Paternity Benefit


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INTERNAL GUIDELINES USED IN PROCESSING CLAIMS
 
INDEX
  
  • Description of Scheme
  • Legislation
  • Administration
  • Qualifying Conditions in Summary
  • Qualifying Conditions in Detail
  • Relevant Income Tax Year
  • Self-employed
  • Paternity Benefit and EU Regulations
  • Premature Births
  • Stillbirths
  • Volunteer Development Workers
  • Disqualifications
  • Absence from the state
  • Imprisonment
  • Rates Structure
  • Employees
  • Self-employed
  • Illness Benefit rate
  • Overlapping Provisions
  • Carer's Allowance

PART 2: CLAIMS, INVESTIGATION AND DECISION PROCEDURES

  • Claims
  • Documentation
  • Late Claims
  • Investigation of Claim
  • Deciding a Claim
  • Appeals

PART 3: PROCEDURES FOLLOWING AWARD

  • Payments
  • Taxation
  • Duration of Payment
  • Maintenance
  • Certification of Ongoing Entitlement
  • Reviews
  • Suspension of Payment
  • Credits
  • Parental Leave

 

PART 1: ENTITLEMENT

Description of Scheme
Paternity Benefit is a payment made for 2 weeks to employed and self-employed people who satisfy certain PRSI contribution conditions on their own insurance record.  Paternity Benefit is available with respect to a child born on or after 01-09-2016.

Legislation
The main provisions relating to Paternity Benefit are found in the Paternity Leave and Benefit Act 2016.

Administration
Paternity Benefit Section in the Department of Social Protection, McCarter's Road, Buncrana, Co. Donegal deals with the payment of Paternity Benefit.

Qualifying Conditions in Summary
An employee must be in employment which is covered by the Paternity Leave and Benefit Act 2016 immediately before the first day of paternity leave and satisfy certain PRSI contribution conditions.
A self-employed person must be, or have been, self-employed and satisfy certain PRSI contribution conditions.

Qualifying Conditions in Detail

Employees

To qualify for Paternity Benefit, a claimant must -

  • be in employment which is covered by the Paternity Leave and Benefit Act 2016, immediately before the first day of the paternity leave.
  • be certified by the employer as entitled to paternity leave under the Paternity Leave and Benefit Act 2016  and
  • have at least 39 weeks PRSI paid in the 12 months before the first day of the paternity leave
    or
  • at least 39 weeks PRSI paid since first starting work and at least 39 weeks PRSI paid or credited in the Relevant Tax Year or in the year following the Relevant Tax Year
    or
  • at least 26 weeks PRSI paid in the Relevant Tax Year and at least 26 weeks PRSI paid in the Tax Year prior to the Relevant Tax Year

Note: PRSI contributions paid at Classes A, E and H count.
Paternity Benefit is not payable to serving members of the Defence Forces who pay PRSI at Class H.

If a claimant does not satisfy the employee conditions outlined above, and was in insurable self-employment before starting insurable employment as an employee, Class S PRSI contributions may help to qualify for Paternity Benefit.

Entitlement to leave
Under social welfare legislation, a claimant must give their employer at least 4 weeks written notice of the intention to take paternity leave.

Relevant Income Tax Year
The relevant income tax year is the second last complete income tax year before the year in which the paternity leave starts. For Example: Claims that start in 2017, the relevant tax year is 2015.

Self-employed

A self-employed claimant must 

  • be self-employed in accordance with the Social Welfare (Consolidation) Act, 2005, as amended
    and
  • have 52 qualifying PRSI contributions paid in the Relevant Tax Year
    or
  • have 52 qualifying contributions paid in the Tax Year prior to the Relevant Tax Year
    or
  • have 52 qualifying contributions paid in the Tax Year following to the Relevant Tax Year.
    and
  • have the expected due date or actual date of birth certified by a registered medical practitioner.

Note: PRSI paid at Classes A, E, H and S count as qualifying contributions.

If a claimant is now self-employed but was in insurable employment before becoming self-employed, PRSI contributions (Class A, E and H) in that employment may help to qualify for Paternity Benefit if they do not satisfy the self-employment conditions as stated above.

It should be noted that self-employment contributions, i.e. PRSI class S, are not awarded until the total tax liability is paid in full for the Relevant Tax Year.

Paternity Benefit and EU Regulations
If a claimant was previously insurably employed in a country covered by EU Regulations and they have paid at least one full rate PRSI contribution since their return to Ireland, the insurance record (contributions and credits) in that country may be combined with the Irish PRSI contributions to help qualify for benefit.

