Social Welfare Legislation to provide for the Back to Work Family Dividend is published


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The Tánaiste and Minister for Social Protection, Joan Burton, T.D. has today (Wednesday, 18 February, 2015) announced the publication of the Social Welfare (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill 2015, following Cabinet approval.

The main purpose of the Bill is the introduction of the new Back to Work Family Dividend, announced in Budget 2015, to help jobseekers with families and lone parents to return to work. Under the scheme, parents returning to work will retain the element of the welfare payment which they receive for their children. It means that, over two years, a family with one child will receive additional support of €2,324 to supplement wages. A family with two children will receive €4,649, those with three children will get €6,973, while those with four or more will get €9,298. It will cost €22 million in 2015 and €46 million in a full year.

The Tánaiste said: "We are making very significant progress in getting people back to work, but we want to increase the momentum. In Budget 2015 I introduced this new and innovative scheme to help jobseekers with families and lone parents to take up employment. The Back to Work Family Dividend will be available to jobseekers and lone parents who leave their welfare payments to take up employment or self-employment at any stage up until the end of March 2018.

"Essentially, it will provide a financial incentive to jobseekers and recipients of One-Parent Family Payment with child dependants to take up employment, increase the hours they work or become self-employed. This Dividend will be paid in addition to the existing Family Income Supplement."

The Tánaiste also announced that while the Back to Work Family Dividend scheme will commence once the Bill is enacted, the Department is accepting applications from people who have taken up employment or self-employment or increased their hours of employment since 5 January 2015. The first payments will not be made until the Bill is enacted and payments will be backdated where the date of application is between January and the date of enactment of the Bill.

A person who is eligible for the scheme will be entitled to a weekly payment for up to 2 years, from the ending of their claim for jobseekers payment or One-Parent Family payment. The rate of the Back to Work Family Dividend will be based, in the first year, on the increase for Qualified Child which was being paid to the jobseeker or lone parent immediately before he or she ceases to claim the payment, subject to a maximum overall weekly payment of €119.20 per week and will be half of that rate in the second year, subject to a maximum overall weekly payment of €59.60 per week.

The Back to Work Family Dividend will be paid for a maximum duration of two years, provided that the person remains in employment. If the person returns to claim a social welfare payment at any time during the two year period, the Dividend will cease to be paid. Payment of the Dividend may recommence for the unexpired portion of the two year period of entitlement if the person or his or her spouse, civil partner or cohabitant gets another job.

The Tánaiste concluded: "The best route out of poverty is through work. I am confident that the Back to Work Family Dividend will prove to be a successful initiative for out of work parents with dependent children. It will help people to build a better financial future for themselves and their families."

The Bill also provides for a number of other changes, including –

  • an extension of the Jobseeker’s Allowance transitional arrangements to apply to all lone parents where the youngest child is between the ages of 7 and 13 years. This will mean that a person who becomes a lone parent for the first time and whose youngest child is aged between 7 and 13 years, will be able to apply for Jobseeker’s Allowance under the transitional arrangements,
  • the strengthening of the provisions relating to the authentication of the identity of a person presenting to a post office for payment of a social welfare benefit, and
  • an enhancement of the procedures for the recovery of social welfare benefits from compensation in personal injury cases.
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    ENDS

Last modified:18/02/2015