Jobseeker's Benefit


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Index

PART 1: INTRODUCTION

  1. Description of Scheme
  2. Information Leaflets
  3. Legislation
  4. Administration

PART 2: CLAIMS

  1. Claims
  2. Repeat Claims
  3. Late Claims
  4. Documentation required when making a claim
  5. Investigation of Claims
  6. Rates Structure
  7. Cumulative Total & Duration of payment
  8. Share Fishermen
  9. Requalification for JB
  10. Increases for a Qualified Adult and Child Dependants
  11. Payment of SWA pending determination of entitlement

PART 3: QUALIFYING CONDITIONS

» UNEMPLOYED

  1. Day of Unemployment
  2. Persons who work for one hour a day
  3. Person on Career Break
  4. Person on Garden Leave
  5. Suspension from Employment With Pay
  6. Suspension from Employment Without Pay
  7. Public holidays/ JB
  8. Holiday Pay/Accrued Holiday Pay
  9. Self-employment and entitlement to JB
  10. Subsidiary employment: special provision
  11. Night-Shift work and days of unemployment
  12. Persons not fully unemployed

» UNDER 66 YEARS OF AGE

» CAPABLE OF WORK

  1. JB payable pending Illness Benefit Appeal
  2. JB Entitlement pending Disability Allowance ( DA) Decision
  3. Pregancy

» AVAILABLE FOR FULL-TIME WORK

  1. Suitable Full-Time Employment
  2. Unreasonable restrictions
  3. Special provisions regarding availability
    - Courses of education, training and development
    - Specific courses approved
    - Part time Education Option
    - Rehabilitation Training
    - Drug Rehabilitation Programmes
    - Voluntary Work Option
    - Claimant on course of education/training (part-time or full-time
    - Spouse/Civil Partner/Cohabitant on full-time FÁS/ VEC Course
    - Spouse/Civil Partner/Cohabitant on part-time FÁS/ VEC Course
    - Spouse/Civil Partner/Cohabitant on other training/education course
    - Spouse/Civil Partner/Cohabitant on Senior Traveller Training Programme
  4. JB payable during the summer period - Reinstatement of BTEA after the summer period

» GENUINELY SEEKING WORK

  1. Steps required to prove genuinely seeking employment

» REFUSAL OR FAILURE TO ENGAGE WITH ACTIVATION MEASURES –   PENALTY RATES APPLY

» SUBSTANTIAL LOSS OF EMPLOYMENT

  1. Legislation governing the Substantial Loss of Employment
  2. Part-time workers and substantial loss condition
  3. Classification of Casual/Part-Time employees for JB purposes
  4. Determining whether there has been a substantial loss
  5. Systematic Short Time - workers
  6. Systematic Short Time - workers and sub-loss
  7. Week-on Week-off working and sub-loss rule
  8. Legislation governing the Classification of casual employees
  9. Re-classification due to a change in circumstances
  10. Incorrect classification of casuals at date of claim
  11. Re-classification of Casual Workers following exhaustion of JB
  12. Availability and Genuinely Seeking Employment for part-time/casual and SST claimants

» CONTRIBUTION CONDITIONS

  1. First Contribution Condition
  2. Second Contribution Condition
  3. Third Condition: Earnings
  4. Calculation of reckonable earnings
  5. Tax/Calendar Year Alignment: Transition Issues
  6. Unbroken PIE since 4/1/1993: special provision
  7. Volunteer Development Workers: special provision
  8. Contributions paid while working in another EEA/ EU State

PART 4: DISQUALIFICATIONS

» Disqualifications for up to 9 weeks

  1. Refusal of offer of suitable employment
  2. Lost employment through his/her misconduct
  3. Voluntarily left employment
  4. Refusal or Failure to Engage with Activation Measures where penalty rate applied
  5. Receipt of Redundancy Lump Sum
  6. Period of disqualification
  7. Cumulative total of days paid

» Other Disqualifications

  1. Absence from State
  2. Imprisonment
  3. Involvement in Trade Dispute
  4. Strike Credits
  5. Course of Study
  6. Social Welfare Tribunal

PART 5: DECISIONS

  1. Notification of award
  2. Notification of Disqualification
  3. Notification of Disallowance
  4. Natural Justice
  5. Concurrent Working and Signing Cases
  6. Right of costumer to a review by a Deciding Officer of an adverse Deciding Officer decision
  7. Appeals
  8. Deciding officer reviews following an Appeals Officers decision

PART 6: WAITING DAYS & CLAIM LINKING

  1. Period of interruption of employment
  2. Linking of Jobseeker's Benefit claims
  3. JB Linking to JB through another DSP Scheme
  4. Periods of Disregard for Linking Purposes
  5. Ineffective Days

PART 7: OPTIONAL JOBSEEKER'S ALLOWANCE

  1. Option of Claiming Jobseeker's Allowance ( JA) instead of Jobseeker's Benefit ( JB)
  2. Cumulative Total of days claimed
  3. Reverting back to JB

PART 8: CARER'S ALLOWANCE

  1. Carer's Allowance

PART 9: OVERLAPPING PROVISIONS

  1. Exceptions to the Overlapping Rules
  2. Blind Pension
  3. OPFP and Blind Pension
  4. Disablement Benefit/Pension
  5. Guardian's Payments
  6. Half Rate JB
  7. Credits

PART 10: EU REGULATIONS

  1. Aggregation of Social Insurances - Article 6 of EU Regulation 883/2004
  2. Overlapping Benefits - Article 10
  3. Transfer of Benefit - Article 64
  4. Outgoing cases from Ireland
  5. Incoming cases from another EU country
  6. Special Cases - JA pending action under Article 6 or 64
  7. Transfer from another EU country
  8. Frontier Workers - Article 65 cases
  9. Cross Border Workers
  10. Seamen

PART 11: PROCEDURES FOLLOWING AWARD

  1. Methods of Payment
  2. Maintenance
  3. Signing Arrangements
  4. Proving unemployment in the prescribed manner
  5. Certification
  6. Review
  7. Suspension of payment

PART 12: CREDITS

  1. What are credits?
  2. Calculating credits
  3. Strike credits
  4. Overlaps of Weeks of Insurable Employment and Credits
  5. Special award of credits week on/week off
  6. Pre-entry Credits ( PECS)
  7. Student credits

PART 13: TAXATION OF JOBSEEKER'S BENEFIT


PART 1: INTRODUCTION

(a) Description of Scheme

Jobseeker's Benefit ( JB) is a social insurance scheme. It is paid weekly to insured persons who are out of work.

(b) Information Leaflet:
(c) Legislation

The main provisions relating to Jobseeker's Benefit are contained in Chapter 12 of Part II of the Social Welfare (Consolidation) Act, 2005, and Chapter 5 of Part 2 of the Social Welfare (Consolidated Claims, Payments and Control) Regulations, 2007 (S.I. No. 142 of 2007) as amended.

(d) Administration

Jobseeker's Benefit is administered through the Department's network of Intreo Centres and Social Welfare Local/Branch Offices throughout the country.

All guidelines for staff on the operation of the Jobseeker's Benefit are issued by the Regional Support Unit, Gandon House, Amiens Street, Dublin 1. Guidelines for Deciding Officers are prepared by Schemes Section in the Regional Support Unit.

PART 2: CLAIMS

(a) Claims

A person makes a claim for JB by completing the claim form UP 1 at the relevant Intreo Centre or Social Welfare Local/Branch office. The form must be signed by the person in verification of the contents or, if unable to sign, his/her mark must be made and witnessed.

A person must provide the following information when completing the form UP1:

  • his/her own personal details and those in respect of spouse/civil partner/cohabitant (if any)
  • details of availability/work efforts
  • details of spouse/civil partner/cohabitant income in order to determine if a Qualified Adult Dependant Increase would be payable
  • child dependant details
(b) Repeat Claims

A person who is employed for 4 or more consecutive days and becomes unemployed may make a repeat claim for JB when that employment ends. Where a person re-applies for JB within 26 weeks of a previous JB claim, s/he is entitled to receive the same rate of JB that was previously in payment subject to satisfying the conditions for receipt of the payment and subject to any change of circumstances and budgetary increases.

(c) Late Claims

A claim may be backdated for a maximum of 6 months where the person can prove to the satisfaction of the Deciding Officer or Appeals Officer that s/he satisfied the qualifying conditionsthroughout the period and that there was good cause for delay in making the claim.

Circumstances which may constitute 'good cause' for a delay in making a claim are not defined in legislation and Deciding Officers must decide each individual case on its merits.

In all cases, without exception, the maximum period that a claim may be back-dated in this way is 6 months.

See also separate guideline "Claims and Late Claims" on Late Claims.

(d) Documentation required when making a claim

P.45

The person should submit his/her P.45 on the date of claim or, if not able to do so, to bring it as soon as it becomes available.

Proof of Identity

Public Services Card (PSC) if issued. The issuing of PSC is being rolled out nationally.

OR

Photographic identification - Current Valid Passport. Alternatively Current Valid National Identity Card is acceptable for EEA Nationals

OR

Current Valid Driver's Licence or Current Learners Permit

The following items are not accepted as proof of identity:

  • Short Version of Birth Certificate
  • Baptismal Certificate
  • Bills or Personal Letters
  • Photo Copies of Certificates or Documents
  • Savings Accounts recently opened

Persons are advised that no claim can be decided until identity has been proven

Public Services Card(PSC) - Legislative Requirements for identity authentication

A customer who fails or refuses to engage with the authentication of his or her identity e.g attend appointments, supply the relevant documents etc. may be disqualified from receipt of payment (Section 241 (1) (for new and repeat claims) and Section 247C(2) (for existing claims) of the Social Welfare Consolidation Act 2005, as amended)

Proof of address

Where a person makes a claim the address given by the claimant is checked with that held on the Department's Central Records system. If the address supplied by the customer is the same as the address already recorded on the Department's Central Records system, then the address may be accepted without further verification.

It is necessary to seek verification of a customer's address in the following circumstances:

  • if the address provided by the customer differs from the address recorded on the Department's Central Records system
  • if the customer advises us of a change of address
  • if there are grounds for believing that a customer is no longer living at the stated address
  • if a customer has used a bogus address in the past

In any case where it is necessary to seek evidence of a customer's address, acceptable documents include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Recent bills from utility companies e.g. Electricity, Telephone (Landline or Mobile), Gas, Cable Television, Waste Charges, etc.
  • Recent statements/correspondence from Banks, Building Societies, Credit Unions, Credit Card Companies or other financial institutions
  • Recent letters addressed to the customer from Insurance Companies, Local Authorities, Government Departments or the Revenue Commissioners
  • Local Authority Rent book, Mortgage or leasing agreement
  • Any other form of evidence considered by the Deciding Officer to be appropriate in the particular circumstances.

In all cases, original document must be supplied. Photocopies are not acceptable.

Note: a recent document is one issued within the preceeding 2 months.

If customer cannot supply any of the above documents, it will be sufficient for him/her to provide utility bills in the name of the parent, spouse/civil partner/cohabitant.

Other Sources of Verification

Thom's Directory
The electoral register
The telephone directory

Where there is doubt about the claimant's address, the claim is not awarded for payment until the address is verified.

Change of address

When a person notifies the Intreo Centre or Social Welfare Local/Branch Office of a change of address, s/he must provide proof of the new address and the address verified by recourse to directories mentioned above where possible.

The onus is on the claimant to prove entitlement to JB and to produce any evidence reasonably required. Where JB is already in payment, the person is obliged to produce any supplementary information required (e.g. to prove continuing entitlement) and to notify any change of circumstances (e.g. spouse/civil partner/cohabitant becoming employed).

(e) Investigation of Claims

Where the person's last employment has terminated the form UP 20 should issue to the employer to confirm the dates of employment and to establish the reason why the employment terminated. Follow-up action may be needed in some cases e.g. contacting an employer who has not completed the form UP 20, or querying information furnished.

Where a person reports having difficulty obtaining a P45 from his/her last employer, that employer should be contacted directly to confirm the date of cessation of employment and to confirm that the P45 has not yet been issued.

The person's PRSI record is obtained from the Central Records Section of the Department. If there is reason to believe that the employer has failed to pay contributions or has paid the incorrect amount of PRSI, the case is referred to a Social Welfare Inspector for investigation.

(f) Rates Structure

Jobseeker's Benefit rates are made up of a personal rate and increases for a Qualified Adult, and Qualified Children.

Personal Rate: The rate payable depends on the claimant's average earnings in the governing contribution year. From the 1 st January 2009 where the average weekly earnings in that year are €300.00 (previously €150.00), per week or more, the full rate of JB is payable. Where the average weekly earnings were less than €300.00 (previously €150.00), the rate of JB payable is determined by reference to the appropriate earnings band.

Rates of payment are set out in the information booklet SW19.

IN RELATION TO THE JOBSEEKER’S BENEFIT PAYMENT WEEK PLEASE REFER TO THE NEXT THREE PARAGRAPHS.

From 21st February 2013

The Jobseeker’s Benefit week is based  on a 7 day week.  Sunday is treated as any other day in the week, as a day of employment or unemployment as appropriate. 

From 26th July 2012

The Jobseeker’s Benefit payment week runs from Thursday to Wednesday and excludes Sunday, as Sunday employment is not taken into account.

In any single Jobseeker Benefit payment week, the number of the days for which benefit is paid plus the number of days worked (and including days for which the person has not signed for any other reason) cannot exceed five. The net effect of this is that, where payment is due for less than a full week, Jobseeker’s Benefit is paid for each day at the equivalent of one fifth of the weekly rate.

In addition, where a person is employed for 4 or more days in the payment week from Thursday to the following Wednesday (ignoring Sunday), no benefit is payable.

Where one day of Jobseeker’s Benefit is due in any benefit week, i.e. where the person is working for the rest of the week or where s/he is not signing on for the rest of the week for any reason, no payment is due.

There is no change to the systematic short time category which has always been based on a 5 day working week.

Previous to 26th July 2012

The amount payable for any day of unemployment (Monday to Saturday) is one-sixth of the weekly rate, except for short time workers, when it is one-fifth. In systematic short time cases the number of days worked and the number of days paid unemployment cannot exceed 5 in any working week.

In all cases where a payment is being made for a week or part of a week, the rate calculated is rounded to the nearest (10c).

(g) Cumulative Total & Duration of Payment

Cumulative total

The record of the number of days used in a Jobseeker’s Benefit claim is called the cumulative total (CT). Each day of unemployment is counted in the CT excluding Sunday.

For fully unemployed customers the cumulative total of days increases by 6 in respect of each week of unemployment. For customers working in part-time or casual employment, the CT increases by the number of days of unemployment in each week.

Duration

From 3rd April 2013 the duration of Jobseeker’s Benefit is being reduced from 1 year (312 days) to 9 months (234 days) and from 9 months (234 days) to 6 months (156 days). This change will only affect new claims on and from 04th April 2013 and people who have been in receipt of JB for less than 156 days (6 months) on 3rd  April 2013. 
 
Where a person has already received 6 months (156 days) or more Jobseeker’s Benefit prior to 4th April 2013, the duration will be unaffected and payment will continue to the current maximum of 1 year (312 days).

Jobseeker’s Benefit (JB) may last for up to 234 days or 312 days of unemployment, depending on the class of qualifying contribution and the number of total contributions paid since the customer first started working.

If a customer has 260 PRSI contributions paid, the claim lasts for a total of 234 days of unemployment.

If a customer has less than 260 contributions paid the claim lasts for a total of 156 days of unemployment.

When the maximum number of days has been reached, (commonly called ‘Benefit Exhausted/Ben-Ex’) the person must re-qualify - see below - before JB can again be paid.

  • See below Class P contributions

Over 18 and under 65

In the case of persons aged between 18 and 65 years, JB lasts for a maximum of 234 days where 260 cons are paid or 156 days where less than 260 cons are paid since entry into insurance after which the person's entitlement expires.

Over 65 and under 66

Persons aged between 65 and 66 years where their entitlement to benefit exhausts are entitled to receive JB payment beyond 234 days (9 months) or 156 days (6 months) weeks) which ever is applicable up to the date on which they reach pensionable age (66 years) provided they have not less than 156 paid contributions since entering employment and they satisfy the second contribution condition.

Note: A person is NOT entitled to receive State Pension (Transition) and JB at the same time.

Note:
Where a person is entitled to claim JB but decides not to in order to avoid the "Ben-Ex" rules, that person may be treated for CT purposes as if he/she had been paid.

The onus is on the person in such a situation to show that the failure to claim was for reasons other than to avoid the re-qualifying conditions.

(h) Share Fishermen

Class A contributions

Share-fishermen who have been employed under a contract of service and have been paying PRSI contributions at the full rate (Class A) are entitled to the normal duration of JB i.e. 234 days (previously 312 days) or 156 days (previously 234 days) if less than 260 cons have been paid since entry into insurance.

Class P contributions

However, share-fishermen who have been self-employed and who opted to pay PRSI contributions at the Class P rate are only entitled to a maximum of 78 days JB CT in any calendar year.

(i) Requalification for JB

A person may requalify for JB if:

his/her full JB entitlement has expired

AND

s/he has paid

13 contributions at the appropriate class after date of expiry of 156 days of JB

AND

s/he satisfies the second contribution condition (GCY) on the date of a new JB claim and all other statutory conditions.

As a new Period of Interruption of Employment (PIE) has commenced, waiting days apply. However, if the person has claimed Jobseeker's Allowance (JA) in the previous 52 weeks, s/he may be paid JA for the 3 waiting days.

