employment. The person concerned was notified in writing of this decision on 30 September 2019.

The person requested a review of the decision by a deciding officer (DO) and submitted additional medical evidence for consideration on 9 October 2019 and on 8 November 2019.

The person in question has also submitted an appeal, on the DA decision, to the Social Welfare Appeals Office (SWAO). All the relevant papers requested by that Office are being prepared and will be submitted by the Department shortly. The SWAO will be in touch with the person in due course in relation to the appeal.

I hope this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.

Local Employment Service

Ceisteanna (482)

Seán Haughey

Ceist:

482. Deputy Seán Haughey asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the reason the provision of the local employment service will be put out to public tender; the steps being taken to prepare for same; if she will ensure that there is a social benefit clause included in future tender documents in order that the service remains focused on the community; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [48794/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Employment)

The Local Employment Services are contracted by my Department on an annual basis to provide activation services to those on the Live Register, as well as “drop-ins” to these services. These contracts are reviewed annually to ensure they are fit-for-purpose in the context of the Irish labour market, as well as providing value for money for taxpayers.

Indecon, in its reviews of the LES and Job Clubs published last January, recommended that the Department consider the introduction of multiannual contracts and a competitive procurement process for future provision of these services. The Department has also received legal advice to the effect that renewing the LES and Job Clubs contracts annually, without any movement towards competitive procurement, is no longer sustainable.

This, combined with the closure of the JobPath contracts to new referrals at the end of 2020, provides my Department with the opportunity to review all contracted public employment services. The aim is to design and introduce a comprehensive model that will incorporate various models of response and be fit for purpose for the Irish labour market from 2021 onwards.

In September, my Department published a Request for Tender for consultancy services, to provide advice, support and assist with the procurement of contracted public employment services in Ireland, covering the period 2021-2025. It is anticipated that the successful tenderer will provide the Department with a final report in the second quarter of 2020. In the interim, no changes will be made to the current contracting process for Local Employment Services for 2020.

As part of the review of Local Employment Services officials from my Department are currently holding a series of engagements with Local Employment Servicers and Job Clubs across the State in order to hear the views of those currently providing activation services on the ground on behalf of the Department. Their views will feed into the Department’s considerations in developing an appropriate contracted public employment service for the future.

I am on the record in recognising the valuable work performed by Local Employment Services. It is my view that, within the parameters of current procurement rules, any future procurement process give due recognition to the ability to deliver high quality, locally-based services.

Indeed, it is in everyone's' interests - jobseekers, service providers and the State - to ensure, insofar as it is possible, that experienced employment service providers with a strong community ethos continue to form a core part of our employment services infrastructure.

Pensions Data

Ceisteanna (483)

John Brady

Ceist:

483. Deputy John Brady asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the estimated cost of reinstating the transition State pension in each of the years 2020 to 2026. [48850/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Employment)

The purpose of changes to the State pension age is to make the pension system more sustainable in the context of increasing life expectancy. If there is no change in State pension age, the proportion of a person's life spent in retirement will increase to levels where current workers will no longer be able to support current pensioners.

This sustainability is vital, if the current workers, who fund State pension payments through their PRSI, are to receive a pension themselves when they reach retirement age. Therefore, the Social Welfare and Pensions Act 2011 provided that State pension age will be increased gradually to 68 years. This began in January 2014 with the abolition of the State pension (transition) which was available to people aged 65 who had retired and who satisfied the PRSI qualifying conditions. This measure standardised the State pension age for all at 66 years. This is in keeping with similar measures being employed by most EU and OECD countries.

My Department's current estimate is that the net annual cost of restoring the State pension (Transition) would be €150.5m including PRSI foregone and secondary benefits. Thus the high level estimated cost for the period 2020 - 2026 would be well over €1 Billion.

I hope this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.

Pensions Data

Ceisteanna (484)

John Brady

Ceist:

484. Deputy John Brady asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the estimated cost of not implementing the pension age increase to 67 years of age in each of the years 2020 to 2026. [48851/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Employment)

Increasing pension age, to moderate the increase in pension duration, is a means by which pensions can be made sustainable in the context of increasing longevity. In order to provide for sustainable pensions and to facilitate a longer working life, legislation passed in 2011 provides for an increase in the State pension age in three separate stages. In 2014, the State pension age was standardised at 66. This will be increased to 67 in 2021 and 68 in 2028. The Roadmap for Pensions Reform 2018-2023 has stated that future changes in State pension age after 2035 will be based on research into life expectancy. This is in keeping with similar measures introduced by most EU and OECD countries.

This sustainability is vital, if the current workers, who fund State pension payments through their PRSI, are to receive a pension themselves when they reach retirement age. It is the only feasible solution which does not involve reducing pension rates to pensioners (which would result in an increase in the rate of poverty among older people), or reducing other significant areas of Government expenditure (such as other payments made by my Department).

It is estimated that the gross cost to the State Pension (Contributory) of postponing the increase in State Pension Age would be approximately €430m per annum, but the net cost is closer to €217.5 million per annum. The estimates factor in secondary costs such as foregone PRSI receipts and additional Household Benefit payments.

Therefore the estimated net cost for the period 2020 - 2026 would be over €1.5 Billion.

I hope this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.