Health & Safety Benefit


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Internal Guidelines used in processing claims

Index

PART 1: ENTITLEMENT

  1. Description of Scheme
  2. Information Leaflet
  3. Legislation
  4. Administration
  5. Qualifying Conditions In Summary
  6. Qualifying Conditions In Detail
  7. Contribution Conditions In Detail
  8. PRSI contribution Classes A, E or H count
  9. Disqualifications
  10. Late Claims
  11. Absence from the State
  12. Imprisonment
  13. Rates Structure
  14. Overlapping Provisions

PART 2: CLAIMS, INVESTIGATION AND DECISION PROCEDURES

  1. Documentation
  2. Investigation of Claim
  3. Decisions
  4. Appeals

PART 3: PROCEDURES FOLLOWING AWARD

  1. Payment
  2. Duration of Payment
  3. Maintenance
  4. Changes in entitlement
  5. Review
  6. Suspension of payment
  7. Credits

PART 1: ENTITLEMENT

Description of Scheme

Health and Safety Benefit is a weekly payment for women who are granted Health and Safety leave under the Maternity Protection Act 1994. Health & Safety Leave is granted to an employee by her employer when the employer cannot remove a risk to the employee's health or safety during her pregnancy or whilst breastfeeding, or cannot assign her alternative 'risk-free' duties.

Under the Maternity Protection Act, 1994, an employee is entitled to remuneration from her employer for the first 21 days of Health and Safety Leave and Health and Safety Benefit is payable for the remainder if the qualifying conditions are met.

Full details of safety, health and welfare protection including the working conditions and the physical, biological and chemical agents which may constitute a risk to pregnant and breastfeeding employees are available from: The Metropolitan Building, James Joyce Street, Dublin 1. LoCall 1890 289 389 (from the Republic of Ireland only) or + 353 1 614 7000 (from Northern Ireland or overseas). Website www.hsa.ie

The scheme was introduced on 19th October 1994

Information Leaflet:

'Health and Safety Benefit' SW 21

Legislation

The legislative provisions dealing with Health & Safety Benefit are in the Maternity Protection Act, 1994, in Chapter 10 of Part II of the Social Welfare (Consolidation) Act, 2005 as amended and Chapter 3 of Part II of the Social Welfare Consolidated (Claims, Payments and Control) Regulations, 2007 as amended.

Administration

Payment of Health & Safety Benefit is administered by Health & Safety Benefit Section, Department of Social Protection, McCarter's Road, Buncrana, Co. Donegal.
Telephone Locall 1890 690 690

Qualifying Conditions In Summary

A claimant must be granted Health and Safety Leave under Section 18 of the Maternity Protection Act, 1994, and fulfil certain contribution conditions.

Qualifying Conditions In Detail

The claimant must -

  • be a pregnant employee who is exposed to certain risks in the workplace or involved in nightwork*
    or
  • be an employee who has given birth in the previous 14 weeks and is involved in nightwork*
    or
  • be breastfeeding (up to 26 weeks after giving birth) and exposed to certain risks in the workplace
    and
  • be awarded Health and Safety Leave under Section 18 of the Maternity Protection Act, 1994,
    and
  • satisfy the PRSI contribution conditions.

*Under the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work (Pregnant Employees, etc) Regulations, 2000, nightwork is defined as "...work in the period between the hours of 11pm on any day and 6am on the next following day, where-

  1. the employee works at least three hours in the said period as a normal course, or
  2. at least 25% of the employee's monthly working time is performed in the said period."
Contribution Conditions in Detail

In order to qualify, you must have:

  • at least 13 weeks PRSI paid in the 12 months immediately before the date your baby is due
    or
  • 104 weeks PRSI paid since you first started work and 39 weeks PRSI paid or credited in the relevant tax year or in the year following the relevant tax year, of which at least 13 must be paid contributions
    or
  • 104 weeks PRSI paid since you first started work and 26 weeks PRSI paid in the relevant tax year and 26 weeks PRSI paid in the tax year prior to the relevant tax year

The relevant tax year is the second last complete income tax year before the year in which the health and safety leave starts. For example, for claims made in 2013, the relevant income tax year is 2011.

If a tax year later than the relevant income tax year has ended before the start of health and safety leave, reckonable contributions in that tax year may be used to help a claimant QUALIFY only. However, it is always the second last complete tax year, before the year in which the claim is made, that is used to calculate the appropriate rate of payment.

PRSI contribution Classes A,E or H * count

* Health & Safety Benefit is not payable to serving members of the Defence Forces who pay PRSI at class H.

An employee who received Health & Safety Benefit while pregnant is deemed to satisfy the PRSI contribution conditions for Maternity Benefit and an employee who applies for Health and Safety Benefit, having been in receipt of Maternity Benefit, is deemed to satisfy the PRSI contribution conditions. A separate application form must be completed and submitted in respect of each scheme.

Disqualifications

A person is disqualified from receiving payment of Health & Safety Benefit in the following circumstances:-

  1. Her condition is such that:-
    (i) it is no longer necessary to take a period of absence from work on health and safety grounds or
    (ii) nightwork no longer represents a risk to health and safety
  2. She is in receipt of Maternity Benefit
  3. She stops breastfeeding
  4. Her employer notifies her that she can return to work as the risk of exposure no longer exists or that suitable alternative work is available for her
  5. She returns to work
  6. She engages in any occupation other than domestic activities in her own household
  7. She is in prison

Late Claims

If the claimant fails to make a claim for benefit within the prescribed time of 6 months, she shall be disqualified from receiving payment in respect of any period before the date on which the claim is made. However, where a claimant proves to the satisfaction of the Minister that there was good cause for the delay in making such claim, she shall not be disqualified from receiving payment.