(j) Increases for Qualified Adult & Child Dependants

Definition of Spouse/Civil Partner/Cohabitant

  1. Married couples – the term 'spouse' refers to each person of a married couple
  2. Civil partners - A 'civil partner' is defined as “each person of a couple who are civil partners within the meaning of section 3 of the Civil Partnership and Certain Rights and Obligations of Cohabitants Act 2010”. The term 'civil partner’ only applies to a person who has registered their civil partnership.
  3. 'Cohabitants' refer to couples who are living together (both the same or opposite sex). The term 'cohabitant’ is defined in the social welfare code in accordance with Section 172 (1) of the Civil Partnership and Certain Rights and Obligations of Cohabitants Act, 2010, which states that “... a cohabitant is one of two adults (whether of the same or the opposite sex) who live together as a couple in an intimate and committed relationship and who are not related to each other within the prohibited degrees of relationship or married to each other or civil partners of each other".

Payment of IQA in respect of a spouse/civil partner who is Non-EEA National

Entitlement to payment of an increase for a qualified adult (IQA) in respect of a Non-EEA spouse/civil partner of an Irish or other EEA National should be determined in exactly the same way as if the spouse/civil partner was an EEA national.

Payment of IQA in respect of a cohabitant who is a Non-EEA national (Cohabitation Case)

  1. Where the cohabitant is an asylum seeker:

IQA is payable provided that the normal conditions for payment of an IQA are satisfied and provided that confirmation is furnished that the cohabitant has permission to reside in the State pending a decision on his/her application for asylum. The claim should be kept under review to examine the outcome of the application for asylum.

  1. Where the cohabitant's asylum application has been rejected:
  1. An adverse decision on an application for asylum may be appealed.
  2. If an appeal fails, a Deportation Order is issued.
  3. The applicant may then apply for a Judicial Review.

The IQA remains payable during the period of the Judicial Review provided all other conditions for payment of an IQA continue to be satisfied. The claim should be kept under review to examine the outcome of the application for Judicial Review.

  1. Where a cohabitant has a restricted visa:

Where a Non-EEA national enters the country for a specific period of time and for specific purposes, e.g. on a student visa, s/he is obliged to show, before s/he is allowed to enter the State, that s/he has sufficient funds to support him/herself for the duration of the stay.

In a cohabitation case, an application for an IQA in respect of a person with a restricted visa should be referred to a SWI to establish the details of the cohabitant's income. When it is established that the normal statutory conditions for payment of IQA are satisfied, IQA may be paid.

The Department of Justice and Equality should be notified of the award of an IQA in this type of case. In addition, the IQA entitlement should be kept under review.

See separate Guidelines on " Increases" .

(k) Payment of SWA pending determination of entitlement

A person whose means are insufficient to meet his/her needs, or the needs of dependants, is entitled to apply for payment under the Supplementary Welfare Allowance (SWA) scheme. Substitute or interim payments are not paid automatically. Such payments are only awarded where a person has no means to meet their immediate needs, pending payment from another source, for example, where they are awaiting a decision on an application for a JB payment. Any interim payment, which is awarded pending a decision on an application for JB is fully recoverable from the arrears of JB where the JB is awarded.

PART 3: QUALIFYING CONDITIONS

Qualifying Conditions In Summary

To qualify for Jobseeker's Benefit a person must:

  • be unemployed
  • be under pension age
  • be capable of work
  • be available for full-time work
  • be genuinely seeking work
  • have sustained a substantial loss of employment
  • satisfy the contribution conditions
  • prove unemployment in the prescribed manner

Qualifying Conditions In Detail

Unemployed

Jobseeker’s Benefit claims apply in respect of any day of unemployment which forms part of a period of interruption of employment (PIE) provided the person is under pension age, proves unemployment in the prescribed manner, satisfies the contribution conditions, and has sustained a substantial loss of employment.

A day of interruption of employment means a day of unemployment or of incapacity for work.

From 21st February 2013
 
Any 4 days of interruption of employment, whether consecutive or not, within a period of 7 consecutive days, including Sunday  is treated as a 'period of interruption of employment' (PIE) and any 2 PIEs not separated by more than 26 weeks are treated as one PIE.
 
This means in effect that a person must be fully unemployed for at least 4 days in any period of 7 consecutive days.
 
Prior to 21st February 2013

Any 3 days of interruption of employment, whether consecutive or not, within a period of 6 consecutive days is treated as a `period of interruption of employment' (PIE) and any 2 PIEs not separated by more than 26 weeks are treated as one PIE.

This means in effect that a person must be fully unemployed for at least 3 days in any period of 6 consecutive days.

(Explained further in section " Claim Linking and Waiting days" )

(a) Day of Unemployment

A day is not treated as a day of unemployment unless on that day s/he is capable, available for and genuinely seeking work. (See below).

A person is not regarded as unemployed for any day in which s/he is engaged in self-employment, is working under a contract of employment (written or otherwise) or is in receipt of wages. For example, the following classes of persons would not be considered 'unemployed':

  • permanent full-time teachers who receive payment in full in respect of school holidays
  • a person who is voluntarily job-sharing
  • a person who is on a career break (during the agreed period of the career break)
  • a person who is on garden leave
  • a person who has been suspended on full pay
  • full-time nurses who are on a rest week following a week of night duty
  • seamen whose contract limits them to 84 hours a fortnight and who have worked the full 84 hours in one week
  • persons who work the equivalent of full-time hours by way of intensive shifts. It is usual to treat persons who work 36 hours per week or over as being in full-time employment.
(b) Persons who work for one hour a day

Jobseeker's Benefit (JB) only applies in respect of days of unemployment. It follows that JB does not apply in respect of any day during which the person is engaged in insurable employment or self-employment - irrespective of the extent of the employment (number of hours worked) or the remuneration or profit. (See exception in respect of subsidiary occupation below).

(c) Person on Career Break

A person on a career break is considered to be "not unemployed" during the agreed period of the career break. Where the agreed period of the career break has ended and the person has sought to return to work but cannot due to a lack of a vacancy, Jobseeker's Benefit may be considered subject to all other relevant conditions being satisfied. In such cases, the terms/duration of the career break and reason/s for postponing the resumption of employment should be verified with the employer before a decision is made.

(d) Person on Garden Leave

Garden leave (or gardening leave) describes the practice of giving an employee notice but telling them to stay away from work during their notice period. The practice is often used to prevent employees working for the employer's competitors for a period of time.

Employees continue to receive their normal pay during garden leave and are covered by any contractual duties, such as confidentiality agreements, until their notice period expires.

The term can also be used when an employee is sent home whilst subject to disciplinary proceedings, when they are between projects, or where, as a result of publicity, their presence at work is considered counter-productive. The Tracey Temple affair is an instance of the latter case.

(e) Suspension from Employment With Pay

A person who is suspended from employment with pay is considered to be "not unemployed" within the meaning of the Social Welfare legislation, in that s/he is suspended from employment for a definite period and may be deemed to be under a contract of employment for the duration of the suspension. Claims for Jobseeker's Benefit during this period of suspension should, therefore, be disallowed from receiving payment on the grounds of being "not unemployed" under Section 62(5)(a) of the Social Welfare (Consolidation) Act 2005.

(f) Suspension from employment Without Pay

A person who is suspended from employment without pay is not considered to be in employment and is, therefore, regarded as unemployed for Social Welfare purposes. However, the reasons for the suspension from employment should be examined to establish the conditions under which s/he was suspended. It is important to note that the reasons for the suspension from employment should be checked with the employer before a disqualification or a disallowance is imposed.

Disqualifications and Disallowances

Section 68(6)(a) of the Social Welfare (Consolidation) Act, 2005 provides that a person may be disqualified from receipt of JB for up to 9 weeks where s/he has lost his/her employment through his/her own misconduct. The duration of the disqualification is discretionary, although it may not exceed 9 weeks.

In addition, where a disqualification is being considered, all the other conditions which apply to the receipt of JB should be examined, e.g. Availability and GSW.

Payment may be allowed where all relevant statutory conditions are satisfied.

Persons who have been suspended from employment and who find themselves in financial difficulty may apply for assistance under the Supplementary Welfare Allowance scheme.

(g) Public Holidays/ JB

The Organisation of Working Time Act 1997 provides all employees with a minimum legally enforceable entitlement to paid holidays and public holidays. It repeals the Holiday (Employees) Act, 1973 and Section 4 of the Worker Protection (Regular part-time Employees) Act 1991.

Pay For Public Holidays for Employees

Full-Time Employees

Employees who work or are normally required to work on a public holiday are entitled to payment by the employer for the public holiday.

Employees who are not normally required to work on a public holiday are entitled to one fifth of their normal weekly rate of remuneration from the employer for the public holiday.

A full-time employee, who ceases to be employed during the week ending on the day before a public holiday, is entitled to be paid by the employer for the public holiday if s/he has worked during the 4 weeks preceding that week.

Part-Time/Casual Employees

Casual or part-time employees must have worked at least 40 hours in the 5 weeks ending on the day before the public holiday to establish a statutory entitlement to pay in respect of a public holiday.

Part-time or casual workers are not entitled to Jobseeker's Benefit or Allowance in respect of paid public holidays.

NOTE: Good Friday is a bank holiday not a public holiday therefore employers are not legally required to pay in respect of that day. If the employer does pay in respect of Good Friday, JA/JB is not payable.

PUBLIC HOLIDAYS
There are nine public holidays:
New Year's Day
St. Patrick's Day
Easter Monday
First Monday in May
First Monday in June
First Monday in August
Last Monday in October
Christmas Day
St Stephen's Day

(h) Holiday Pay/Accrued Holiday Pay

Entitlement to holiday pay is built up as a person works during the year. Therefore, a person who is let go on a temporary basis may have an underlying entitlement to holiday pay. JB is not payable in respect of any day for which a person receives holiday pay.

Holiday pay legislation provides that pay in respect of holidays is required to be paid in advance. However, it is also open to an employee to make an agreement with his/her employer not to receive accrued holiday pay at the time of a temporary lay off where s/he wishes to take these paid entitlements at a later stage. In this type of situation the person is considered to be on a temporary lay off and the number of days for which the holiday entitlement has accrued should not be deducted from the JB payment until the paid leave is taken.

Examples:

  1. A person from the education sector e.g. school warden etc. decides, with the employer's agreement, that s/he does not wish to receive holiday pay entitlements accrued at the Christmas/Easter etc. lay off periods, until the summer lay off at the end of June. In such cases, the number of days for which the holiday entitlement has accrued should not be deducted from the JB payment until the person receives his/her holiday pay entitlements at the end of June.
  2. In some cases, e.g. factory work, with the employer's agreement, the employee may decide not to take his/her accrued holiday pay entitlement at the time of a temporary lay off because s/he intends to take holidays with pay from this employment at a later stage. In such cases, the number of days for which the holiday entitlement has accrued should not be deducted from the JB payment until the paid leave is taken.

Holiday Pay Received on Return to Work

Certain employments have regular seasonal lay offs where employees have an accrued holiday entitlement which is not actually paid during the period of the lay off. For example, a temporary school employee who is laid off during the summer months may not be paid during this period, instead s/he is paid his/her accrued holiday pay entitlement at the end of the summer holiday period.

If this situation occurs, the Intreo Centre or Local/Branch Office should ensure that, before the end of this lay-off period, the number of days for which JB is paid is reduced by the number of days for which holiday pay has accrued. This is to ensure that a person does not receive JA and holiday pay in respect of the same period.

Temporary Lay-off

Employees who are laid off temporarily (i.e. where they expect to return to the same employment at a later date) are not entitled to JB in respect of any day for which they receive holiday pay. This applies even if there is no definite date of resumption of work.

Termination of Contract of Employment

Employees whose contract of employment has ended and have received holiday pay are entitled to JB from the first day of unemployment, provided all other conditions are satisfied.

P45 and Termination of Contract

It should be noted that, following consultation with the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, it has been confirmed that the issuing of a P45 does not necessarily denote a cessation of the contract of employment. Therefore where the lay-off is temporary, JB should not be paid in respect of any day(s) for which holiday pay has been received, even if a P45 has been issued by the employer.

Additional Holiday Pay Entitlements for Part-Time Workers

Part-time workers may also have an entitlement to additional holiday pay under the provisions of the Protection of Employees (Part Time Workers) Act, 2001. JB is not payable in respect of any day on which a person receives holiday pay.

Treatment of the Additional Holiday Pay Entitlement for JB Purposes

Any additional holiday pay entitlement received by an employee in respect of any part of the lay-off period should be treated in the same manner as the accrued holiday entitlement, when calculating entitlement to JB.

Calculation of Paid Holidays

Where a part-time employee is laid off and receives holiday pay from the employer, the number of days deducted from his/her JB claim should represent the number of working days which the holiday entitlement represents. Therefore the number of hours for which s/he has received holiday pay should be divided by the number of hours worked per day in order to determine the number of days for which JB is not payable.

Rounding of Days

When calculating the number of days for which holiday pay has been accrued or received, a part of a day should be rounded up to the nearest day, as appropriate.

Examples

A person normally works 2 hours per day, and receives 30 hours holiday pay. As this has been accrued at 2 hours per day, the number of days for which JB is withheld = 30/2 = 15 days.

A person normally works 3 hours per day, and receives 40 hours holiday pay. 40/3 = 13.3 (rounded up to 14).

Hours Varied Per Day

Where the number of hours worked per day varies the total number of hours holiday pay should be divided by the average number of hours worked per day. In most cases, the average will be furnished by the employer. However where necessary, the 13 week period immediately prior to the date of claim, or a more representative period, may be used.

School-Related Employees

Where claims from school-related employees have been made, the Employer/School Principal or other competent person will indicate the percentage increase due to the employee in respect of holiday pay entitlement i.e. 8%, 22%, 40% or 56%, so that the number of days holiday pay entitlement can be calculated.

(i) Self-employment and entitlement to Jobseeker's Benefit

A self-employed person may be entitled to JB in respect of days of unemployment, where the conditions of entitlement are satisfied.
For example, if a person is engaged under a contract for service to work (on a self-employed basis) for 3 days per week, and is unemployed for the remainder of the week, s/he may qualify for JB in respect of the days of unemployment - provided the qualifying conditions are satisfied.

(j) Subsidiary employment: special provision

A day is not normally treated as a day of unemployment if the claimant is engaged in any occupation from which s/he derives any remuneration or profit unless the following conditions are satisfied:

  • the occupation could ordinarily have been followed by him/her in addition to his/her usual employment, and
  • the occupation could ordinarily have been followed by him/her outside the ordinary working hours of his usual employment

and either

  • the remuneration or profit from the occupation does not exceed €12.70 per day, or, where the remuneration or profit is in respect of a longer period, it does not on a daily average exceed €12.70 per day

or

  • at least 117 employment contributions have been paid in respect of him/her in either the last 3 years or the last 3 complete contribution years immediately prior to the date of claim.

In general, it would be deemed appropriate to consider an occupation/employment as subsidiary where the above conditions are satisfied and where both employments were carried out concurrently for a period of 6 months immediately prior to the date of claim. In such circumstances it is possible for a person to be engaged in insurable employment or self-employment and still satisfy the unemployment condition.

Example :

A person is a factory worker (8am - 5pm) and also works at night as a barman in a disco. His employment at the factory ceases but he continues to work at night.

It is clear that the bar work is a subsidiary occupation [i.e. could be followed in addition to, and outside the normal working hours of, his usual employment (factory worker)]. If the condition as to remuneration (not exceeding €12.70 per day) or the requirement to have at least 117 contributions paid in the relevant period is satisfied, the days on which he works as a barman may be treated as days of unemployment.

This provision relates solely to the determination of circumstances in which days may be treated as days of unemployment. The other conditions for receipt of JB must also be satisfied before payment can issue, e.g. the obligations to be available for and genuinely seeking work.

Subsequent changes or increases in the level of engagement in a subsidiary occupation may affect its status, claims should be examined where there is a change or increase in that employment.

(k) Night-Shift Work and days of unemployment
From 21st February 2013
If a person works from one day into another, the day on which the longer number of hours are worked is treated as the day of employment, the other day is treated as a day of unemployment.  If the hours of employment are equal for both days then the 2nd day is considered the day of employment, and the 1st day as a day of unemployment.
 
Prior to 21st February 2013

Special rules apply to determine which day is to be treated as a day of unemployment where a person is employed to work continuously from one day into another. These rules apply to ensure that both days are not treated as days of employment or unemployment. The general principle is the day on which the shorter number of hours are worked is treated as a day of unemployment (in respect of which JB is payable) and the other day is regarded as a day of employment (in respect of which JB is not payable).

There are exceptions to this rule as follows:

The shift starts on a Saturday and extends into Sunday:

Saturday is considered to be the day of employment regardless of the number of hours actually worked on the Saturday.

The shift starts on a Sunday and extends into Monday:

Monday is considered to be the day of employment regardless of the number of hours actually worked on the Sunday.

(l) Persons not fully unemployed

See Sections on:

  • Systematic Short-time workers (SST)
  • Casual workers and
  • Part-time workers.

UNDER 66 YEARS OF AGE

A person may receive JB up to the day before his/her 66th birthday. Persons approaching pension age should be advised to apply for State Pension (Contributory/Non-Contributory), 3 months in advance of the relevant age limit.

CAPABLE OF WORK

For a day to be regarded as a day of unemployment, the person claiming JB must be capable of work on that day. A person is considered to be capable of work if there is no evidence to the contrary (e.g. unless s/he states otherwise), or where, on request, s/he fails to produce a final medical certificate following a period of illness.

