A proposed online system that would allow an unemployed person to do a cost-benefit analysis before deciding whether or not to take up a position is the subject of a new report launched in Dublin this morning by Mary Coughlan TD, Minister for Social and Family Affairs.
The study, ‘Developing an Interactive Benefit Calculation System – A Feasibility Study Report’, was commissioned by the Government-funded agency, Dublin Employment Pact, which analyses labour market trends with a view to developing policy to address socioeconomic development of the greater Dublin area.
The tool would allow an unemployed person to know exactly what they might gain in place of their social welfare income when considering potential employment options.
According to a statement from the Dublin Employment Pact, the study “confirms a substantial level of enthusiasm and support for both the development and the usefulness of such a tool and demonstrates that a wide range of technical groundwork has already taken place in this area”.
The research concludes that it would be appropriate to take this work forward to the developmental stages and highlights the high levels of expertise that have already been harnessed towards meeting key national IT objectives under the Government’s Action Plan for the Information Society.
Yvonne Keating, policy and development officer of the Dublin Employment Pact, told siliconrepublic.com that the benefit calculation tool would allow users to cut through the highly complex social welfare system and see where they really stood financially. “It would act as a service that allows an unemployed person to type in their present circumstances and based on the information received make a decision about whether to take up the job offer. The system would also be useful to employers and the staff of local employment initiatives,” she said.
She added that Minister Coughlan was “fully behind the project” and hoped that the system would get the go-ahead for development in partnership with the Department of Social and Family Affairs.
A delivery mechanism for the tool has yet to be decided. It could be made available through a public website and/or exist as a stand-alone service within job centres and employment agencies.
By Brian Skelly