Households with a work intensity below 20 percent are categorized as very low work intensity (VLWI) households by the European Union. Ireland is notable in this regard as it persistently records the highest incidence of VLWI in the EU. In 2014, 21 percent of individuals in Ireland were living in VLWI households compared to an EU average of 11 percent
The main findings indicate that, compared to non-VLWI households, VLWI households in Ireland are more likely to be single-parent households and their members have a higher incidence of chronic illness and disability benefit claims. Of particular concern is the level of persistent joblessness; 18.8 percent of VLWI household members over 25 years of age that are currently not working, have never worked. There are several notable differences between the data for Ireland and the rest of the EU. An examination of the distribution of work intensity reveals that Ireland has a strikingly high number of individuals in households with zero work intensity relative to households with high work intensity, and this worsened dramatically from 2008 onwards. The percentage of VLWI households in Ireland that are single parent households is the third highest out of 30 countries, and the percentage of VLWI household members whose economic status categorizes them as being engaged in domestic and care duties far exceeds the EU average.