A FATHER-OF-two who works 19.5 hours a week under a community work placement scheme gets an extra €2.38 on top of his weekly social welfare payments, despite being told it would be €20.
Speaking to TheJournal.ie this week, Martin*, said he has no problem working for the money paid to him by the Department of Social Protection, but he doesn’t feel the extra fee is sufficient for almost 20 hours of work each week.
“The job is perfect, the job I’m working in is a great place and they understand it’s completely ridiculous to work 20 hours a week for an extra €2.38,” he said.
What angers me the most is that they promise you €20 to get you interested and you come up with only €2.38.
The reason for this is the PRSI charged on the extra money he earns, as his income has exceeded the €352 a week cut off point. Sinn Féin has previously pointed to problems with schemes run by the Department of Social protection which appear to punish families with children.
In some cases, a household with more than five children will have less money coming in because a parent is a participant in one of the schemes, despite the fact that they are now working.
“It makes me sick and I can’t wait for them to start canvassing at my door for votes,” Martin said. “I can completely understand you have to work for your money and it’s good to be working, I can keep my head up now, but what I’m doing now is a very low paid job – €20 is not €2.38.”
In response to a query on the topic, the Department of Social Protection said participants in the Tús scheme, like other job schemes, “have the benefit of working with a reputable employer and have the opportunity to gain additional skills and access further opportunities”.
“The experience of participants on community employment and Tús have been very positive,” it said. In particular, it highlights the benefits to the jobseeker of being able to engage in work, of breaking the cycle of unemployment and availing of the wider opportunities offered by being in a work environment”.
However the department said the issue of PRSI due on Tús earnings will be raised by Minister Burton with the Minister for Finance ahead of the next Budget.
*The identity of the man quoted in this article is known to TheJournal.ie but he did not wish to be named.