(a) JB Payable Pending Illness Benefit (IB) Appeal

When a person has been disallowed IB because s/he has been found "capable of work" following an examination by the Medical Assessor, it may be accepted that s/he fulfils the condition of being capable of work - notwithstanding any statement by the person that s/he does not consider him/herself to be capable of work. This is so even if the decision of the Medical Assessor is under appeal. JB may be paid pending the result of the appeal. Questions as to whether s/he satisfies the conditions as to availability for and genuinely seeking work are deferred in the interim.

In such cases the Deciding Officer should:

  • check that the person is not still in receipt of wages from the last employer (this may occur for example in permanent/pensionable jobs, or where the incapacity was due to an occupational injury)
  • notify Illness Benefits Section that JB is in payment and confirm that the person has lodged an appeal
  • advise the person that payment is authorised pending result of appeal only
  • keep the claim under continuous review to ascertain the result of appeal. When the outcome of the appeal is known, the DO should, if the appeal has been successful, notify the relevant section (Benefits) of the amount of JB that has been paid during the overlapping period so that it will be treated as paid on account of the IB. If the appeal has not been successful, payment of JB may continue subject to the person satisfying the conditions of entitlement.

The practice of paying JB while IB is under appeal is that the person has been declared to be 'not incapable' by another section of the Department and, while appealing this decision (on grounds of being incapable of working) it would be unreasonable to expect her/him to produce evidence to the effect that s/he is actively engaging in seeking full-time work.

There is no legislative basis for the payment of JB to a claimant while their IB claim is under appeal. This is an administrative decision to facilitate the claimant appealing the decision. Implicit in this arrangement is that if the conditionality for receipt of JB is evidently not being met by the claimant for a particular reason i.e.

  • They reside abroad
  • Are employed in a full-time capacity
  • Are a full-time student

Then as they do not fulfil the conditions for JB they are not entitled to make a claim.

(b) JB pending Disability Allowance ( DA) Decision

Where a person applies for DA while in receipt of JB

Where a person applies for DA while in receipt of JB, the JB payment should continue pending the result of the DA claim (including appeal, where applicable).

NOTE: Disability Allowance may be disallowed on grounds of failing to satisfy the medical eligibility criteria for receipt of DA. This means that the DA section/MR do not declare that the claimant is fit for work, but that s/he has failed to satisfy the MR/Advisor that s/he is not "..substantially restricted...".

In such cases the Deciding Officer should:

  • notify Disability Allowance Section that JB is in payment and confirm that the person has lodged an application/appeal
  • keep the claim under continuous review to ascertain the result of application/appeal.

When the outcome is known, the DO should;

if the application/appeal has been successful, notify the DA section of the amount of JA/JB that has been paid during the overlapping period so that it will be treated as paid on account of the DA.

  • if the application/appeal has not been successful, continue payment of JA/JB subject to all conditions being satisfied.

JB following DA Disallowance

  • Where the DA disallowance is not under appeal, the claim should be decided in the normal way, with due regard to the requirement to be capable of work, available for full-time work and genuinely seeking employment.
  • Where the DA disallowance is under appeal, JB is not payable. Persons in this position whose means are insufficient to meet their needs and the needs of their adult or child dependant(s) should be advised to apply for Supplementary Welfare Allowance (SWA).
(c) Pregnancy

Pregnancy is not an illness and in the absence of any complications of pregnancy or other illness, a pregnant woman (who may not be entitled to Maternity Benefit) satisfies the condition of being capable of work for the purpose of Jobseeker's Benefit throughout her pregnancy and in the period following the birth. She will also satisfy the availability condition unless there are other factors which could call her general availability for work into question. She must, however, continue to look for work throughout her pregnancy and in the period after the birth of her child in order to satisfy the condition of genuinely seeking work. On an administrative basis a woman will not normally be requested to prove that she is genuinely seeking work in the 4 weeks immediately before the expected date of birth of her child or in the 8 week period following the birth. She will not be required to attend at the Intreo Centre or Local/Branch Office for signing purposes during this period provided she informs Intreo Centre or Local/Branch Office of her pregnancy.

AVAILABLE FOR FULL-TIME WORK

A person must be available for work in order to qualify for and continue to receive Jobseeker's Benefit, i.e. be available for work in respect of each day for which s/he declares that s/he is unemployed. There must be no legal restriction on the person taking up employment (e.g. visa restrictions on taking up employment in the case of non-nationals). The onus is on the claimant to show that this condition is satisfied on an on-going basis.

A person is regarded as being available for employment if s/he is prepared to accept at once any offers of suitable full-time employment. While a person should be free to take up employment at once, a person may, in some circumstances require a day or two to make any necessary domestic arrangements.

It should generally be accepted that a person is available for employment, if

  • s/he states that s/he is available for work,
  • s/he does all that is asked to show compliance with the availability condition,
  • there is no evidence to suggest the contrary.

Payment of JB.

Where a Non-EEA National claims JB and is:

  1. an asylum seeker who has been granted refugee status, or
  2. the spouse/civil partner of an Irish or other EEA national
    or
  3. the parent of an Irish born child, the child must have been born before 1st January 2005 and application for consideration under the (IBC/05) scheme must have been made by 31st March 2005
    or
  4. a person who has been given temporary leave to remain in the State on humanitarian grounds,

a work permit is no longer required. S/he should have the following stamp, issued by the Department of Justice, and Equality, on his/her Certificate of Registration, stating:

"Permitted to remain in Ireland until..........."

Payment should not continue beyond the date the person is permitted to remain in the State. If a Non-EEA National works for a period of time and then loses his/her employment the Non-EEA National can claim JB, provided all other conditions for receipt of JB were satisfied. Payment of JB is not payable unless the person has permission to remain in Ireland.

(a) Suitable Full-time Employment

The person must be available for suitable full time employment. In determining what constitutes "full time" employment regard should be had to the normal working week (or normal working pattern) in the employment for which the person is holding him/herself available.

When deciding whether the person is available for suitable full time employment, the Deciding Officer should take into account:

  • the person's skills, qualifications and experience,
  • the length of time that the person has been unemployed; and
  • the availability of job vacancies in the locality.

The Deciding Officer should have particular regard to the period of unemployment when deciding on availability. A person who has recently become unemployed (e.g. within the last 3 months) would be regarded as available where s/he is seeking to become re-employed in his/her usual employment, provided there is a reasonable prospect of this. However, if it was immediately obvious that there was no employment available within a specialised field in the local area, the person could be expected to broaden the search - either to a wider area or to other types of employment within a shorter period.

For example, a computer programmer who indicates that s/he will only work at programming, may stand in the current economic climate, a reasonable chance of securing employment despite such a restriction. However, such a restriction would not be reasonable if the person still had no employment after 3 months on the Live Register.

If a person has not found employment within his/her chosen field or industry within a reasonable period (e.g. 3 months), and the person is not broadening the range of employment sought, the onus is on the person to demonstrate that s/he still has a reasonable chance of obtaining employment in that field despite failure to do so to date. For instance, in a situation where a person is promised permanent work in the near future on the basis that s/he must be free to take it up immediately, it may then be considered reasonable to refuse an offer of short term employment in the interim.

Physical health may be a legitimate reason to restrict the range of work for which a person holds him/herself available. This is particularly so where physical build/health is a condition upon which an offer of work is dependent.

If there is any doubt about the person's availability, the Deciding Officer should seek further information from the person such as:

  • the type of work which s/he is seeking and the reason(s) for any restrictions placed on the type of work which s/he is prepared or able to accept,
  • whether there are domestic or other commitments which limit his/her ability to accept a suitable job offer.
(b) Unreasonable Restrictions

A person may be regarded as not being available for work if s/he imposes unreasonable restrictions on:

  • the nature of the employment,
  • the hours of work,
  • the rate of pay,
  • the duration of the employment,
  • the location of the employment,
  • any other conditions of employment which s/he is prepared to accept.

In any case where a Deciding Officer is of the opinion that the person has placed unreasonable restrictions, s/he should be interviewed and given the opportunity to respond. In some cases a person may demonstrate that the restrictions are not unreasonable and that s/he has a reasonable prospect of getting full-time employment despite such restrictions. For example, a person may be qualified as a baker, but may have ceased seeking work in that field upon developing dermatitis. Employment which would bring that person into contact with agents that trigger the condition would obviously not be suitable employment. Such a restriction on availability may, in the circumstances, be regarded as reasonable.

The following are some of the circumstances where a person may be considered NOT to be available for work:

S/he is looking for a particular type of work only. As previously stated, after a period of unemployment, a person must be prepared to accept any employment for which s/he is qualified.

If a person states that s/he is unwilling to take up full-time work but is lookingforpart-timeworkonly, e.g., 3 days per week or morning/evening work only, this could be regarded as an unreasonable restriction on his/her availability in terms of the hours of work s/he is prepared to accept.

It should be noted that this does not preclude a person from accepting part-time work in the absence of suitablefull-timeemployment if the person demonstrates that s/he continues to be available for work in respect of the remaining days of unemployment. It is expected that a person in part-time employment would continue to take steps which demonstrate that s/he is genuinely seeking full-time employment.

  • if s/he is only available during hours which are not typical of the employment sought, e.g. clerical office work in evenings only.
  • if person is unwilling to accept an offer of suitable employment for which s/he holds him/herself available because s/he is unhappy with the going rate for the job, this could be regarded as imposing unreasonable restrictions on his/her availability. Where a person has refused to take up employment because s/he is unhappy with the rate for the job, s/he should be interviewed by the Deciding Officer regarding the reasons for such refusal.
  • if for example, taking up such employment would leave a person in a worse financial position, taking into account the various other income supports available to him/her, then it may be reasonable not to accept an offer of such employment. However, weight should also be given to the longer term benefits that accrue to a person by virtue of being in employment.
  • if the person is unwilling to take up an offer of reasonableshort-timeemployment e.g. relief work or employment under a short-term contract.
  • if the person moves to a location where his/her prospects of getting suitable employment have been significantly reduced. In deciding whether a move to a location imposed unreasonable restrictions on availability for work, regard should be had to the reasons for the move. For example, people who relocate to be near family or relatives or under a resettlement programme would be regarded as indigenous residents.
  • if the person is placing unreasonable restrictions on the distance which s/he is willing to travel to find work having regard to the availability of public/private transport.
  • if s/he is placing unreasonable restrictions on his/her ability to take up work due to domesticcommitments, e.g., caring for an elderly/sick relative or for young children. If the person can show that s/he has made alternative domestic arrangements then s/he may be considered to be available for work.
  • if another person has been nominated to assume these commitments, that person should not have domestic responsibilities of his/her own, live too far away or have no realistic means of travel to client's home. Deciding Officers should note the importance of applying this criterion to both men and women.

As a person has to be available to accept offers of employment, a refusal of an offer of suitable employment, training or placement may indicate that s/he is not satisfying this condition. The reasons for such refusal should be investigated.

Part-time fire fighters

Retained fire fighters are required, under contract of employment, to reside within 1.5 miles of the fire station and to commit to turning out to the fire station within 5 minutes. Such employment should not, in itself, be regarded as representing an unreasonable restriction on availability. However, retained fire fighters must be available for additional part-time employment within the 1.5 mile area AND for suitable alternative full-time employment beyond it

In summary, while employment as a retained fire fighter is not sufficient grounds for a disallowance on availability, this does not mean that persons so employed are exempt from availability criteria.

(c) Special Provisions Regarding Availability

There are legislative provisions specifying the circumstances in which a person may be deemed to be, or is exempted from the requirement to be, available for work.

Courses of education, training or development

A person shall be deemed to be available for work while participating in a course of education, training or development approved by the Minister provided that

  • s/he is at least 21 years of age
  • s/he has been in receipt of JA/JB for at least 6 months (156 days)
  • s/he has given prior notice of his/her intention to participate in the course.

The course chosen must enhance the person's employment prospects. Courses may be approved by the Department's Case Officers or by Back to Education Schemes Section.

Once a person has been accepted on a course, s/he must notify the Department by completing the application form (EOS 1), which is available from Intreo Centres or Local/Branch Offices and The Department's website . The completed form should be returned to the relevant Intreo Centre or Local/Branch Offices for verification of the conditions regarding age and duration on the Live Register. The form should then be forwarded by the Intreo Centre/Local Office to a Case Officer for approval of the course. In determining whether participation in a course is likely to enhance the person's employment prospects, the Case Officer should have regard to the individual circumstances of the person concerned.

A broad range of courses may be approved - from personal development or basic education through to general training or the acquisition of specific job skills.

Full-time day third level courses of education which are not:

  • approved by the Department of Education and Skills for Higher education purposes, nor
  • approved for European Structural Fund purposes, nor
  • recognised by the National Council for Educational Awards

may not be approved for the purposes of this provision.

Information Leaflet "Employment Support Services Back to Education Programmes (SW 70)"

Specific courses approved:

The Horizon Project, which operates a Drug Rehabilitation Programme, and certain training courses for members of the travelling community.

  • The Access Project, which provides part-time courses in the College of Industrial Relations.
  • Short training courses provided by the Association for Personnel Services Overseas ( APSO) in Ireland for the purposes of training for persons who are preparing to go abroad as volunteer development workers.
  • VTOS "Taster" courses

Part-Time Education

Persons who wish to pursue part-time courses must demonstrate that their participation does not restrict reasonable availability for work.

Where a JB recipient is attending a part-time course under the Back to Education - Part-Time Option on the understanding that the course will help to enhance his/her employment prospects, s/he should be encouraged to complete this course. It should be noted, however, that attendance on a part-time course under the Back to Education - Part-Time Option is allowed on the clear understanding that availability for/genuinely seeking reasonable work opportunities must take precedence over course attendance, should a conflict arise.

Rehabilitation training

A person will be deemed to be available for work on any day in respect of which s/he is participating in a course of rehabilitation training provided by an organisation approved by the Minister for Health for that purpose.

Drug Rehabilitation Programmes

A person participating in a recognised drug/alcohol rehabilitation programme may be deemed to be available for work.

Voluntary Work

A jobseeker who engages in voluntary work within the State may continue to be entitled to a jobseekers payment provided that, in engaging in the voluntary work, they continue to satisfy the statutory conditions of being available for and genuinely seeking work.

Examples of voluntary work in which jobseekers may engage include

  • helping the sick, elderly or persons with a disability
  • assisting youth clubs, church groups, sports groups, cultural organisations, local resident associations

The groups involved may be nationally organised groups or local voluntary or community groups.

Aims of the Voluntary Work Option

The aim of the Voluntary Work Option is twofold, namely – to encourage voluntary organisations to involve jobseekers to the greatest extent possible in their existing activities by creating new opportunities for voluntary work and to inform jobseekers of their freedom to involve themselves in voluntary work and to encourage them to do so.

Applying for the Voluntary Work Option

The jobseeker or the voluntary organisation/group involved should request an application form VW 1 from the Intreo Centre or Local/Branch Office. The completed application form should be sent to the Intreo Centre or Local/Branch Office and a Deciding Officer will determine whether the customer may take up the work in question without affecting entitlement to the jobseekers payment.

Decisions in relation to Voluntary Work

In considering an application, the Deciding Officer will determine whether the work concerned is voluntary within the meaning of the scheme and whether the jobseeker would continue to satisfy the statutory conditions for getting the jobseekers payment. The Deciding Officer will need to be satisfied that the jobseeker is available to take up employment, if offered it, and that they are making genuine efforts to find work. This applies whether the voluntary work is full or part-time.

While it is not possible to lay down hard and fast rules as to what constitutes voluntary work the position should be clear in most cases. Factors to be taken into account will include:

  • the type of work involved,
  • the aims and standing of the voluntary body,
  • the weekly hours worked,
  • amount of any payment received by way of out-of-pocket expenses

The voluntary work would normally involve only a few hours a day or a few days a week but full-time involvement in voluntary activities would not necessarily be ruled out. However, there should be no implication of Job Replacement or Cheap Labour. Any payment for the voluntary work should generally be limited to out-of-pocket expenses such as travelling expenses or meal allowances.

Claimant on course of education/training (part-time or full-time)

JB is not payable where a person is in receipt of an allowance in respect of a course of education, training or development (including a course run by SOLAS/Education & Training Boards). S/he does not continue to satisfy the conditions for receipt of an unemployment payment on the grounds that s/he is not considered to be available for full-time work.

Where the claimant is not in receipt of an allowance, the claim should be examined to determine if s/he qualifies for continued payment of JA/JB under the Educational, Training & Development (E, T&D) option or the Part-Time Education Option (PTEO) - see Back to Education Programmes folder for more details.

Spouse/Civil Partner/Cohabitant on SOLAS/Education & Training Boards Course 

Where the spouse/civil partner/cohabitant of a JB claimant is in receipt of an allowance in respect of a full-time SOLAS/Education & Training Boards course, s/he is not considered to be a qualified adult dependant. SOLAS/Education & Training Boards is/are responsible for paying the spouse/civil partner/cohabitant (and an increase for qualified children if applicable).

Spouse/Civil Partner/Cohabitant on other Training/Educational Courses

Where a spouse/civil partner/cohabitant is participating in a full-time or part-time course which is not administered by SOLAS/Education & Training Boards, the full increase for a qualified adult (IQA) is payable where the spouse/civil partner/cohabitant's total gross weekly income does not exceed €100.00 per week. A tapered rate is payable where the weekly earnings are between €100.00 and €310.00, no qualified adult allowance is payable if the earnings exceed €310 per week.

NOTE 1: A Qualified Adult Increase (IQA/RIQA) is not payable where the spouse/civil partner/cohabitant is in receipt of a Social Welfare payment in his/her own right, e.g. Back to Education Allowance.