Premature Births
If the baby is born prematurely (i.e. before the paternity leave is due to commence), a letter should be forwarded to Paternity Benefit Section from the doctor confirming the baby was born prematurely and on what date.

Stillbirths   
In the event of a still birth occurring after the 24th week of pregnancy, there is still an entitlement to 2 weeks Paternity Benefit provided the PRSI conditions are satisfied. A letter from the doctor should be forwarded with the Paternity Benefit application form confirming the expected date of confinement, the actual date of birth and number of weeks gestation.

Volunteer Development Workers    
A volunteer development worker is entitled to Paternity Benefit provided that they have qualifying contributions paid in respect of not less than 39 contribution weeks in the period beginning with the  entry into insurance and ending immediately before the first day of paternity leave.

A person who ceases to be a volunteer development worker shall be entitled to paternity benefit in respect of any claim made in the benefit year in which they return to the State from a developing country or in the next succeeding benefit year provided that there are qualifying contributions paid in respect of not less than 39 contribution weeks in the period beginning with the entry into insurance and ending immediately before the first day of paternity leave.

Disqualifications

  • A claimant will be disqualified from receiving Paternity Benefit if during the period for which benefit is payable, they engage in any form of insurable employment or insurable self employment.
  • Failure to apply for Paternity Benefit within six months of the birth of the child may result in loss of benefit.
  • An EU citizen will be disqualified from receiving Paternity Benefit for any period of Paternity Leave that is spent outside the EU. A non-EU citizen will be disqualified from receiving Paternity Benefit for any period of the Paternity Leave that is spent outside the Republic of Ireland. 

Absence from the State
If the claimant is an EU citizen, they are entitled to Paternity Benefit for any period of the paternity leave spent in an EU country. If the claimant is not an EU citizen, they are only entitled to Paternity Benefit for any period spent in the Republic of Ireland. A claimant will not be paid Paternity Benefit for any period spent outside the EU, except in the following circumstances:

  • Where a claimant receiving Paternity Benefit goes abroad to receive approved medical treatment for their incapacity; (The treatment must relate to an illness incurred before going abroad)
  • Where a claimant receiving Paternity Benefit goes abroad for a holiday, not exceeding two weeks.
  • Persons who are employed abroad (posted workers) and continue to be insured under the Social Welfare Acts may be paid Paternity Benefit
  • Paternity Benefit may be paid to a claimant in other EU member states in accordance with Council Regulation (EC) NO 883/04, Articles 19 - 21.

Imprisonment
Paternity Benefit is NOT payable if the claimant is in prison.

Rates Structure

Employees
The standard rate payable for Paternity Benefit is €235.00 per week.

Self-employed
The standard rate payable for Paternity Benefit is €235.00 per week.

Illness Benefit Rate
The rate of Paternity Benefit is compared to the rate of Illness Benefit that would be paid to the claimant if they were absent from work through illness. The higher of the two rates is paid (See Rates Booklet SW19 for Illness Benefit rates).

Overlapping Provisions
Half-rate/reduced rate Paternity Benefit is payable if the claimant is in receipt of one of the following payments:

 

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

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

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

Paternity Benefit cannot be paid for the same period as any other Social Welfare payment except Disablement Benefit and Child Benefit. 

Carer's Allowance
A person who is claiming Paternity Benefit and who is providing full time care to another person living at the same address 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.

See Carer's Allowance guidelines for more information.

Increases for Qualified Adult/Qualified Child

Section 43 of the Social Welfare Consolidation Act 2005, & Statutory Instrument (S.I.) No 142 of 2007 refers.

Increases of Paternity Benefit are payable in respect of a qualified adult and in respect of a qualified child. (See separate guidelines on Dependants - Increase for a Qualified Adult (IQA) or Increase for a Qualified Child (IQC).

If a claimant has dependants, the rate of Paternity Benefit (excluding increases for dependants) is compared to the rate of Illness Benefit (including increases for dependants) that would be paid if they were absent from work through illness. The higher of the two rates is paid.

If the adult dependent is getting a social welfare payment an Increase for a Qualified Adult (IQA) cannot be paid to the claimant but a half-rate Increase for a Qualified Child (IQC) may be payable.

The claimant will qualify for a full-rate IQA and a full-rate IQC, if the adult dependent is unemployed and signing on for credits or is earning under €100.01 per week.

