◊ PART 1: GENERAL
◊ PART 2: ELIGIBILITY
◊ PART 3: CLAIMS, INVESTIGATION AND DECISION PROCEDURES
Investigation of Claim
PART 1: GENERAL
The Social Welfare Tribunal is a statutory body set up in 1982 to deal with cases where entitlement to Jobseeker's Benefit or Jobseeker's Allowance is refused due to an involvement in a trade dispute. Where a person feels that he/she has been unreasonably deprived of employment because his/her employer refused or failed to follow the negotiating machinery available for settling disputes, he/she may apply to the Tribunal for an adjudication on the matter.
The Tribunal is made up of a Chairman and four ordinary members. The members of the Tribunal are appointed by the Minister for Social Protection and must consist of an independent Chairman, two members nominated by the Irish Congress of Trade Unions (ICTU) and two by the Irish Business and Employer's Confederation (IBEC).
Guide to Social Welfare Services - SW 4
The legislation governing the operation of the Social Welfare Tribunal is contained in sections 331 - 333 of the Social Welfare (Consolidation), Act, 2005.
Enquiries relating to the work of the Social Welfare Tribunal may be directed to the Secretary of the Social Welfare Tribunal, Dept of Social Protection, Gandon House, Amiens Street, Dublin 1.
PART 2: ELIGIBILITY
A person who has been disqualified from receiving Jobseeker's Benfit or Jobseeker's Allowance because of his/her direct interest or participation in a trade dispute which caused a stoppage of work may apply to the Social Welfare Appeals Office for a decision in their case. However, it is not necessary for a person to seek an Appeals Officer's decision before applying directly to the Tribunal for an adjudication. Before making an adjudication, the Tribunal must take account of all the circumstances of the stoppage of work and of the trade dispute which caused the stoppage of work including:
- whether the applicant is or was available for work and willing to work, but is or was deprived of his/her employment through some act or omission on the part of the employer concerned which amounted to unfair or unjust treatment of the applicant;
- whether the applicant is or was prevented by the employer from attending for work or was temporarily laid off by the employer, without (in either case) any reasonable or adequate consultation by the employer with the applicant or with a trade union acting on his/her behalf or without using accepted industrial relations machinery;
- whether any action or decision by the employer, amounting to a worsening of the terms or conditions of employment of the applicant and taken without any adequate consultation with, or adequate notice to, the applicant was a cause of the stoppage of work or of the trade dispute which caused the stoppage of work;
- whether the conduct of the applicant or of a trade union acting on his/her behalf was reasonable.
Having considered the evidence and any representations by the applicant and the employer, the Tribunal decides whether the applicant was unreasonably deprived of employment and, if so, whether he/she is entitled to payment, provided that the other conditions for receipt of such benefit or assistance are satisfied.
PART 3: CLAIMS, INVESTIGATION AND DECISION PROCEDURES
An applicant can apply to the Secretary of the Social Welfare Tribunal on a form approved for the purpose by the Tribunal. The form should be accompanied by a statement of the facts and contentions on which the applicant intends to rely.
The applicant has 21 days from the date of receipt of the Deciding Officer's decision that he/she is disqualified for receipt of Jobseeker's Benefit or Jobseeker's Allowance to apply to the Tribunal.
The application may, with the consent of the Tribunal, be accepted at any time.
Investigation of Claim
On receipt of an application for an adjudication, the Secretary of the Tribunal will forward to the employer concerned a copy of the statement submitted by the applicant for the employer's comments on the contents of same.
The Secretary of the Tribunal will also notify the Minister that an application for adjudication has been received from the applicant.
The employer has 14 days from receiving a copy of the statement submitted by the applicant to enter an appearance to the proceedings by sending to the Secretary of the Tribunal a statement showing to what extent the facts and contentions advanced by the applicant are admitted or disputed. The employer may apply to the Tribunal for an extension of the time in which to enter an appearance.
When the Secretary of the Tribunal receives a notice of appearance from the employer a copy of this is sent to the applicant.
The Chairman of the Tribunal will fix a date, time and place for the hearing and notice is issued by the Secretary of the Tribunal to the applicant, employer and all Tribunal members.
Persons summoned to attend a hearing of the Tribunal may appear and be heard in person or may be represented by a barrister, solicitor or by a representative of a trade union or of an employer's association or, with the consent of the Tribunal, by any other person.
A party to an application may:
- make an opening statement
- call witnesses
- cross-examine any witness called by any other party
- give evidence on his/her own behalf
- address the Tribunal at the close of the evidence.
The Tribunal may postpone or adjourn a hearing from time to time. If, after notice of a hearing has been duly given, any of the parties fail to appear at the hearing, the Tribunal may decide the application or may adjourn the hearing to a later date, provided that before deciding the application the Tribunal shall consider all the evidence before it at the time of the hearing.
A decision of the Tribunal may be taken by a majority of the members.
A decision of the Tribunal is recorded in a document signed by the Chairman and sealed with the seal of the Tribunal. It is entered in a Register of Adjudications and a copy of the decision is sent to the Minister, to the applicant, to the employer and to any other interested person.
An interested person (including the Minister) may apply to the Tribunal for a review of its decision and, if the Tribunal is satisfied that a material change has occurred in the circumstances of the stoppage of work or of the trade dispute which caused the stoppage of work, or that there is new evidence or new facts which in the opinion of the Tribunal could have affected its decision, it may review its decision and such a review shall be treated as an adjudication under the Act.
A decision of the Tribunal on an application for an adjudication is final and conclusive, but an appeal may be made to the High Court on a question of law.