For the Government to set the rate for all people under the age 26s set at the minimum adult rate of €188 per week.

The current social welfare rates for under 26 year olds (introduced in Budget 2014) is a financial penalty for unemployed graduates and youths in Ireland with 39% of young people struggling to make ends meet nationally. The Programme for Government (38) states, “Before the economic collapse, Ireland had the highest rate of jobless households in Europe, facilitated by educational disadvantage, poor childcare, and a passive social welfare system”.  In Budget 2017, the maximum personal rate for an adult aged 25 was increased from €144.00 to €147.80, while those aged 18-24 saw an increase from €100 to €102.70. The breakdown can be found below:

The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for persons aged 15-24 years (youth unemployment rate) was 12.9% in April 2017, a decrease from 13.7% in March 2011. Despite initiatives to incentivise young people to work with 3,250 places being created since 2013 there are 16,082 young people in long-term unemployment seeing majority of young people struggling on €100 p/w or €144 p/w and the will still struggle on the new rates with just a €2.70 increase a week.

Ireland currently has the fourth highest number of young people who are ‘Not in Employment, Education or Training’ (NEETs) in the European Union with 18.4% compared with the EU average of 12.9% (EuroStat, 2014).  Even if young job-seekers entered the Labour Market earning minimum wage the weekly take home pay (minus USC) is approximately €329.  This should be considered a financial incentive to work compared to the proposed €188 p/w rate (NYCI, 2016).

Despite efforts to implementing the Pathways to Work 5 Year Strategy, which aims to help 50,000 Long-Term Unemployed (unemployed for 12 months) people into jobs (Department of Social Protection, 2015), there are 179,500 persons unemployed. With young people lacking necessary experience in a competitive Labour Market, and a timeframe of up to 12 months being unemployed to enter JobPlus to further obtain employment and skills (Department of Social Protection, 2016), young people cannot survive on the current Jobseekers’ Allowances with the cost of living of a single adult being €184 pw (Vincentian Partnership, 2013). USI support NYCI’s claim to restore over time the Jobseekers’ Allowance starting with an immediate investment of €24m.

Costings:


For a gradual increase:
€24mNote, for a full restoration: €149m

Responsibility: Department of Social Protection