NOTE 2: Payments received by a spouse/civil partner/cohabitant in respect of expenses necessarily incurred in attending a course of education or training, e.g. travel and meal expenses, are disregarded when calculating total gross weekly income.

(d) JB payable during the summer period - Reinstatement of BTEA after the summer holiday period.

BTEA participants formerly in receipt of JA/JB are not entitled to be paid BTEA during the summer months (RDO MEMO 18/03 refers).

BTEA participants who progress to the next year of their course or who are progressing in second level or third level undergraduate qualifications are eligible to have their BTEA (SLO/TLO) reinstated from the commencement of the new academic year.

This provision applies irrespective of whether the BTEA participant, works for the summer, goes abroad for the summer, signs on for the summer or signs for the summer and exhausts JB entitlement.

With effect from 28 December 2006, the half rate Increase for a Qualified Child (IQC) is not payable to JB customers where the spouse/civil partner/cohabitant has a weekly income in excess of €400.00 (previously €350.00). As participants on the BTEA scheme should not lose out financially while pursuing a course of study, the half rate IQC should be restored on reinstatement of BTEA for the new academic year. This applies only to BTEA participants who commenced a course of study prior to 19 January 2004.

The Back to Education Allowance is a non-statutory, stand alone scheme using JA/JB (ISTS) as a payment mechanism. Once the claim category i.e. SLO/TLO is entered on approved cases, the claim is no longer considered to be one of JA or JB.

GENUINELY SEEKING WORK

A day is not treated as a day of unemployment unless on that day the person is genuinely seeking work which is suitable for him/her, having regard to his/her age, education, physique, location and family circumstances.

To satisfy this condition, it is necessary for the person to demonstrate that s/he has taken some positive action and is making genuine efforts to secure employment. The person must show that s/he has taken reasonable steps to secure employment during the relevant period and provide examples of such steps. The relevant period is the period in respect of which the person concerned has made a declaration that s/he has been continuously unemployed since the date of his/her application for JB.

(a) steps required to prove genuinely seeking employment

The steps which a person is required to take should:

  • be reasonable in his/her case,

and

  • offer him/her the best prospects of securing employment.

Steps which would indicate that a person is genuinely seeking work may include:

  • making oral or written applications for work to employers or persons who have advertised job offers on behalf of an employer;
  • looking for information on the availability of employment from employers, advertisements, employment agencies and people who have placed advertisements indicating that employment is available;
  • availing of reasonable training opportunities suitable in his/her case;
  • acting on the advice given by a Case Officer, or the Local Employment Service (LES) or the contractor. A Deciding Officer should question a person on whether s/he has acted on the basis of that advice.
  • taking positive, well advised steps towards establishing him/herself in self-employment which would take the form of
  • researching possible areas of self-employment, or
  • preparing business plans for a self-employment project, or
  • attending relevant "start your own business" courses, or
  • seeking information, advice or guidance in relation to any of these steps.

Regard may be had to any other steps which a person has taken - provided they offer the best chance of getting employment.

Taking one step on a single occasion in a relevant period may not be enough to satisfy this condition unless that is all that was reasonable for the person to do in that period.

Each action, such as

  • reading the Situations Vacant columns in the newspaper;
  • reading the job advertisements in the Intreo Offices & using the Work and Training Information System (WATIS) machine,
  • writing to an employer,
  • applying for a particular job vacancy,

constitutes a single step to get employment. For example, checking the WATIS machine, writing to an employer and applying for a job vacancy in the same period would be taken as 3 steps to seek employment

The steps which people are expected to take to seek work will vary from person to person and from one period to the next. In determining what are reasonable steps, the Deciding Officer should consider the nature and conditions of the employment sought and have regard to the individual circumstances of the person concerned in examining the steps taken to seek the type of employment in question.

What can be reasonably expected of a person may change during the course of a claim. For example, a person who checks the newspaper every day for 3 weeks may be unsuccessful in getting employment. S/he may be advised that this course of action may no longer be considered a sufficient approach to take, and that it would be reasonable to expect him/her to take additional steps - such as visiting employers' premises and enquiring about job vacancies.

Some people will have good chances of getting employment and will have many steps open to her/him in getting an offer of employment. They would not be required to take all the steps open to them, only those which are reasonable and offer them the best prospects of getting such an offer. Other people may have poor prospects of getting employment and only a few steps open to them. In this case it may be reasonable for them to take all these steps. For example, a highly skilled person seeking a highly skilled job writing to a particular employer in that field may be the best step for such a person to take rather than simply checking the Situations Vacant column in the newspapers for such a job.

When deciding whether a person has made genuine efforts, i.e. taken reasonable steps, to seek employment, the Deciding Officer should consider all the circumstances of the case. Particular matters which must be taken into account are:

  • the person's skills, qualifications and work experience;
  • the period of unemployment;
  • the efforts made in previous weeks to seek employment;
  • the availability and location of job vacancies; and
  • the person's family circumstances.

A person's skills, qualifications and experience may affect both the type of employment being sought and the range of steps which s/he may reasonably be expected to take to seek such employment. For example, if a person is illiterate s/he cannot reasonably be expected to write to employers or read advertisements but may take other steps such as visiting or phoning employers.

Steps taken in previous weeks may affect the current efforts which a person may be expected to make to seek work. For example, if a person has written to a number of employers and is awaiting replies, s/he cannot reasonably be expected to write to those employers again until a reasonable time has elapsed. However this would not prevent a person from taking other appropriate steps to secure employment, e.g. checking advertisements, visiting FAS or approaching other employers.

A person's family circumstances must also be taken into account. For example, such persons may need to make travelling arrangements in advance to visit prospective employers in view of their family circumstances. It may be unreasonable for a person with certain family responsibilities to seek work which involves a considerable amount of travelling time to and from work.

REFUSAL OR FAILURE TO ENGAGE WITH ACTIVATION MEASURES – PENALTY RATES APPLY

Note: Activation measures are separated out into

  1. Refusal or failure to attend activation meetings, (Section 62A), and
  2. Refusal or failure to participate in prescribed schemes, programmes or courses (Section 62B)

The Social Welfare Consolidation Act 2005 (as amended by the Social Welfare & Pensions (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2013) provides for a reduction in payment where a person, following notice given by or on behalf of the Minister:

i) refuses or fails, without good cause, to attend at a meeting arranged by or on behalf of the Minister for the purpose of providing information to that person which is intended to improve his or her knowledge of the employment, work experience, education, training and development opportunities available to that person, or

ii) refuses or fails, without good cause, to submit to an assessment of that person’s education, training or development needs

iii) refuses or fails, without good cause, to participate in, agree to participate in or avail himself or herself of an opportunity of participating in

  1.  any scheme or programme of employment or work experience
  2. Or

  3. a course of education, training or development, which is prescribed for the purposes of this section* and which is considered appropriate having regard to the education, training and development needs of that person and his or her personal circumstances

where a request is made by or on behalf of the Minister to that person (as a consequence of attendance for or submission to an assessment at i) or ii) above) to participate in, agree to participate in or avail himself or herself of an opportunity of participating in a participating in a scheme, programme or course, as the case may be, at a) or b) above.

Prescribed Employment Programmes and Schemes and Courses of Education, Training and Development

  • Community Employment
  • A course of training or development provided by or on behalf of SOLAS
  • A course of education, training or development provided by or on behalf of an Education & Training Board (ETB)
  • Such other course of education, training or development as may be approved by or on behalf of the Minister from time to time
  • SUBSTANTIAL LOSS OF EMPLOYMENT

    To qualify for JB, a person must sustain a substantial loss of employment. A person is regarded as having sustained a substantial loss of employment if s/he has lost at least one day of insurable employment in any period of 6 days as an officer of the Minister may determine, provided his/her reckonable earnings or reckonable income are reduced as a consequence of the loss of employment. In short, the number of days worked in any JB week (i.e. Thurs - Wed) must be less than the normal number of days worked prior to the date of claim.

    A person whose employment has terminated and is now fully unemployed will obviously satisfy the substantial loss rule. However, where the person continues to work for at least one day per week, the position must be determined by reference to the circumstances of the case.

    (a) Legislation Governing the Substantial Loss Condition

    Section 62(1)(d) of the Social Welfare Act 2005 provides for the exemption of all casual workers and part-time firefighters from having to satisfy the substantial loss of employment condition in order to be entitled to JB.

    (b) Part-time Workers and Substantial Loss Condition
    There are 3 categories of claimant who may qualify for JB while partially employed. They are:
    • Systematic Short-time workers (SST)
    • Casual workers, and
    • Part-time workers.

    From 21 February 2013  - To qualify for JB, a person must be unemployed for at least 4 days in 7 days.

    Prior to 21st February 2013 - To qualify for JB, a person must be unemployed for at least 3 days in 6 (see "Period of Interruption of Employment") and, exceptinthecaseofcasualworkers, must suffer a substantial loss of employment.

    Deciding Officers should approach the matter as follows:

    • Is the person a systematic short-time worker? (if s/he is, the condition regarding substantial loss has automatically been satisfied).
    • If not, is s/he a casual worker? (if s/he is, the condition does not apply)
    • If neither, the person must be a part-time worker to whom the substantial loss rule applies.
    (c) Classification of Casual/Part-Time Employees for JB purposes

    There is no situation where a claimant can be automatically classified as either a casual or a part-time employee. Each case must be examined on its own merits. In determining whether a person is engaged in casual employment, Deciding Officers should have regard to the following:

    • the claimant's employment history,
    • any fluctuation in the number of days worked,
    • the existence of a written contract of employment or an unwritten understanding between the employer and employee,
    • the claimant's commitment to a specific employer, e.g. membership of the company's pension scheme or membership of a trade union,
    • that if an employee is in receipt of a set wage, it is a strong indicator that his/her days of employment do not vary in line with fluctuations in his/her employer's business.
    (d) Determining whether there has been a Substantial Loss

    The substantial loss condition must be satisfied at the start of all new JB claims, except for "Casuals".

    Deciding Officers should:

    • Establish the normal level of employment.
    • Compare the level of employment in each JB week (i.e. Thurs - Wed) with the normal level of employment.
    • Payment should only be paid in any JB week where the substantial loss of employment condition has been satisfied.

     

    Normal Level of Employment

    For fully unemployed persons and Part-Time/Systematic Short-Time workers the normal level of employment is calculated once at the start of each JB claim and remains for the duration of the claim. As the Substantial Loss condition does not apply to Casual workers, the normal level of employment is not calculated at the start of these JB claims.

    During the course of a JB claim however, a change in circumstances may necessitate a re-classification from Casual to Part-Time. It will be necessary in these cases, to establish a normal level of employment.

    (Please see paragraphs on " re-classification of Casual Workers during the lifetime of a JB claim")

    Establishing Normal Level of Employment

    The period over which the normal level of employment is to be measured is determined by reference to a representative period preceding the date of claim.

    It is usual for the 13 week period immediately preceding the date of claim to be used for this purpose, where it is an accurate reflection of the normal employment pattern. If this information is not available from Intreo Centre or Local/Branch Office records, details should be obtained from the employer.

    Where the level of employment during the preceding 13 weeks differed temporarily but significantly from the person's previous level of employment, it may be more appropriate for the Deciding Officer to choose an alternative period. For example, where the person's level of employment fluctuated because of annual workflow patterns or unusual circumstances, the Deciding Officer should look at the record of employment over the previous 26 or 52 weeks.

    Where the person had no employment during the preceding 13 week period, e.g. where s/he lost employment while in receipt of IB, the normal level of employment should be determined by reference to a representative period before the period on IB.

    Where a person obtained additional employment during the period immediately preceding expiry of 390 days JB and the number of days reduced again when the new claim was made, enquiries should also be made as to whether the additional days continue to be available, and as to whether s/he is available for and genuinely seeking full-time employment. A period of 26 weeks or 52 weeks would be more representative in these circumstances.

    NOTE

    • Sunday is counted in establishing the normal level of employment. A loss of employment on a Sunday can therefore satisfy the "substantial loss" test.
    • A public holiday for which a person received holiday pay from the employer during the representative period should be counted as a day of employment when determining the normal level of employment, even if the person would not normally have been required to work on that day.

     

    Rounding of Days

    When determining a person's normal level of employment, a part of a day should be rounded up or down to the nearest day, as appropriate.

    (e) Systematic Short-time

    Short-time employment means employment in which, for the time being, a number of days is systematically worked in a working week which is less than the number of days which is normal in a working week in the employment concerned.

    Short-time working must be systematic, i.e., there must be a clear repetitive pattern of employment each week, e.g. 1, 2 or 3 days per week, every week or say 2 days in the first week and three days in the second week, with this pattern repeated every two weeks.

    The person must also work at least one day in each week that s/he would normally be working (i.e. which is normal in a working week in the employment concerned)

    Work on a week-on/week-off basis is not systematic short-time.

    In determining whether/not a person is working on a systematic short-time basis, Deciding Officers should consider:

    • whether there is a history of full-time employment, e.g., more than 6 months with the same employer.
    • whether the person's decision to commence short-time working is voluntary/involuntary.
    • whether it is the intention of the employer that the short-time working arrangements will be temporary. The likely resumption date should be noted and the position kept under review.
    • During the course of a claim, regard should be had to developments within the firm/company. For example, if the employer has taken on extra staff or has staff on overtime since the introduction of short-time working, the systematic short-time arrangements no longer apply. In such cases, the person may be re-classified as a part-time worker.

     

    Rate/Days of Payment for Short-time Claimants

    The number of days of JB payable each week to a short-time worker is limited to ensure that the total number of days paid and the number of days worked do not exceed five. The amount of JB payable in respect of each day of unemployment is one-fifth of the appropriate weekly JB rate.

    EXAMPLE:

    A single person's working pattern is reduced from 5 days a week (Mon - Fri) to 3 days a week (Mon - Wed) 2 days JB are payable @ 1/5 JB weekly rate in respect of each day.

    (f) Systematic Short-time Workers and Substantial Loss

    By definition, a short-time worker satisfies the substantial loss condition. However, where a person exhausts entitlement to JB, a number of factors must be considered for re-qualification purposes, including:

    • Does SST still apply? If the employment pattern has not changed during the course of the previous claim, it is reasonable to regard the person as a part-time worker rather than an SST worker.
    • The sub loss condition must be examined in respect of a representative period immediately prior to the date of the latest claim.
    (g) Week-on Week-off Working and Substantial Loss

    In order to satisfy the substantial loss condition, the number of days actually worked after the date of claim for JB must be less than the number of days actually worked prior to then. If a person had been working continuously on a week-on week-off (WOWO) basis prior to the JB claim, and continues to work the same pattern of days thereafter, there would be no actual loss of employment, and JB would not be payable.

    All week-on week-off claims should be reviewed on re-qualification following expiry of JB.

    (h) Legislation Governing Classification of Casual Employees

    Article 51 of S.I. 142/2007 sets out the circumstances, as follows, in which a person is regarded as a casual employee where s/he is:

    • normally employed for periods of less than a week,
    • the number of days and the days of the week on which the person is employed varies with the level of activity in the employer's business, and
    • on the termination of each period of employment the person has no assurance of being re-employed with the same employer.

    In arriving at their decisions, Deciding Officers are required to have regard to all 3 of the considerations set out above. If the worker/work pattern does not comply with all 3 of the above - mentioned requirements, the person cannot be classified as a casual worker.

    Employment on a casual basis implies that the number of days worked will vary each week with the amount of work available. There will be no established pattern of days. This variety will also be reflected in the wages paid. A set weekly wage regardless of the hours worked would not be treated as casual employment. Variations in hours/days worked must be due to the employer's requirements, as opposed to a work pattern chosen by the employee. In addition, there must be no guaranteed minimum hours or wages each week.

    If the employee was previously working full-time or had regular part-time hours with the same employer, there must have been a change of situation, indicating the termination of any fixed contract. This usually includes the employee receiving a P.45. To some degree a casual worker is employed on an ad-hoc/on-call arrangement, depending on the employer's level of business.

    In determining whether a person is a casual worker, regard should be had to the employment during the 6 months immediately before the first day of the JB claim. Deciding Officers have discretion to have regard to other periods where there is good reason to believe that an alternative period would be more representative of the person's working pattern.

    There are circumstances where a casual worker doing relief work may be given a temporary guarantee of work for a number of weeks, e.g. for 2 weeks while a regular employee is absent from work due to illness. In such cases, the underlying normal working pattern (which is casual) may be accepted as continuing, rather than the Deciding Officer having regard to the temporary arrangement.

    Only those who fit the above description of a casual worker are exempt from satisfying the substantial loss condition.

    Re-classification of Casual Workers during the lifetime of a JB claim

    (i) Re-classification due to a change in circumstances

    Deciding Officers have discretion under the legislation to revise a previous decision where it appears to him/her that there has been a change of circumstances. In the case of a casual employee, regard should be had to his/her employment pattern during the course of the claim. If it comes to light that there has been a change in the employment pattern since the date of the original decision which suggests that the claimant is no longer employed on a casual basis e.g. where there appears to be a consistent, regular pattern of employment with one or more employers, he or she may be re-classified as a part-time employee and the substantial loss of employment condition applied. The decision, in this case, should be given from a current date. The Deciding Officer must establish the normal level of employment. The correct representative period to be used is either the 13, 26 or 52 week period immediatelypriortothe date of the re-classification.

    A claim may be re-classified at any stage during its lifetime irrespective of the type of employment in which the claimant is engaged. It should be noted that there are no special arrangements in place to exempt any group of workers/ specific occupations from being re-classified as part-time workers.