Further back-dating may also be possible in certain circumstances on an extra statutory basis. See section 4.2 of the separate guidelines on ' Claims and Late Claims' .

Absence from the State

Health and Safety Benefit is NOT payable for any period where the claimant is residing outside the State

Imprisonment

Health and Safety Benefit is NOT payable for any period a claimant is in imprisonment.

Rates Structure

Payment is made up of a personal rate for the employee with extra amounts for a qualified adult dependant and/or child dependants. The weekly rate of Health and Safety Benefit payable depends on the person's level of earnings in the relevant tax year.

To qualify for the standard rate, the employee's average weekly earnings in the Relevant Tax Year must be at least €300.00. However, graduated rates are payable if earnings are below €300.00 per week.

Overlapping Provisions

Half-rate/reduced rate Health & Safety Benefit is payable if the claimant is in receipt of one of the following payments:

  • One Parent Family Payment
  • Widow's, Widower’s or Surviving Civil Partner Contributory Pension
  • Widow's, Widower’s or Surviving Civil Partner Non-Contributory Pension
  • Deserted Wife's Benefit
  • Prisoner's Wife Allowance
  • Deserted Wife's Allowance
  • Death Benefit by way of Widow's, Widower's or Surviving Civil Partner's or Dependent Parent(s) Pension (under the Occupational Injuries Scheme)

In the case of a claimant who is entitled to Blind Pension and Health and Safety Benefit, the full amount of both payments may be paid concurrently unless the Blind Pensioner is in receipt of one of the following payments, in which case Health and Safety Benefit is NOT payable.

  • Deserted Wife's Benefit
  • Deserted Wife's Allowance
  • Prisoner's Wife Allowance
  • One Parent Family Payment
  • Widow's, Widower’s or Surviving Civil Partner Contributory Pension
  • Widow's, Widower’s or Surviving Civil Partner Non-Contributory Pension
  • Death Benefit by way of Widow's/Widower's/Surviving Civil Partner's or parent's pension

PART 2: CLAIMS, INVESTIGATION AND DECISION PROCEDURES

Claims

Under the legislation the onus is on the claimant to apply at the correct time if she feels she is entitled to benefit. A claimant should apply for Health & Safety Benefit as soon as it has been established, and certified by the employer, that Health and Safety Leave has been granted. A claim form (HSB 1) should be completed in full and signed by the claimant in all cases.

A registered Medical Practitioner should sign and stamp the form in relation to certification of confinement.

The claimant should forward relevant documentation as indicated below.

Documentation

The claimant of Health and Safety Benefit is responsible for the production of certificates, documents, information and evidence required, including current payslips, verified (see note below) copy of marriage/civil partnership certificate and/or work permit/GNIB card etc. (if required).

Note: to have verified, claimants should bring original documents to any office of the Department of Social Protection. Only verified copies are acceptable.

Health & Safety Benefit cannot be awarded until all the necessary documentation has been provided.

Deciding a Claim

Particulars of PRSI contributions paid and/or credited to the claimant are obtained from the Department's Central Records Section.

Where there is doubt about the fulfilment of a condition (e.g. current employment status) further enquiries will be made with the claimant either by correspondence, by telephone or by referral to a Social Welfare Investigator, depending on the nature of the query.

Claims are decided by Deciding Officers appointed by the Minister under Section 299 of the Social Welfare (Consolidation) Act, 2005. A notification of the decision is issued to the claimant, and when claims are awarded at reduced rates or disallowed the claimant is given an explanation of the reason for the partial allowance or disallowance.

Decisions

Claims are decided by Deciding Officers appointed by the Minister under Section 246 of the Social Welfare (Consolidation) Act, 1993. A notification of the decision is issued to the claimant, and when claims are awarded at reduced rates or disallowed the claimant is given an explanation of the reason for the partial allowance or disallowance.

Appeals

A person who is dissatisfied with the decision of the Deciding Officer may appeal that decision in writing within 21 days of the date of the decision, to the Chief Appeals Officer.

PART 3: PROCEDURES FOLLOWING AWARD

Payment

You can get Health and Safety Benefit paid by direct payment each week to your bank or building society account ( not a mortgage account).

Taxation

Health and Safety Benefit (including any increases for adult and child dependents) will be reckonable for income tax purposes from 1st July 2013. This Department will continue to pay Health and Safety Benefit directly to recipients without any deduction for tax. To assist in the taxation of Health and Safety Benefit, this Department will notify the Office of the Revenue Commissioners of the taxable amount of Health and Safety Benefit to be taken into account for income tax purposes.

Any enquiries in relation to tax affairs should be directed to your local Tax Office. The phone number and address of the local Tax Office are supplied on the ‘Notice of Determination of Tax Credits and Standard Rate cut-off point’ form.

Duration of Payment

Health & Safety Benefit is normally payable for a continuous period until the claimant commences Maternity Leave or returns to work. Other circumstances which affect the duration of payment are listed above - see ' Disqualifications' .

Maintenance

When claim is awarded a start date and end date are inserted in the Department's payment system.

Changes in entitlement

The onus is on the claimant to notify the Department of any changes in the details given on the claim form e.g. returning to work before the end of her claim.

Review

A review is initiated when the claimant notifies the Department of a change in her circumstances.

Suspension of payment

Payment may be suspended if new evidence is received indicating that the claimant does not fulfil the statutory conditions or is disqualified.

See ' Disqualifications'

Credits

Credits are awarded to recipients of Health and Safety Benefit for each week of benefit in all cases.

Last modified:10/06/2013
 

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