Existing employment services are often based on a ‘male breadwinner’ labour activation regime that requires participants to be available for full-time work, which may not be suitable for parents with full-time caring responsibilities, according to Maynooth doctoral candidates, Philip Finn and Nuala Whelan.
Mr Finn and Ms Whelan, along with Dr Mary Murphy, lecturer in the Maynooth University Department of Sociology, presented findings from their research on gender equality and employment services to the Joint Committee on Employment Affairs and Social Protection.
In their submission to the committee, Mr Finn and Ms Whelan welcomed the reduced unemployment Ireland has seen recent years, and recognised the significant levels of institutional reform and improvements in service delivery that have taken place.
However, they highlighted concerns with the fundamental logic underlying the Government’s Pathways To Work – 2016-2020 strategy, stressing that issues of capacity, competence and culture need to be addressed.
Their recommendations to the committee: redress issues of gender equality in activation policy and practice; address issues concerning procurement of employment services and integrated delivery of social services; advance well-being and adult guidance within Pathways To Work; and to ensure transparent reporting concerning conditionality and sanctions policy and practice.