    (j) Incorrect classification of Casuals at date of claim

    Where it becomes apparent to a Deciding Officer that a person was incorrectly classified as a Casual at the date of claim, the re-classification to Part-Time should apply from the date of the award of the claim. In will be necessary to establish the normal level of employment in these cases. In establishing the normal level of employment the correct representative period to be used is either the 13, 26 or 52 weeks prior to the date oftheoriginal claim.

    Where the re-classification and application of the normal level of employment results in a change in the claimant's entitlement to Jobseeker's Benefit, a Deciding Officer should make a revised decision and also determine the date from which that decision is effective. Section 302 (a) (b) & (c) of the Social Welfare (Consolidation) Act, 2005 sets out the date from which a revised decision should take effect. The Deciding Officer determines the appropriate effective date, having regard to the legislation and the circumstances of the case.

    In these cases, where the entitlement is reduced or withdrawn due to a failure to apply the legislation correctly and no fault can be attached to the claimant, Section 302 (c) should be applied from a current date. (For more information on the application of this legislation please read the Revised Decisions Guideline which can be found in the Guidelines Shared Drawer)

    (k) Re-classification of Casual Workers following exhaustion of JB

    Casual claims should be examined at the re-qualification stage in order to determine whether the exemption from having to satisfy the substantial loss of employment still applies.

    (l) Availability and Genuinely Seeking Employment for part-time/casual & SST claimants

    Casual and Part-Time customers are required to satisfy the conditions of being available for and genuinely seeking employment in the same way as all other categories of customer. Where a Deciding Officer is satisfied that the customer is not making all efforts within the means available to him/her to secure full-time employment, the claim may be disallowed on these grounds.

    CONTRIBUTION CONDITIONS

    To qualify for JB a person must satisfy certain contribution conditions, which are detailed below. The first condition is common to all JB claims. There are two methods by which a person can satisfy the second condition. Also, in the paragraph dealing with the second contribution condition, please note the two different definitions of the Governing Contribution Year (GCY). This change in definition is due to the alignment of the tax year with the calendar year from 01 January 2002.

    (a) First Contribution Condition

    From 5 th January 2009 a person must have at least 104 (previously 52) reckonable contributions paid since they entered insurable employment. Only contributions payable at Classes A, H and P (or the equivalent rates before April 1979) are reckonable for this purpose.

    Prior to the 7 April 2004, the number of reckonable contributions required between the date of entry into insurable employment and the date the claim is made was 39 weeks. Prior to the 7 April 2004, the number of reckonable contributions required between the date of entry into insurable employment and the date the claim is made was 39 weeks.

    (b) Second Contribution Condition
    • From 5 th January 2009 a person must have at least 39 reckonable contributions paid or credited in the Governing Contribution Year (GCY) and 13 of these contributions must be paid contributions

    OR

    • A person must have at least 26 reckonable contributions paid in both the Governing Contribution Year (GCY) and the year immediately preceding the GCY.

     

    If a person has not 13 paid contributions in the Governing Contribution Year (GCY) he/she must have the 13 contributions paid in any of one the following years:

    The two tax years before the relevant tax year

    The last complete tax year
    or
    The current tax year

    For claims made prior to the prior to the 5 th January 2009 it is not necessary to have the 13 paid contributions in the GCY.

    Definitions of Governing Contribution Year

    Until 05 April 2001, the contribution year ran from 06 April to 05 April. With the alignment of the tax and calendar year from 01 January 2002, the contribution year runs from 01 January to 31 December. Consequently there are two definitions of the governing contribution year, the first which applies in respect of all claims made up to and including 06 January 2002 and the second which applies to all claims made from 07 January 2002.

    • For all claims made up to and including 06 January 2002, the Governing Contribution Year (GCY) is the last complete contribution year before the benefit year in which the claim is made. A benefit year begins on the first Monday in January in any calendar year and ends with the Sunday immediately before the first Monday in the next calendar year.

     

    Example :

    Date of claim: 23/03/2001

    Governing Contribution Year: 1999/2000 (06/04/99 - 05/04/00)

    Claimant's Record: 1999/2000 = 35A

    1998/1999 = 27A

    Claimant in this case has insufficient contributions paid or credited in the Governing Contribution Year (GCY). However, as there are at least 26 paid contributions in the GCY, the year immediately preceding the GCY should be examined.

    The second contribution is satisfied as the claimant has at least 26 contributions paid in both the GCY and the year immediately preceding the GCY.

    • For claims made from 07 January 2002, the Governing Contribution Year (GCY) is the second last complete contribution year before the benefit year in which the claim is made.

     

    Example :

    Date of claim: 23/03/2002

    Governing Contribution Year: 2000/2001 (06/04/00 - 05/04/01)

    Claimant's Record: 2000/2001 = 35A

    1999/2000 = 27A

    Claimant in this case has insufficient contributions paid or credited in the Governing Contribution Year (GCY). However, as there are at least 26 paid contributions in the GCY, the year immediately preceding the GCY should be examined.

    The second contribution is satisfied as the claimant has at least 26 contributions paid in both the GCY and the year immediately preceding the GCY.

    (c) Third condition: Earnings

    The amount of the person's average reckonable weekly earnings in the GCY determines the rate of benefit payable. For the full rate of JB to be paid, the earnings in the GCY divided by the number of qualifying contributions in that year must be above the prescribed amount.

    Reduced Rates of JB are payable where the average reckonable weekly earnings are less than the prescribed amount.

    Reckonable weekly earnings for this purpose are earnings derived from employment which was insured at PRSI Class A,B,C,D,E,H,J,P and S. The reckonable earnings in the GCY are increased by the pension contributions made in that year.  Reckonable earnings also include earnings from CE schemes (formerly SES) insurable at class A or J and SOLAS training allowances insurable at Class J. Where a person had no earnings (only credits) or weekly earnings of less than €32.00 in the GCY, a notional earnings figure of €32.00 is applied.

    (d) Calculation of Reckonable Weekly Earnings

    The total reckonable gross earnings (i.e. with no deductions) in the GCY is divided by the number of qualifying contributions (Class A, H or P) in that GCY.

    EXAMPLE :

    In the GCY 2002 person has the following record;

    5 Unemployment Credits (from a JB Claim)

    40 A1 Contributions with €12,000.00 earnings

    7 J0 Contributions with €500.00 earnings

    The average weekly reckonable earnings are calculated as follows;

    Earnings: €12,000.00 + €500.00 = €12,500.00

    Total number of Qualifying Cons: 40A

    Average weekly earnings = €12,500.00/40 = €312.50

    In this example, the person is entitled to the full personal rate of JB.

    If a person worked only one week in the GCY, earning €300.00, reckonable weekly earnings would be €300.00

    (e) Tax calendar year alignment from 1 January 2002

    The Government announced the Tax and Calendar Year (TCY) alignment from 01 January 2002. Consequently, the PRSI contribution year was also aligned with the calendar year from the same date. Therefore, the tax/contribution year commencing on 06 April 2001 ended on 31 December 2001, with a maximum of 39 contribution weeks (some employees may only have 38 paid contributions for this period).

    Award of Additional Contributions

    To ensure that no person is disadvantaged as a consequence of the re-alignment of the contribution year, it has been decided to award 14 additional contributions in respect of the short (2001) contribution year from 06/04/2001 to 31/12/2001, as follows:

    • Where a person has one or more paid contributions* in the 2001 contribution year, i.e. the period from 06/04/2001 - 31/12/2001, an extra 14 PAID contributions will be added to that person's record for 2001.
    • Where a person has credited contributions only in the 2001 year, 14 additional credits will be awarded.

     

    The additional contributions will be at the highest value Class or Sub-Class paid by the person in the contribution year. The order for the value of PRSI classes is: A, H, E, S, D, B, C.

    Class J Contributions

    As class J contributors are insured for occupational injuries benefits only, their entitlements are not affected by the alignment of the tax and calendar years. Therefore, where a person has Class J Contributions only in 2001, extra contributions do not need to be added. Where a person has class J contributions and Credits in 2001, e.g. in respect of a SOLAS training course (formerly known as FÁS), 14 extra credits at the highest value of credit will be added.

    The principal aim of the additional contributions is to protect the "governing contribution year" (GCY). To ensure that this protection extends to all short-term schemes and as there is a requirement to have 13 paid contributions in the GCY to qualify for certain schemes (e.g. Illness Benefit), it is necessary that, where appropriate, the additional contributions are equal to PAID, as opposed to CREDITED, contributions.

    Jobseeker's Benefit paid on foreign record

    An administrative arrangement has been made to ensure that any customer applying for Jobseeker's Benefit on foot of a foreign insurance record will also benefit from the 14 additional contributions/credits. The contributions/credits should only be added where the customer has not already benefited on their Irish record i.e. if the customer has an Irish record for 2001 s/he will already have been awarded the 14 extra contributions/credits and should not be awarded an additional 14.

    Recording of the 14 Additional Contributions

    2001 Paid Contributions

    The 14 additional contributions are being recorded automatically on CRS at the same time as the paid contributions. These additional contributions are included in the total displayed on the relevant CRS screen.

    2001 Credited Contributions

    CRS awards credits automatically, where applicable, as soon as a claim is closed on the payments system (ISTS). The 14 additional credits are recorded automatically in respect of all ISTS claims closed since 06/04/2001. These additional credits are included in the total displayed on the relevant CRS screen.

    Change in PRSI Class

    Where additional contributions are recorded and a higher value contribution is subsequently received, or where the highest value is amended at a later date, the 14 additional contributions will adjust automatically to reflect the updated position.

    Identification of Additional Contributions

    When added to the CRS screens, the 14 additional contributions/credits will not be shown as a separate subclass on CRS due to technical difficulties (see also Section 5 below). They can only be distinguished by the fact that in any 2001 contribution record the number of the highest class/subclass of contribution, whether paid or credited, will include the 14 additional contributions. Deciding Officers should take this into account when accessing 2001 information from the CRS screen.

    Reckonability of the 14 Additional Contributions/credits

    For JB purposes, the contributions ARE reckonable for the following:

    • The second contribution condition, i.e. 39 contributions paid or credited in the GCY. The award of the 14 additional contributions or credits in respect of the 2001 GCY will allow a customer with only 25 contributions or credits to qualify for payment.
    • 26 contributions paid in the GCY and the year immediately preceding the GCY, where the additional contributions are recorded as paid.

     

    For JB purposes, the contributions ARE NOT reckonable for the following:

    • The firstcontributioncondition.

    (52 contributions paid since date of entry into insurance). The additional 14 contributions should not be used to satisfy this condition.

    • Qualification for JB credits after a break of two consecutive years (SI 312/96, previously SI 5/53).

    Where there is a break of two consecutive years in paid/credited contributions, at least 26 paid contributions are required to qualify for credits. The award of the 14 contributions will not count towards the requisite 26.

    • Re-qualification for JB after Exhausting Benefit.

    If a customer obtains 1 paid contribution from employment during the 2001 contribution year, 14 additional contributions will be added to his/her record. These additional contributions are not reckonable for the purpose of re-qualification, i.e. they should not be counted towards the necessary 13 re-qualifying contributions.

    • Calculation of 2001 Reckonable Weekly Earnings.

    To ensure that the correct RWE is calculated, i.e. the average weekly earnings in respect of each week of employment, the earnings should be divided by the number of reckonable contributions actually paid in the GCY. Theadditional14contributionsarenotreckonableforthispurpose.

    Example: If a total of 40 class A contributions are recorded in respect of the 2001 contribution year, the earnings will be divided by 26 to determine the reckonable weekly earnings, i.e. 40 less 14.

    Award of credited contributions and the short 2001 tax year

    Article 57(1) of SI 312 of 1996 Social Welfare(Consolidation Contributions and Insurability) Regulations, 1996 states: 'Where for any2 complete consecutivecontributionyears, there are no employment contributions paid or credited in respect of an insured person, then an employment contribution shall not be credited to such person in accordance with articles 58, 60, 61, 62 and 64 unless, since the end of the second of the said contribution years, 26 employment contributions have been paid in respect of such person.'

    The above legislation refers to the situation where a customer who has two full blank consecutive contribution years in his/her insurance record, must obtain a further 26 contributions at Class A or H in order to re-qualify for credits.

    Award of Credited Contributions

    To ensure that no person is disadvantaged as a consequence of the realignment of the contribution year, the following administrative decision has been made. Where a credits customer has 2 consecutive contribution years in which no contributions have been paid or credited (i.e. 2 blank years), one of which is the short tax year 2001, the periods specified below, as appropriate, may be taken in deciding whether the terms of Article 57(1) of SI 312 of 1996 apply when deciding these credits claims:

    • 6 April 2000 to 5 April 2001 and 6 April 2001 to 5 April 2002

    OR

    • 1 January 2001 to 31 December 2001 and 1 January 2002 to 31 December 2002.

     

    EXAMPLES

    EXAMPLE 1(a): WHERE A CUSTOMER APPLIES FOR CREDITS BETWEEN 1 JAN 2002 AND 5 APRIL 2002

    Con Year

    Paid Cons

    Credits

    1999/2000

    26

    26

    2000/2001

    00

    00

    2001

    00

    00

    There are 2 blank contribution years in this record, one of which is the Short Tax Year 2001.

    In this example the customer applied for credits prior to 6 April 2002 therefore the terms of Article 57(1) of SI 312 of 1996 DO NOT apply and the customer is entitled to credited contributions.

    EXAMPLE 1(b): WHERE A CUSTOMER APPLIES FOR CREDITS BETWEEN 6 APRIL 2002 AND 31 DECEMBER 2002

    Con Year

    Paid Cons

    Credits

    1999/2000

    26

    26

    2000/2001

    00

    00

    2001

    00

    00

    2002

    12

    00

    There are 2 blank contribution years in this record, one of which is the Short Tax Year 2001.

    In this example if any of the 12 paid contributions in the 2002 contribution year were paid in the period 1 Jan 2002 to 5 April 2002 then the terms of Article 57(1) of SI 312 of 1996 DO NOT apply and the customer is entitled to credited contributions.

    EXAMPLE 2: WHERE A CUSTOMER APPLIES FOR CREDITS BETWEEN 1 JAN 2003 AND 31 DECEMBER 2003

    Con Year

    Paid Cons

    Credits

    2000/2001

    10

    12

    2001

    00

    00

    2002

    00

    00

    2003

    20

    00


    There are 2 blank contribution years in this record, one of which is the Short Tax Year 2001.

    In this example, if any of the 10 paid contributions or the 12 Credits in the 2000/2001 contribution year were paid/credited in the period 1 Jan 2001to 5 April 2001 then the terms of Article 57(1) of SI 312 of 1996 DO NOT apply and the customer is entitled to credited contributions.

    (f) Unbroken PIE since 4/1/1993: Special Provision

    A saver clause protects those who have been in receipt of benefit in respect of an unbroken PIE since 4/1/1993. If a person should transfer from IB or Invalidity Pension having been in receipt of same since 4/1/1993, full rate JB would be payable as long as the PIE remains unbroken. (See section in respect of PIE)

    (g) Volunteer development workers: Special Provisions

    Section 13 of the Social Welfare (No.2 Act) 1993 introduced special provisions for persons making a JB claim having been a Volunteer Development Worker (VDW) in a developing country.

    From 21 December 1993, Volunteer Development Workers who worked abroad for an organisation which was affiliated to the Agency for Personnel Services Overseas (APSO), did not require reckonable weekly earnings of a prescribed amount to qualify for full rate Jobseeker's Benefit in respect of certain Jobseeker's Benefit claims made on their return. In effect, this meant that fullrateJB was paid in such cases for:

    • all JB claims made during the benefit year in which s/he returned to Ireland and
    • all JB claims made in the succeeding benefit year, provided that all other qualifying conditions were satisfied.

     

    Extension of Special Provision

    Section 24(2) of the 1999 Social Welfare Act extended these special provisions to include an extra Benefit Year.

    Section 64(8) of the Social Welfare (Consolidation) Act 2005 deals with provision of employment benefit rate applicable to a person who returns to the state having been a Volunteer Development Worker.

    This means that fullrateJB is now paid in such cases for:

    • all JB claims made during the benefit year in which s/he returned to Ireland and
    • all JB claims made in the two succeeding benefit years, provided that all other qualifying conditions are satisfied.

    Example

    A Volunteer Development Worker returns to the State on 1/3/1999 after spending 5 years in a developing country.

    1st claim (Benefit Year: 04 Jan 1999 - 02 Jan 2000)

    Date of JB claim 2/3/1999

    GCY 97/98 52 VDW credits

    JB claim may be authorised atfullrate provided all other conditions are satisfied. S/he receives JB from 5/3/1999 to 12/4/2000, and returns to work on 13/4/2000. This employment terminates on the 11/8/2000.

    2nd claim (Benefit Year: 03 Jan 2000 - 31 Dec 2000 )

    Date of JB claim 14/8/2000

    GCY 98/99 47 VDW credits

    5 JB credits

    JB claim may be authorised atfullrate provided all other conditions are satisfied. Claimant receives JB from 17/8/2000 to 14/1/2001, and returns to work on 17/1/2001. This employment terminates on 14/6/2001.

    3rd claim (Benefit Year: 01 Jan 2001 - 07 Jan 2002 )

    Date of JB Claim 16/6/2001

    GCY 99/00 52 JB credits

    JB claim may be authorised atfullrate provided all other conditions are satisfied.

    NOTE:

    Persons in respect of whom Class A PRSI contributions were paid prior to commencing the Voluntary work are entitled to credits for the period spent abroad up to a maximum of 5 years.

    Persons in respect of whom Class B, C or D contributions were paid prior to commencing the voluntary work may have class A contributions paid through APSO for the first 39 weeks of the stay abroad followed by credits for up to a maximum of 5 years.

