THE dole pays far better than a full-time job for 44pc of families who would be better off not working, a Government think-tank has revealed.
The figures blow away arguments by Social Protection Minister Joan Burton that the majority of people are better at work, says one of the authors of the report by the Economic and Social Research Institute.
"Joan Burton and her department work under the assumption that for the vast majority of people it is better to work -- you come out with a higher net income. That is not true, if you believe our numbers," says Richard Tol.
The study found that working people have to shell out five times more in going-to-work expenses than the unemployed.
It costs someone with a job €7,000 a year for transport, lunches and clothing where there are no children, and this rises to €10,000 a year for for those with one child under five.
"A comparison of take-home pay plus extra expenditures shows that 15pc of people without children and 44pc of people with children are better off not working", the report concludes.
It stresses that comparisons made by the Department of Social Protection between parents who leave the house to go to work and those who get social welfare benefits have not factored in the cost of going to a job.
Working families in the last four years have also been hit by higher income tax, the universal social charge and the household charge.
Also they have lost dental benefits, mortgage interest relief for all except new buyers, carbon tax hikes, rail fare rises and levies on insurance.
The Department of Social Protection has produced figures arguing that families who earn over €28,000 a year would be at least €6,000 better off in employment than on the dole.