If the adult dependent is earning between €100.01 and €310 per week the claimant will get a tapered rate of IQA and a full-rate IQC. If the adult dependent is earning between €310.01 and €400 per week the claimant will not get an IQA but will get half rate IQC. If the adult dependent earns over €400 per week the claimant will not get an IQA or IQC.

 

PART 2: CLAIMS, INVESTIGATION AND DECISION PROCEDURES

Claims
Under the legislation the onus is on the claimant to apply at the correct time if they feel they are entitled to benefit. The Paternity Benefit claim form PB1 should be completed in full and signed by the claimant in all cases. Failure to answer all questions could cause delay in processing the claim.

Employees should get their employer to sign and stamp the form PB2 in relation to certification of their Paternity Leave.

A self-employed claimant should have a registered Medical Practitioner sign and stamp the form PB3 in relation to the estimated due date.

Claims should be submitted 3 weeks (12 weeks if self-employed) before the claimant intends to commence paternity leave.

The claimant should forward relevant documentation as indicated below. However this may be sent on after the initial claim is made.

Documentation
The claimant of Paternity Benefit is responsible for the production of certificates, documents, information and evidence required, including Certificate of confinement, P35, P45, P60, current payslip, copy of marriage/civil partnership certificate and/or work permit/GNIB card etc. (if required).

Paternity Benefit cannot be awarded until all the necessary documentation has been provided.

Late claims
A late claim may be accepted at the discretion of the Deciding Officer where s/he considers there was good cause throughout the period of the delay, but payment cannot be made in respect of a period more than six months prior to the date of claim. See under Disqualifications above.

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

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

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

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

PART 3: PROCEDURES FOLLOWING AWARD

Payment
Paternity Benefit is payable by DIRECT PAYMENT on a weekly basis into a Bank or Building Society Account (a current or deposit savings account, not a mortgage account) or the claimant may choose to have it paid directly into the employer's bank account.

If the claimant does not have a Bank or Building Society Account payment will be made by cheque to the home address.

Taxation
Paternity Benefit (including any increases for adult and child dependents) is reckonable for income tax purposes.  This Department pays Paternity Benefit directly to recipients without any deduction for tax. To assist in the taxation of Paternity Benefit, this Department notifies the Office of the Revenue Commissioners of the taxable amount of Paternity Benefit to be taken into account for income tax purposes.

If a claimant chooses to have the Benefit paid to the employer, who then continues to pay their normal weekly wage while they are receiving Benefit, the claimant may be entitled to a PRSI refund. They should complete the Refund of PRSI Contributions Application form PRSIREF 1, which can be accessed online at 'www.welfare.ie'.

Duration of Payment
Paternity Benefit is normally payable for a continuous period of 2 weeks.   Paternity Benefit cannot begin prior to the estimated due date / actual date of birth and must commence within 26 weeks of the birth of the child.
If the baby is born prematurely, and the claimant wishes to amend the Paternity Benefit dates, a letter with the new dates must be submitted by the employer.

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

When a claimant returns to work early, the end date is updated on the payment system.

Where applicable, change of address is updated.

Certification of ongoing entitlement
The onus is on the claimant to notify the Department of any changes in the details given on the claim form e.g. returning to work before the end of the claim or change of address.

Review
A review is initiated when the claimant informs the Department of a change of circumstances.

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

Credits
Credits are awarded automatically to recipients of Paternity Benefit for each week of benefit paid.

Parental Leave
The Parental Leave Act, 1998, which came into operation on 3rd December 1998, makes provision for unpaid leave for fathers and mothers to look after young children. Parental Leave may be taken either as a continuous block of 18 weeks or, with the agreement of the employer, broken up over a period of time.

Parents who take Parental Leave may be entitled to receive a PRSI Credit in respect of each week taken. This will ensure that their existing cover for Social Welfare benefits are fully maintained.

For further information contact:

Paternity Benefit Section
Department of Social Protection
McCarter's Road
Buncrana
Co. Donegal
IRELAND

For information about parental leave, as well as employment rights and responsibilities contact: 

Workplace Relations Customer Service
Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation
O’Brien Road
Carlow
LoCall: 1890 80 80 90
Tel: +353 59 917 8990
Email: www.workplacerelations.ie
Website: www.enterprise.gov.ie

For further information on PRSI credits for Parental Leave, contact:

Records Section
Department of Social Protection
McCarter's Road
Buncrana
Co. Donegal

LoCall: 1890 690 690 (from the Republic of Ireland only) + 353 1 47 15898 (from Nothern Ireland or overseas)

 

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Last modified:10/02/2017