    The onus is on the claimant to contact APSO and have the record of work abroad submitted to the Special Collection Section of the Department in order to record the number of credits due.

    VDW credits are not applicable where a person has two consecutive years, in which no contribution has been paid or credited, immediately prior to going abroad as a Volunteer Development Worker (Article 57(1), SI 312 of 1996).

    (h) Contributions paid while working in another EU/EEA State

    Aggregation of Social Insurance Records

    Article 6 of EU/EEA Regulation 883/2004 provides for periods of social insurance (PRSI) in one Member State to be credited to a worker's social insurance record in another Member State to facilitate qualification for JB.

    • The person must have been covered by a period of social insurance in the other country.
    • The person must have paid at least 1 reckonable contribution since the date when s/he arrived or last arrived in Ireland.

    Social insurance credited to a person under this Article may be used to satisfy all of the contribution conditions for entitlement to JB.

    EU Records Section, Buncrana, Co Donegal are responsible for the request of all EU Records (except United Kingdom cases, which is requested directly by the Local Office).

    Details of the person's actual earnings abroad are not sought. Instead, the person is credited with notional earnings (currently €629.42 in respect of each week that s/he worked in the other Member State. These notional earnings are added to any earnings from employment in this State in the GCY when calculating the average reckonable earnings. The sum of both is divided by the number of weeks worked abroad in the GCY plus the number of weeks worked in Ireland in the GCY.

    AGREEMENT BETWEEN IRELAND AND UNITED KINGDOM

    The agreement is to protect the benefit rights of people who have worked and paid reckonable social security contributions in Ireland and in those parts of the United Kingdom that are outside the European Union - i.e. the Isle of Man and the Channel Islands.

    From 1 October (2007), people who have been working both in Ireland and The Isle of Man/The Channel Islands i.e. the islands of Jersey and Guernsey, - islands which are not members of the EU - will now, have the years when they worked on these islands taken into account when applying for social welfare entitlements (Jobseeker's Benefit) in Ireland. In the case of Jobseeker's Benefit person must have at least 104 Irish PRSI contributions paid.

    See Part 10 on EU REGULATIONS

    PART 4: Disqualifications

    Full Disqualification

    Refusal of Employment

    If a person refuses an offer of suitable employment, he/she disqualified for receiving JB.

    Disqualifications for up to 9 weeks:

    A person may be disqualified from receipt of JB in certain circumstances. Any period during which a person is disqualified is counted as part of the continuous period of unemployment.

    * See information on cumulative total below.

    A person who would otherwise be entitled to payment may be disqualified for receiving JB for such period as may be determined by a Deciding Officer, but in any case not exceeding 9 weeks, for any of the following reasons:

    • Loss of employment because of wilful misconduct
    • Leaving employment voluntarily without just cause
    • Refusal or failure to engage with activation measures where penalty rates applied
    • If under the age of 55 and made redundant, the person has received a lump-sum redundancy payment in excess of a specified amount.

     

     
    A disqualification of up to 9 weeks may be imposed if the Deciding Officer is satisfied that customer refused offer of suitable employment.  Each case is examined with regard to the particular circumstances that apply to it.  
    (b) Loss of Employment through his/her own misconduct

    A disqualification of up to 9 weeks may be imposed if the Deciding Officer is satisfied from the evidence before him/her that the reason the person lost his/her employment was due to his/her own misconduct. The period of disqualification may only be imposed from date that the person lost his/her employment.

    See separate guideline re " Revised Decisions" )

    Examples of misconduct that may lead to disqualification could include:

    • unexplained absence from work/bad time-keeping without valid reason
    • stealing from place of work
    • wilfully disruptive/unreasonable behaviour at work

     

    Occasionally, an employer may give a person the option of resigning rather than being dismissed for misconduct. Where a disqualification is considered appropriate in such a case, the ground of disqualification is "misconduct" rather than "leaving the job voluntarily".

    (c) Voluntarily left employment

    A person may be disqualified for receiving JB for up to 9 weeks from date of leaving employment if s/he has left the employment voluntarily and without just cause.

    'Good cause' is not defined and it is for the Deciding Officer to apply a common sense meaning to the expression in considering the case. Factors that may be taken into account could include the circumstances surrounding any changes in working conditions, the financial situation of the firm; whether leaving the employment amounted to constructive dismissal (i.e. the person left the employment following harassment/abuse from the employer)

    (d) Refusal or Failure to Engage with Activation Measures where penalty rate applied

    A 9-week Disqualification of Jobseeker’s Allowance or Benefit may be imposed in circumstances where a person who has already had his or her rate reduced (Penalty Rate) for a period of not less than 21 calendar days (3 weeks) and continues to refuse or fail, without good cause, to engage in Group Engagement, 1to1 meetings, suitable education, training or development opportunities or specified employment programmes and Schemes.

    (e) Receipt of Redundancy Lump Sum

    (Section 68(6)(e), Social Welfare (Consolidation) Act, 2005).

    If you are 55 years or over there is no disqualification from receiving JB irrespective of the amount of the redundancy payment.

    A person, who has been made redundant, shall be disqualified from receiving JB for a period of up to 9 weeks from the last date of employment where:

    • person is under age 55, AND
    • have received or are entitled to a payment in excess of a prescribed amount, (currently €50,000.00) under the Redundancy Payments Acts or under an agreement with his/her employer. This amount includes the gross amount of all payments in respect of the redundancy, e.g. statutory redundancy, top-up or ex-gratia payments related to weeks of service, early encashment of pension entitlements (if from employer's funds), and any other money received under an agreement with the employer.

     

    Note that the following are not included:

    • Encashment of pension entitlements with an independent insurance company if the person has paid into an insurance fund on a voluntary basis (i.e. independently of the employer).
    • Payments made under legislation governing Local Government, Civil Service, or State superannuation schemes.
    • Compensation awards under terms of Minimum Notice legislation (money paid in lieu of notice, or accrued holiday entitlements).

     

    Where an applicant for JB may have an entitlement to a redundancy settlement which is not yet negotiated, the JB claim may be awarded (if all other conditions are satisfied) pending receipt of the redundancy settlement. When the details of the redundancy payments become available, the JB claim should be reviewed. Where necessary a revised decision should be made and a period of disqualification as appropriate applied, i.e. the period for which a disqualification would have applied if the details of the redundancy payments had been available at the start of the JB claim.

    It is important in all such cases that the customer is advised of the possibility of the imposition of a revised decision.

    The period of disqualification should date, in all cases, from the date on which the person became redundant. However, as the disqualification is being applied after the date of the claim, the decision will be retrospective and an overpayment should be assessed where appropriate.

    Where a redundancy payment is made in instalments, customers should be informed that the period of disqualification may be revised upwards on receipt of further/final instalments of Ex-Gratia payments.

    (f) Period of Disqualification

    It should be noted that, while the imposition of a disqualification is mandatory, the duration of the disqualification is discretionary and may range from one day up to the maximum period of 9 weeks.

    As the disqualification relates to persons under a certain age (55 years) who receive payments in excess of a certain amount (currently €50,000), it is reasonable for Deciding Officers to have regard to both of these factors when making a determination as to the appropriate period of disqualification.

    Amount of redundancy received

    In order to facilitate a degree of consistency with regard to the application of the legislation, the following schedule may be used as a guide to what might be considered to be an appropriate period of disqualification, having regard to the gross amount of redundancy received:

    From 1st February 2007 the disregard that applies to Jobseeker's Benefit recipients is as follows:

    Amount of Redundancy Payment
    New Banding

    Period of Disqualification

    €50,000.00 - €55,000

    1 Week

    €55,000.01 - €60,000

    2 Weeks

    €60,000.01 - €65,000

    3 Weeks

    €65,000.01 - €70,000

    4 Weeks

    €70,000.01 - €75,000

    5 Weeks

    €75,000.01 - €80,000

    6 Weeks

    €80,000.01 - €85,000

    7 Weeks

    €85,000.01 - €90,000

    8 Weeks

    €90,000.01 and over

    9 Weeks

     

    Previous to 1st February 2007 the disregards are as follows:

    Amount of Redundancy Payment

    Period of Disqualification

    €19,046.07 - €25,400

    1 Week

    €25,401 - €31,750

    2 Weeks

    €31,751 - €38,100

    3 Weeks

    €38,101 - €44,450

    4 Weeks

    €44,451 - €50,800

    5 Weeks

    €50,801 - €57,150

    6 Weeks

    €57,151 - €63,500

    7 Weeks

    €63,501 - €69,850

    8 Weeks

    €69,851 and over

    9 Weeks

    In cases where the customer intends to use some of the redundancy payment to clear or reduce debts which have accrued, it is reasonable for Deciding Officers to offset these debts against the amount received before determining an appropriate period of disqualification, e.g. arrears of mortgage or rent, arrears of telephone/electricity/gas bills and particularly debts to moneylenders. Regard may similarly be had to costs related to any exceptional needs, e.g. the cost of converting the customer's home to facilitate wheelchair access by a family member. Deciding Officers should verify that such liabilities have been cleared (i.e. the amounts actually paid) before offsetting them against the redundancy payment received.

    Age

    It is also reasonable for a Deciding Officer to have regard to the age of the customer in circumstances where s/he will reach the prescribed age (currently 55 years) duringtheperiodoftheproposeddisqualification. In such cases, the disqualification should cease to apply from the person's 55th birthday.

    Example: A person receives a redundancy payment of €60,200. In the above schedule, the final €200.00 received increases the potential disqualification from 2 weeks to 3 weeks. If his/her weekly JB is €312.80 (Personal, IQA) and a 3 week disqualification is imposed, the person would stand to lose a payment of €312.80, an amount in excess of the €200 which put him/her into the €60,000.01 - €65,000.00 bracket. In this case, the person should be disqualified for 2 weeks only, thus bringing him/her into the €55,000.01 - €60,000.00 bracket.

    NOTE: In all cases, the amount of JB withheld as a result of the imposition of this disqualification should not exceed that portion of the redundancy payment which brings the person on to the appropriate point in the schedule.

    (g) Cumulative total of days paid

    In all the above circumstances, the period of disqualification is treated as if JB was paid throughout, i.e., the cumulative total of days of JB paid is continued for the duration of the disqualification. This means in effect that the maximum duration of JB entitlement for a person who has been disqualified for a period is 234/156 days less the period of the disqualification i.e. Disqualified for 3 weeks = 18 days payment starts on day 19.

    Credits

    Credited Contributions are awarded for the duration of the above disqualifications, subject to the conditions of being available for and capable of work being fulfilled.

    Other Disqualifications

    A person who would otherwise be entitled to payment may be disqualified for the full period in the following circumstances:

    • Employment in a Community Employment Scheme
    • Absent from the State
    • Imprisonment
    • Involvement in a trade dispute
    (a) Absence from the State

    A person shall be disqualified from receiving JB (including increases in respect of a Qualified Adult/Child(ren)) while s/he is absent from the State.

    There are two exceptions to this disqualification:

    • A person may receive JB for 2 weeks holidays in any calendar year. These holidays may be taken abroad.

     

    S/he is required to inform the Intreo Centre or Local/Branch Office 2 weeks in advance of his/her departure and to complete the form UP 30. All holiday payments should be made retrospectively, upon confirmation of the position when the person signs on again (on the next normal signing day after his/her return). If a person goes on holiday for longer than 2 weeks, s/he may be paid in respect of the first two weeks, but should be disqualified for any period abroad in excess of this.

    It is not necessary for a UP30 to be completed in respect of a Qualified Adult (QA) who takes holidays abroad.

    The disqualification shall not apply in respect of any period during which a person is representing Ireland at an international sporting event in an amateur capacity. There is no limit on the amount of time that a person may spend abroad engaged in such a sporting activity, but only periods of actual competition are covered. Training abroad is not covered, except in respect of final preparation and acclimatisation immediately preceding the competition.

    An international event in this context means a competition such as the Olympics, Special Olympics, Para-Olympics, World or European competitions where the participants are formally representing their countries. The mere presence of athletes from various countries does not make it an international event.

    Form UP30 must be completed 2 weeks in advance

    (b) Imprisonment

    A person is disqualified for receiving JB while s/he is undergoing penal servitude, imprisonment or detention in legal custody.

    (c) Involvement in a Trade Dispute

    A person is disqualified for receiving JB if he/she has lost employment due to his/her direct interest or involvement in a trade dispute at the factory, workshop, farm or other premises or place at which s/he is employed. The disqualification applies as long as the stoppage of work continues, except in a case where s/he has, during the stoppage of work, become bona fide employed elsewhere in the occupation which s/he usually follows or has become regularly engaged in some other occupation.

    This provision does not apply to a person who is not participating in or directly interested in the trade dispute which caused the stoppage of work.

    Where separate departments exist or where branches of work are commonly carried on

    • as separate businesses in separate premises, or
    • at separate places

    each of those departments are treated as a separate factory, workshop, farm or separate premises or place.

    In these cases, if a lay-off occurs in one department of a company due to a stoppage of work in another department, persons who are employed in the department where the layoffs occur but who are not participating in or directly involved in a trade dispute are not disqualified from receipt of Jobseeker's Benefit.

    Procedure

    In order to maintain a degree of consistency and because a strike in one place of employment may result in claims at several Intreo Centres or Social Welfare Local/Branch Offices, when a person has lost work due to a trade dispute the claim should be submitted to RSU Schemes Section, even if s/he is not directly involved in the dispute. When a number of similar claims are received, a test case will suffice. However each individual has the right to have his/her case examined and a separate decision made.

    If a claim is made the following information should be obtained for the benefit of RSU Schemes Section:

    1. Name of the personnel manager dealing with the dispute for the employer
    2. Name and contact details of the union official dealing with the dispute for the employees
    3. Any information available regarding which unions are involved and which are not participating.

     

    If a disqualification is applied, it applies for the duration of the dispute, or until the person's situation changes.

    Before a decision can be made on a claim, the Deciding Officer in RSU Section contacts the employer and the union to obtain a background to the dispute and to establish all the facts of the case. The Deciding Officer notifies the Intreo Centres or Social Welfare Local/Branch Offices of the decision on the claim submitted.

    Where this disqualification is imposed, the period of disqualification is NOT treated as a period where JB was paid.

    (d) Strike Credits

    Credited contributions are awarded to the person for the entire duration of the dispute.

    (e) JB Disqualification - course of study

     The legislation provides that a person shall be disqualified from receipt of Jobseeker's Benefit while attending a course of study (including school/college holiday periods from 28 th June 2011, Section 68A of the Social Welfare Consolidation Act 2005), except in such circumstances as may be prescribed. The exceptions to this disqualification are: 

    • a)      persons aged 21 years or over who have been in receipt of JA/JB for at least 6 months and who are participating in approved courses of education, training or development (as per above),
      and 
    • b)      mature students, i.e. persons over 23 years of age on or before 1st January in the year in which the course of study commences. 

     

    Deciding Officers should note that disqualification while attending a course of study is completely separate from the availability condition. As mature students are exempted from this disqualification, they may be entitled to Jobseeker's benefit during the summer holiday periods if they satisfy the availability condition in the normal way.

    (f) Social Welfare Tribunal

    The purpose of the Tribunal is to deal with cases where entitlement to Jobseeker's Benefit or Allowance is refused by a Deciding Officer due to an involvement in a trade dispute. A person may apply to the Tribunal for adjudication on his/hers claim.

    (See also separate guideline on the " Social Welfare Tribunal" )

    Where an applicant for Jobseeker's Benefit is disqualified s/he is notified of the decision on Form UP25. It is very important that Deciding Officers give full details of the grounds (lost work through own misconduct etc.) and the reason(s) for their decisions and that the evidence relied on is listed. Also, officers should be careful to distinguish between the grounds for the decision (lost work through own misconduct etc.) and the reason(s) for the decision.

    PART 5: DECISIONS

    (a) Notification of Award

    Decisions regarding a person's entitlement to JB are in all cases made by a Deciding Officer. Where benefit is awarded, full details of the award are notified to the claimant on form UP2.

    (b) Notification of Disqualification

    Notification of disqualification is conveyed to the customer in writing. With regard to an application for Jobseeker's Benefit, the principles of Natural Justice require that a person must be informed of any statement or allegation affecting the claim of which s/he was not aware and upon which a suspension of payment or unfavourable decision may be based. This provides the person with an opportunity to refute or comment before the case is referred for formal decision. A person is entitled to know the source of any evidence adverse to his/her case. The Natural Justice provisions pertain to fresh and repeat claims as well as to claim reviews. Each decision by a Deciding Officer is made on the particular merits of the case, having regard to its individual circumstances. A Deciding Officer exercises discretion and applies flexibility where provided for and appropriate.

    A Deciding Officer may, at any time revise any decision of a Deciding Officer or an Appeals Officer if it appears to him/her that there has been any relevant change of circumstances or of new facts which has been brought to notice since the original decision was made.

    (c) Notification of Disallowance

    Where a claim for Jobseeker's Benefit is disallowed the claimant is notified of the decision in writing. It is very important that Deciding Officers give full details of the grounds (not available etc.) and the reason(s) for their decisions and that the evidence relied on is listed. Also, officers should be careful to distinguish between the grounds for the decision (not available, not Genuinely Seeking Work or both) and the reasons for the decision.

    (d) Natural Justice

    Natural Justice requires that the person understands the procedure that is taking place, that his/her entitlement is under review, the evidence on which the revised decision is based, given the opportunity to comment on any evidence not personally supplied and have their reply recorded.

