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Dublin: 15°C Sunday 17 October 2021

94 per cent of workers better off employed than on the dole, says ERSI

The report contradicts a working paper from the summer that said two-fifths of families would be better off on the dole.

Building construction workers in Dublin.
Building construction workers in Dublin.
Image: Eamonn Farrell/Photocall Ireland

ONLY A FEW families would be better off on the dole than working, according to a new paper from the Economic and Social Research Institute, contradicting previous findings from the government funded think tank.

94 per cent of people are better off in work, it said, while 86 per cent of those with children would earn more in a job.

“Previous analyses do not accurately represent Ireland’s position, largely because the examples chosen included rent and mortgage supplement, which is given to only a small proportion of unemployed people” said the ESRI. “Excluding this supplement gives a more accurate picture and shows that Ireland is similar to many EU countries.”

The findings are at odds with suggestions by the International Monetary Fund that some welfare rates are acting as a disincentive to work. They criticise the OECD and the IMF for misinterpreting data on Irish social welfare rates, and said that Irish welfare rates were line with those in the rest of Europe.

Just 14 per cent of the population with families would be better off in the dole, it said, mainly because of rent supplements or other state supports to pay a mortgage.

The paper also rejected claims that welfare rates are better in Ireland than in the UK, as half of British recipients also receive additional benefits to cover the cost of housing. In Ireland, only 12 per cent receive housing benefit on top of job less benefit.

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