    (e) Concurrent Working and Signing Cases (CW&S)

    Reports of CW&S whether received at Intreo Centre or Local/Branch Office level or directly by the Special Investigation Unit (SIU) are checked to confirm that the subject of complaint is or was claiming Jobseeker's Benefit during the relevant period of unemployment.

    Following the investigation by a Social Welfare Inspector, a report detailing the investigation is returned to the Intreo Centre/Social Welfare Local Office specifying the days on which the person allegedly worked and in respect of which he/she should be disallowed. The report will also contain the employer's response and record of days worked. The person has the right to appeal his/her case to an Appeals Officer, following receipt of notification of a disallowance on Jobseeker's Benefit.

    Recommendations as to whether a person should be prosecuted are made by a Social Welfare Inspector or Area Manager. Where a Deciding Officer imposes a disallowance in a fraud case which contains a recommendation for prosecution, s/he refers the file to Central Prosecutions Section.

    (f) Right of customer to a review by a Deciding Officer of an adverse Deciding Officer decision

    The customer has a right to a review of a Deciding Officer's decision if s/he supplies new fact or fresh evidence. It is the policy of the Department to ensure that any person who is dissatisfied with the decisions made on their social welfare entitlements is provided with the means to have such decisions reviewed. We wish to encourage customers who are dissatisfied with a decision to try to resolve the matter, if possible, with the Deciding Officer.

    Customers whose claims are disallowed or disqualified or awarded at a reduced rate are informed that if they have any new fact or evidence that has a bearing on their case, they may submit such evidence in the first instance to a Deciding Officer for re-examination and, if appropriate, for revision of the decision.

    The notification of decision informs the customer of their right to seek a review of the decision by a Deciding Officer. The customer still has a right of appeal to the independent Social Welfare Appeals Office and may simultaneously seek a review by the Deciding Officer and lodge an appeal to the Social Welfare Appeals Office.

    (g) Appeals

    If a person is dissatisfied with any decision made by a Deciding Officer with regard to their entitlement to JB, s/he may appeal the decision to an Appeals Officer.

    The legislation governing the procedures to be followed in processing an appeal made to the Social Welfare Appeals Office requires a Deciding Officer or someone acting on his/her behalf to provide a statement to the Chief Appeals Officer showing the extent to which the facts and contentions advanced by the appellant are admitted or disputed. (See Guideline on Appeal Submissions)

    In cases where a disqualification on the grounds of involvement in a trade dispute is applied, the customer may appeal such a decision to the Social Welfare Appeals Office or s/he may take his/her case directly to the Social Welfare Tribunal.

    See separate guideline on " SOCIAL WELFARE TRIBUNAL"

    (h) Deciding Officer reviews following an Appeals Officer's decision.

    Where following the Appeals Officer's decision, there are relevant new facts, which relate to a period other than that covered by the Appeals Officer's decision, the Deciding Officer may give a fresh decision. This decision must be substantiated by fresh evidence

    Where, following the Appeals Officer's decision, the customer submits new facts or fresh evidence, that relates to the period covered by the appeal, the case should be referred back to the Appeals Officer to consider revising the decision. If in doubt as to whether a letter from an appellant contains new facts or evidence the file papers should be referred back to the Appeals Officer for consideration.

    PART 6: WAITING DAYS & CLAIM LINKING

    (a) Period of interruption of employment (PIE)

    Definition of a PIE

    A day of interruption of employment means a day of either unemployment or incapacity for work. Days which qualify under relevant rules in the following schemes: Jobseeker's Benefit, Illness Benefit, Occupational Injury Benefit, Maternity Benefit, Health & Safety Benefit or Invalidity Pension is paid are therefore days of interruption of employment. Days for which unemployment or disability credits are awarded are also days of interruption of employment.

    From 21st February 2013  any four such days including Sunday in a period of seven consecutive days (4 in 7 rule) form a period of interruption of employment (PIE).
     
    Prior to 21st February 2013

    Any three such days (excluding Sunday) in a period of six consecutive days (3 in 6 rule) form a period of interruption of employment (PIE). Any two PIEs not separated by more than 26 weeks are to be treated as one PIE. ("More than" means at least 26 calendar weeks and 1 day.)

    Example 1: JB claim ends 26 July 2003. Customer claims JB again from 22 January 2004. Claims link within 26 weeks.

    Example 2: JB claim ends 26 July 2003. Customer claims JB again 10 November 2003 to 15 November 2003. These claims are not linked as they are separated by more than 13 weeks. Customer claims JB again from 22 January 2004. This claim links to the claim in November but not to the July claim. The non linking of the November 03 claim to July 03 claim is due to the fact that a 13 week linking rule applied to all JB claims made prior to the 19 January 2004.

    From 26th July 2012

    Jobseeker’s Benefit (JB) is not paid where a person qualifies for only one day in a week (see exceptions to this rule below).

    Exception 1: Where waiting days apply at the beginning of a claim all remaining day/s of unemployment during the same JB payment week are paid.

    Exception 2: In the last payment week of a claim where a person is exhausting benefit, all remaining day/s are paid. This does not apply where a claim is finishing prior to exhausting benefit, e.g. signing off/transferring to another payment.

    If no day is payable, then no days are added to the cumulative total days.

    (b) Linking of JB claims

    Claims for periods treated as one PIE under this rule are called linked claims.

    Where a JB claim does not link to a previous claim

    • Waiting days are served
    • Payment commences on the fourth day of the new PIE
    • The CT (cumulative total) of days commences on the first day of payment.

     

    Where a claim links back to a previous JB claim directly

    • No waiting days are served on the later claim
    • The Cumulative Total number of days (CT) from the previous claim is continued
    • The rate of JB is the same rate payable as on the previous claim, subject to any budgetary increase, or changes in family circumstances (e.g.. a new child dependant).

     

    Where the claim links back to a different (not JB) claim

    Where the person was paid Illness Benefit, Occupational Injury Benefit, Maternity Benefit, Health & Safety Benefit or Invalidity Pension, or was awarded an unemployment/disability credited contribution in the 26 week period immediately preceding the date of the JB claim:

    • No waiting days are served
    • The CT starts at day 1
    • The rate of payment is based on the current GCY.
    (c) JB Linking to JB through another DSFA Scheme

    JB may also link to an earlier JB claim through another Social Protection scheme. This may happen as long as there is not 26 weeks or more where the person was not in receipt of JB or one of the following schemes AND there is not more than 2 years separating the two JB claims.

    The schemes covered by this provision are;

    • Illness Benefit
    • Occupational Injury Benefit
    • Maternity Benefit
    • Health & Safety Benefit
    • Invalidity Pension
    • Unemployment Credits
    • Incapacity Credits

    Where two JB claims link in this way -

    • No waiting days are served
    • The CT continues from the earlier claim
    • The rate of payment is based on the GCY for the first JB claim.

     

    (d) Periods disregarded for Linking Purposes

    Periods on any of the following activities for up to 1 year are disregarded when determining the break between 2 JB claims. A person may have consecutive periods on different activities disregarded, once they do not spend more than one year on any one activity.

    • SOLAS training,
    • Community Employment,
    • Part-time Job Incentive Scheme
    • European Voluntary Service Initiative

     

    (e) Ineffective Days

    (See separate section on " Qualifying Conditions" )
     
    From 21st February 2013
     
    Sundays are treated as any other day in the week, as a day of employment or unemployment as appropriate, previously Sunday was excluded.
     
    The JB week runs from Thursday to Wednesday. This is an example of a person's signing pattern over a consecutive 4 week period. This claimant will not receive payment of JB as the days of unemployment are ineffective days i.e. they do not satisfy the 4 in 7 rule. 
    Example from 21st February 2013 (Sunday included) 
     
    ​Week ​Thursday ​Friday ​Saturday ​Sunday ​Monday Tuesday​ ​Wednesday
    ​Week 1 ​O ​​O ​​O ​X ​X ​​O ​​O
    ​Week 2 ​​O ​X ​​O ​X ​​O ​​O ​X
    ​Week 3 ​​O ​​O ​​O ​X ​X ​​O ​​O
    ​Week 4 ​​O ​​O ​X ​X ​​O ​​O ​​O
     X  = day of unemployment
     O  = day of employment
     
     
    Example prior to 21st February 2013 (Sunday excluded)
     

    The JB week runs from Thursday to Wednesday (Sundays are excluded). This is an example of a person's signing pattern over a consecutive 4 week period. This claimant will not receive payment of JB as the days of unemployment are ineffective days i.e. they do not satisfy the 3 in 6 rule.

    Example of week of employment/unemployment

    Week

    Thursday

    Friday

    Saturday

    Monday

    Tuesday

    Wednesday

    Week 1

    O

    O

    O

    X

    O

    O

    Week 2

    O

    X

    O

    O

    O

    X

    Week 3

    O

    O

    O

    X

    O

    O

    Week 4

    O

    O

    X

    O

    O

    O

    X = day of unemployment
    0 = day of employment

    Description of each course as follows:

    SOLAS Training

    SOLAS is responsible for the funding, planning and co-ordinating the wide range of training and further education programmes in Ireland.

    Education and Training Boards (ETBs) will be responsible for the delivery of Further Education and Training programmes.

    Course Types

    Market Led Courses

    Market-led courses are those that are primarily developed and offered to meet identified employer demand. Market led courses include specific skills day courses (both short and long duration courses), on line and blended specific skills courses and occupational skills development programmes.

    Client Led Courses

    Client-led courses are those that are primarily developed and offered to meet what the client wants. Client-led courses may include day courses (both short and long duration courses), on-line courses and evening courses.

    Premarket Led Courses

    Premarket-led courses are those that are primarily developed and offered to provide bridging or foundation type training coupled with some supports primarily to facilitate access by learners to a mainline market-led course. Premarket-led courses may include some, day courses (both short and long duration courses), on-line courses and evening courses.

    Supported Training Courses

    Supported-training courses are those that are primarily developed and offered to learners who require significant additional supports to access and undertake training as part of their agreed pathway to work. Supported-training courses are delivered through Community Training Centres, Specialist Training Providers and through Local Training Initiatives.

    Community Employment

    Community Employment is a DSP Programme that benefits both the Community and the participants. The projects are involved in areas such as Arts, Heritage, Community Recreation, Environmental, Community Advice and Support, Tourism, Sports, Health and Welfare Services. It provides valuable part-time work opportunities and training/development options and assists a person into a job and/or further education and training.

    Part-time Job Incentive Scheme

    See separate guideline "Part-time Job Incentive"

    VTOS See separate guideline " VTOS"

    European Voluntary Service Initiative

    The European Commission and its partners in the Member States have successfully collected a large number of hosting projects willing to receive young volunteers. The action is open to all young people aged 18-25 years. Young volunteers will have the opportunity to spend between 6-12 months getting to know another country, another culture and another language, by taking part in a project which contributes to the well-being of a local community. Persons will be able to broaden their horizons and improve their chances of starting out in life.

    PART 7: OPTIONAL JOBSEEKER'S ALLOWANCE

    (a) Option of claiming Jobseeker's Allowance (JA) instead of Jobseeker's Benefit(JB)

    Where a person is entitled to Jobseeker's Benefit (JB) s/he may choose to claim Jobseeker's Allowance (JA) instead provided s/he satisfies the JA means test. This is referred to as 'OptionalJA'.

    The decision to avail of this provision should be made by the claimant. All relevant facts may be considered, including a possible entitlement to a higher rate of payment where the customer is entitled to Graduated Rate of JB and entitlement to Secondary Benefits.

    There is no limit to the number of times a person may choose to exercise the JA option during the course of a JB claim.

    Legislation provides that any day in respect of which a person receives JA, while having an entitlement to JB, shall be treated as though it were a day in respect of which JB was paid [Section 67(8) of SW (Consolidation) Act, 2005]. Thus, each day on which s/he receives Optional JA is counted as part of the JB entitlement. These claimants (with the exception of those aged 65) will require 13 contributions paid after 156 CT days to re-qualify for JB.

    Where a person opts for payment of JA in lieu of JB, the following procedures should be applied:

    • The customer should be asked to complete Part 1 of form UP23 when availing of the option and Part 2 when reverting to JB.
    • The decision to opt for JA and the date from which payable should be entered on the UP5.
    • When the JA claim is decided, payment of JA may be authorised from the date of application.
    • In cases where JB has been paid pending JA decision, payment should be adjusted to offset the amount of JB paid on account of optional JA.
    • The JB claim should also be authorised. The cumulative total of days in respect of which optional JA is paid is counted for JB purposes, as the JA is paid on account of JB.
    • The customer may revert to JB at any time during the Optional period i.e. until the 234 (preiously 312) or 156 (previously 234)  days are exhausted. This is not a new JB claim - it is a continuation of the original JB claim.
    • When the person has been paid a total of 234 days (previously 312) or 156 days (previously 234), of optional JA, entitlement to JB expires. In this scenario the person must requalify for JB in the normal way before acquiring a new entitlement.

     

    Break in Claim

    Where Optional JA is in payment, care should be taken with repeat claims to ensure that entitlement to JB still exists. The linking period for OptionalJA is the same as for JB, i.e. 26 weeks.

    JB pending Optional JA

    JB may be paid while awaiting a decision on JA entitlement, e.g. awaiting a means decision. When the JA claim is decided, payment of Optional JA may be authorised from the date of application. Payment should be adjusted to offset the amount of JB paid on account of the Optional JA.

    (b) Cumulative Total of days claimed

    Any day in respect of which a person receives JA while entitled to JB shall be treated as though it were a day in respect of which JB was paid [Section 67(8) of the Social Welfare (Consolidation) Act, 2005]. This means that each day in respect of which Optional JA is paid counts as a day towards a claimant's entitlement to 234/ 156 days JB. JB entitlement is thus exhausted when the claimant has been paid Optional JA for 234/156 days. To re-qualify for JB a claimant will require 13 paid contributions from the 157th day of the JB claim.

    (c) Reverting back to JB

    The claimant may revert back from JA to JB at any time during the optional period, i.e. until 234/156 days are exhausted. There is no limit on the number of times a person may avail of this option during the course of a JB claim.

    PART 8: Carer's Allowance

    Carer's Allowance

    From 27 September 2007 a person who is claiming a Social Welfare Payment (other than Carer's Allowance or Carer's Benefit) or being claimed for as a Qualified Adult and who is providing full time care to another person may now apply for Carer's Allowance and retain their current payment in full. If they satisfy the conditions for Carer's Allowance it will be awarded at 50% of the personal rate they would qualify for if they were not in receipt of any other payment. They will also be eligible for Household Benefits and a Free Travel Pass.

    • A Person may not receive Jobseeker's Benefit/Allowance, Back to Work Allowance or Family Income Supplement and half rate Carer's Allowance but they may be a qualified adult on these payments and receive half rate Carer's Allowance.

    See " Carer's Allowance" guideline for more information

    PART 9: OVERLAPPING PROVISIONS

    Neither personal rate JB nor an Increase for Qualified Adult is payable to (or in respect of) a person at the same time as most other social welfare payments.

    (See separate guideline " Overlapping Payments" )

    For example, Family Income Supplement (FIS) is not payable with:

    • Jobseeker's Benefit in respect of the same person for the same period.

    A person who is in receipt of FIS may not be claimed as a Qualified Adult on their spouse/civil partner/cohabitant JB claim.

    (a) Exceptions to the Overlapping Rules

    There are exceptions to the overlapping provisions in relation to JB.

    (b) Blind Pension

    JB may be paid to a person who is also in receipt of Blind Pension.

    (c) OFP and Blind Pension

    Jobseeker's Benefit is not payable where the OFP recipient is also in receipt of Blind Pension.

    (d) Disablement Benefit/Pension:

    JB may be paid to a person, or in respect of a person who is in receipt of Disablement Benefit/Pension at the same time, but -

    • Where an increase on account of unemployability is paid with the Disablement Pension, JB is not payable at the same time
    • Where an increase in respect of a constant attendance allowance is paid with the Disablement Pension, JB is not payable at the same time.
    • If there are any increases in respect of a qualified adult or child dependant payable on Disablement Benefit, JB may not be paid to or in respect of that qualified adult or child dependant at the same time.
    (e) Guardian's Payment:

    JB may be paid to, or in respect of, a person in receipt of a Guardian's Payment Contributory or Non-Contributory (including Death Benefit by way of Guardian's Payment), except where the person who is receipt of the Guardian's Payment (i.e. the guardian) is, at the same time, also in receipt of either -

    • Blind Pension
    • Death Benefit by way of Widow’s, Widower’s or Surviving Civil Partner’s Pension
    • Survivor's Pension
    • Deserted Wife's Benefit
    • Widow's (non-contributory) pension
      or
    • One Parent Family Payment.
    (f) Half Rate JB:

    The half-rate payments ceased for new applicants for Jobseeker Benefit customers from Thursday, 2nd February 2012.

    There are 2 exceptions:

    i) Where half-rate JB was being paid immediately prior to the 2nd February, this should continue to be paid.

    ii) Where a claim for JB is made on or after the 2nd February 2012, half-rate JB may be paid if it links to a half-rate JB claim made prior to the 2nd February 2012.

    Half the personal Rate of JB may be paid to a person who at the same time is in receipt of either -

    • Death Benefit by way of Widow’s, Widower’s or Surviving Civil Partner’s Pension
    • Widow's or Widower's contributory pension
    • Deserted wife's benefit
    • Widow's (non-contributory) pension
    • One-Parent Family Payment

     

    provided that no increase in respect of child dependants shall be payable on the JB claim.

    Where the other pension or allowance is payable at a reduced rate, the amount of JB payable is increased to make up for this reduction. The aggregate of the two payments is equal to the full amount of the pension or allowance (with no reductions) plus half the rate of the JB payable.

    Note: The total amount payable in such cases, cannot exceed the maximum rate of JB applicable to the case (i.e., the rate of JB that would be payable to the claimant, including any increase in respect of child dependants, if s/he were claiming JB alone.

    From 2nd February 2012 - NEW PROVISION OF PARTIAL JOBSEEKER’S BENEFIT IN SOME CASES

    Where a person is in receipt of a reduced rate Widow/er’s Pension, Surviving Civil Partner’s Pension or One-Parent Family Payment (e.g. due to means or reduced contributions), Jobseeker’s Benefit (JB) may be payable. The JB payment, combined with the other payment, must not exceed the maximum rate payable on JB for the family circumstances of the customer.

    (g) Credits

    Customers not entitled to payment of JB should be advised to sign for Unemployment Credits provided that they satisfy the normal conditions.

    PART 10: EU REGULATIONS

    The EU Regulations apply to the following European countries:

    The EU Regulations apply to the following European countries:
    • Austria
    • Belgium
    • Bulgaria
    • Croatia
    • Czech Republic
    • Denmark
    • Cyprus
    • Estonia
    • Finland
    • France
    • Germany
    • Greece
    • Hungary
    • Iceland
    • Ireland
    • Italy
    • Latvia
    • Liechtenstein
    • Lithuania
    • Luxembourg
    • Malta
    • Norway
    • Poland
    • Portugal
    • Romania
    • Slovakia
    • Slovenia
    • Spain
    • Sweden
    • Switzerland
    • The Netherlands

    They do not apply to the following countries: Iceland, Norway, and Liechtenstein. These countries are covered by the previous rules 1408/71 and 574/72.

    United Kingdom (see Agreement between Ireland and United Kingdom in respect of the Isle of Man and the Channel Islands)

    Romania and Bulgaria joined the European Union on 1 January 2007.

    From this date all Romanian/Bulgarian Nationals have a right to reside in the State. There are some restrictions on their right to work in the State.

    From 1st January 2012

    Romanian/Bulgarian Nationals do not require a work permit when taking up employment.

    Persons who are engaging in self employment here will be required to pay PRSI Class S contributions but will have limited cover for Maternity Benefit, State and Widow(er)'s/Surviving Civil Partner's Pensions.

    Previous to 1st January 2012

    Romanian/Bulgarian Nationals required a work permit in order to participate in the Irish labour market unless exempt.

    The Treaties of Accession provided that Bulgarian/Romanian Nationals working legally in Ireland with a valid work permit for 12 consecutive months after 1st January 2006 would have been entitled to access the labour market without the need for a work permit. Such workers would have been covered by the Irish social insurance (PRSI) system and may, under EU Regulation 883/2004, have qualified for Jobseeker's Benefit, on the basis of the social insurance contributions paid by him/her in Ireland and in his/her country of origin.

    Romanian/ Bulgarian Nationals who were spouses/civil partners of fellow Romanian/ Bulgarian Nationals and who wished to take up insurable employment, did not require a work permit from 1st January 2010 if the other person of that couple had held a valid work permit.

    Spouses/Civil Partners of Romanian/Bulgarian Nationals who came to Ireland on or after 1st January 2007 but before 1st January 2010 must have been living in the State with their Romanian/ Bulgarian ‘ worker spouse’ for 18 months or until 1st January 2010, whichever was earlier (a ‘worker spouse’ is a spouse /civil partner who has held a valid work permit for 12 consecutive months and worked for a further 6 months).

    Where a Romanian/Bulgarian couple were living legally in the State immediately before 1st January 2007 and one of the couple had held a valid work permit for 12 consecutive months immediately before the accession date, 1st January 2007, the other person of that couple did not require a work permit in order to take up insurable employment.

    Bulgarian and Romanian Nationals who were self employed did not require a work permit. Should a person who was self-employed wish to take up insurable employment they may have required a work permit.

    NOTE 1: A person is regarded as being a citizen of one of the EEA member states if he or she is the holder of a valid passport of that country, irrespective of whether he or she was actually born in that country.

    NOTE 1: A person is regarded as being a citizen of one of the EEA member states if he or she is the holder of a valid passport of that country, irrespective of whether he or she was actually born in that country.

    (a) Aggregation of Social Insurance Records - Article 6 of EU Regulation 883/2004

    This article allows for a period of social insurance (PRSI) in one member state to be credited to a worker in another member state so as to allow that worker to qualify for JB in that second country.

    (b) Overlapping Benefits - Article 10

    This regulation deals with the possibility of a person qualifying for Benefit in more than one European country based on the same period of social insurance because of article 67.

    (c) Transfer of Benefit - Article 64

    Under this Article a person who is fully unemployed and has been in receipt of JB in one of the European countries for at least 4 weeks, may transfer this benefit to one of the other European countries for 13 weeks,(78 days) provided the person is seeking employment in that country. The person registers as unemployed in the country to which s/he travels and the competent institution pays the benefit to the person while s/he is seeking employment in that country.

    (d) Outgoing cases from Ireland

    A person in receipt of Irish JB may transfer the JB claim to one of the European countries for up to 13 weeks (78 days).The form U2 is completed in the Intreo or Local/Branch Office with details of transfer dates etc. and given to the person transferring their benefit. The person takes this form to the social services office of the country to which they are travelling.

    (e) Incoming cases from another European country

    Nationals of other European countries may transfer their benefit into Ireland. The rate payable to such persons is the rate that they are entitled to in their home country converted into EURO. These claimants should provide a copy of the form U2 from their home country and this form should be sent to EU Records section for conversion/translation (where necessary).

    (f) Special Case - JA Pending Action Under Article 6 or 64

    If there is likely to be an undue delay in the processing of incoming article 6 or 64 cases, the person should be advised to claim JA in the interim.

    This JA claim is subject to all the normal conditions for receipt of JA. When the person's JB entitlement is subsequently established, any JA paid should be treated as paid on account of JB.

    If the person's entitlement to JB is lower than the JA entitlement s/he may continue to receive JA in lieu of JB. In such cases, the JA is treated as paid on account of JB, and that JB is recovered from the person's home country.

    (g) Transfer from another EU country

    Where a person qualifies for JB due to an aggregation of two social insurance records, and has been paid a foreign JB within 26 weeks of becoming entitled to Irish JB, the period paid on the foreign JB should be deducted from their 234 days or 156 days on Irish JB i.e. the foreign JB "links" to the Irish JB.

    For Example:

    A person has received 90 days of British JB and then comes to Ireland. S/he receives a further 24 days of British JB on a transfer of benefit (see "Transfer of benefit"). She then finds work for a week, and pays one A1 contribution. She now qualifies for an aggregation of social insurance record (see "Aggregation of records"), and on that basis qualifies for Irish JB.

    The number of days paid already on her British claim (90 + 24, or 114) is deducted from her 234 (156) days maximum entitlement, leaving a net Irish entitlement of 120 days or 42 days as appropriate.

    (h) Frontier Workers - Article 65 Cases

    Article 65 of the regulations refers to a separate class of workers called `frontier workers'. Article 1(f) defines a frontier worker as any employed or self-employed person who works in the territory of a Member State and lives in the territory of another Member State to which s/he returns as a rule daily or at least once a week.

    Article 65 provides that where such a worker becomes partially unemployed (e.g. part-time workers), the state in which that person is normally employed is responsible for paying Jobseeker's Benefit. However, where a frontier worker becomes fully unemployed, the state in which s/he is resident will be responsible for paying the benefit.

    A frontier worker who resides in Ireland does not require any Irish contribution to qualify under Irish legislation if s/he becomes fully unemployed.

    Enquiries regarding the identification and processing of claims from frontier workers should be directed to EU Records section.

    (i) Cross Border Workers

    Under EU regulations a cross border worker is a person who works in one State but resides in another but does not return daily or at least once a week, s/he returns less frequently.

    Cross border workers who are fully unemployed have a choice regarding the country in which they make an application for JB. They can claim in:

    • (1) the State of Residence

    or

    • (2) the State of last Employment.
    (j) Seamen

    A seaman is employed under the legislation of the country whose flag the ship is flying. An EU National working on a ship of another EU country is therefore treated as a frontier worker. An EU national (not resident in Ireland, and not working on an Irish boat) who becomes fully unemployed and decides to settle in Ireland would be treated as a migrant worker transferring to Ireland.

    PART 11: PROCEDURES FOLLOWING AWARD

    (a) Methods of Payment

    JB is paid weekly in arrears by way of Postal Draft collected in a post office, by cheque or by electronic fund transfer directly into the person's bank/building society account.

    Decisions on the choice of payment method are administrative. Most payments are made by Postdraft. Payment maybe made by cheque in special circumstances, e.g. if it is a more suitable payment method for the person and the facility is available.

    Casual workers are paid by cheque.

    (b) Maintenance

    Stop dates are inserted in the computer system for appropriate dates e.g. person reaches pension age, or a dependent child reaches 18 years of age.

    If a cheque payment is lost or is not received by a person, s/he is required to complete a statement to the effect that s/he has not received/lost his/her payment. A replacement payment will follow on foot of this. An agreement is also signed by the person in these cases that, should an overpayment of JB occur as a result of two payment instruments being cashed by him/her in respect of the same period, the overpayment will be recovered at the earliest possible opportunity.

    (c) Signing Arrangements

    It is for the Intreo Centre/Local or Branch Office to decide how often the person must sign this declaration, where and at what times. A person may be disallowed for failure to sign on.

    Persons who receive payment by way of Postdraft/EFT are reminded of their signing day the week before they are due to sign.

    Where a person fails to sign on his/her signing day and has still failed to sign by the next payment run date, payment is suspended on the computer system and the next payment does not issue.

    If the person contacts the Intreo Centre/Social Welfare Local or Branch Office and payment for the week in question has been generated, s/he is questioned as to why s/he didn't attend on the appointed day.

    Where a Deciding Officer is satisfied that the person still satisfies the statutory conditions for Jobseeker's Benefit, the payment suspension is removed and payment will issue. If there is any change in the payment amount, the unemployment pattern is amended before the payment issues.

    Regular failure to attend on the appointed signing day may result in loss of payment.

    (d) Proving unemployment in the prescribed manner

    It is a requirement that a person proves unemployment by attending their Intreo Centre/Social Welfare Local Office or Branch Office (or other designated place) on a day and at a time that an officer of the Minister may direct for the purpose of making a written declaration that s/he has been continuously unemployed since last signing-on or that s/he expects to be unemployed for a future period.

    See paragraph above on " Signing Arrangements" .

    (e) Certification

    Evidence of efforts to find work must be submitted by the person to the Deciding Officer when requested on a periodic basis. Such evidence would include responses to job applications, results of interviews, and list of employers that have been contacted regarding employment.

    A person who is working part of the week and claiming JB for the days that s/he is unemployed is required to submit weekly dockets certified by his/her employer stating the days that s/he was employed in a specified 7 day period.

    (f) Review

    A person's entitlement to JB is reviewed on a continuing basis to determine that s/he continues to satisfy the conditions of entitlement.

    A review may be carried out where doubt arises about fulfilment of any of the conditions e.g. failure on the part of a person to produce sufficient evidence of genuinely seeking work, failure to prove unemployment in the prescribed manner, refusal to participate in a SOLAS training scheme or in Community Employment etc.

    (g) Suspension of payment

    Where it appears that a question has arisen or may arise as to whether the conditions for receipt of JB are or were fulfilled, or whether a decision should be revised, payment of JB may be suspended in whole or in part until the question has been decided. This question could arise, for instance, pending investigation of a refusal by a person of an offer of suitable employment.

    PART 12: CREDITS

    (a) What are credits?

    A credit is awarded for every 6 days of declared unemployment in a contribution year, whether these day are consecutive or not. However, days of unemployment in a contribution week in which a PRSI contribution is paid cannot be used for this purpose.

    Credited Contributions are awarded for the duration of disqualifications, subject to the conditions of being available for, capable of and genuinely seeking work, being fulfilled.

    Credited contributions may be awarded under a number of conditions to persons who have entered insurance. These credits may be used to satisfy the second contribution condition for JB.

    In order to be awarded JB credits, a person must:

    • have 1 paid PRSI contribution at the appropriate class
    • have a paid or credited contribution in the last 2 complete contribution years. If not, 26 further paid contributions are required. (S.I. 312/96)

    Credits are awarded for;

    • Periods of JA, JB, IB, Invalidity Pension, OIB, Maternity Benefit, State Pension (Transition)
    • Periods of registered unemployment (i.e. the person is signing for Credits only (i.e. s/he has no entitlement to JA/JB) and is available for and capable of work)
    • Periods of registered incapacity for work (i.e. sickness credits where there is no entitlement to IB)
    (b) Calculating Credits

    The number of contributions to be credited to a person in any contribution year is one sixth of the total number of days of incapacity or of proved unemployment, or of both, as the case may be, in the Governing Contribution Year. However, days of unemployment in a contribution week in which a PRSI contribution is paid cannot be used for this purpose.

    In determining the number of weeks of proved unemployment for the purpose of awarding JA/JB credits, the number of days of proved unemployment should be added up and the total divided by six. Any fraction in excess of the total should be rounded up to the next whole number.

    It should be noted that these credits may not be reckonable for Jobseeker's Benefit purposes in some cases (i.e. casuals/part-time workers). An email should be completed in all cases where a person is signing o on a part-time or casual basis.

    (See also separate guideline on " CREDITS AWARD" )

    (c) Strike Credits

    Credited contributions are awarded to the person for the entire duration of the dispute.

    (d) Overlaps of Weeks of Insurable Employment and Credits

    There are cases where the P60 return and the number of credits which are recorded from weeks of unemployment exceed 52. This will indicate that the person was concurrently working and signing. These cases are referred to a Social Welfare Inspector (SWI) for investigation.

    Natural Justice requires that the person understands the procedure that is taking place, that his/her entitlement is under review, the evidence on which the revised decision is based, and given the opportunity to comment on any evidence not personally supplied and have their reply recorded.

    (e) Special Award of Credits Week on / Week off

    Persons who work week on/week off may receive a credit for each week of proved unemployment regardless of the contribution week. Where a person was on week on/week off during the GCY, the DO should ensure that the contribution conditions are fulfilled and the correct number of credits are awarded.

    (See also separate guideline on " Credits Award" )

    (f) Pre-Entry Credits (PECs)

    Persons, who have paid PRSI (class A, H, or P) for the first time between the start of the relevant GCY and the date of the claim, are entitled to credited contributions in order to satisfy the 2nd contribution condition for JB.

    When it is confirmed that 52 contributions, ( 104 from the 5 th January 2009) (1st condition) have been paid, PEC's are awarded from the beginning of the contribution year in which the person started work up to the actual date of entry (DOE) into employment together with the 2 previous contribution years.

    If a person's first PRSI contribution is not reckonable for JB, i.e. at a class other than A, H, or P, the Pre-Entry credits awarded will not satisfy the 2nd contribution condition.

    Example:

    Customer starts work for the first time on the 5th September 2011, makes a JB claim in October 2013.

    Pre entry Credits can be awarded from : -

    1/1/2011 – 4/9/2011 (2011 Contribution year) a nd for 2010 & 2009 Contribution years

    Year Credits

    2011 35 Pecs

    2010 52 Pecs

    2009 52 Pecs

    (g) Student Credits

    Student credits are awarded where the claimant was a full-time student during the relevant GCY and had contributions paid prior to attending college or during the period spent at college. The conditions for the award of student credits are as follows:

    • the person must have had previous employment at PRSI class A
    • the course must have been full-time which commenced before the claimant was 23 years of age
    • the person must have re-entered insurable employment after the course of education ceased
    • a letter from College must be submitted to confirm duration of the course.

     

    Example :

    Customer was a student from Sept 2007 – 17 June 2011 and re–entered at class A1 on 16 April 2012. Customer made a claim for J.B. on 25 June 2012.

    Person’s record when student credits are awarded

    Year Credits

    2010 20A1 + 32 Student Credits

    2011 12A1 + 40 Student Credits

    2012 15 Student Credits

    Student credits are awarded from the beginning of the contribution year up to the date the person re-enters insurable employment, and for the previous two complete tax years. Student credits may be awarded once only.

    PART 13: TAXATION OF JOBSEEKER'S BENEFIT

    Jobseeker's Benefit has been reckonable as income for income tax purposes since 6 April 1994. The Department pays Jobseeker's Benefit directly to recipients without any deduction for tax.

    The treatment of social welfare short-term payments as income for income tax purposes is essentially a matter of equity. It ensures that one person does not pay less tax than another person simply because the first person's income includes a social welfare payment and the second person's income does not.

    Since the introduction of the method of taxing short-term social welfare benefit payments, a number of improvements have been made to ease the position of those most adversely affected through a combination of general income tax improvements and specific measures to target families with children.

    The following improvements in the method of taxing Jobseeker's Benefit were announced in the 1995 Budget and have been continued in subsequent Budgets:

    • child dependant increases portion of Jobseeker's Benefit are exempt from taxation from 6 April 1995.
    • short time employment in which employees have transferred from a normal working week to a short-time working arrangement where the employees work 1week on/1 week off or 2 weeks on and 2 weeks off or 3 weeks on and 1 week off are not taxed on their Jobseeker’s Benefit from 6th April 1995.
    • the existing exemption for certain systematic short-time workers from the taxation of Jobseeker's Benefit payments has been extended from 6 April 1995.
    • all other systematic short-time workers are exempt from taxation of Jobseeker's Benefit from 6 April 1995.
    • the first €13.00 per week of Jobseeker's Benefit payments are disregarded for taxation purposes from 6 April 1995.
Last modified:16/12/2015
 

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