Know your rights December 2014

citizens information

Know Your Rights A: Pay over Christmas and the New Year

December 2014

Question

I work part-time from Monday to Wednesday. This year Christmas falls on a Thursday. Will I get paid for Christmas Day and St Stephen’s Day, even though I don’t work on those days? What about New Year’s Day which falls on the following Thursday?

Answer

Christmas Day, St Stephen’s Day and New Year’s Day are public holidays. Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve are not. All workers are entitled either to paid time off or pay for a public holiday. (Your employer can decide whether to give you time off or pay.)

Part-time workers must have worked for the employer for at least 40 hours in the previous five-week period to have a public holiday entitlement.
If you work part-time and the public holiday falls on a day that you usually work you are entitled to a day’s pay or a paid day off for the public holiday. Part-time workers who are not rostered to work on a public holiday are still entitled to be paid or to paid time off for the public holiday. Part-time workers get one-fifth of their normal pay for the week as compensation for the holiday.

If you are required to work on a public holiday you are entitled to be paid at your usual rate and you are also entitled to either an additional day’s pay or a paid day off.

In your case you should receive one-fifth of your normal weekly pay for each of the three public holidays, Christmas Day, St Stephen’s Day and New Year’s Day. So you should get the additional pay or the equivalent amount of time off. Your employer can decide which option to give you.
You can get detailed information on employment rights on the website workplacerelations.ie.
Further information is available from the Citizens Information Centre below.

 

Know Your Rights B: Discrimination in employment recruitment

December 2014

 

Question

I recently applied, unsuccessfully, for a job. I was asked in the interview how many children I had and how I would manage childcare if offered the job. I feel that way I was treated during the recruitment process was discriminatory. What redress do I have?

Answer

Ireland has legislation prohibiting discrimination in a wide range of employment areas including recruitment. Discrimination is defined as ‘less favourable treatment’. A person can be discriminated against if he/she is treated less favourably than another person is, has been or would be treated in a comparable situation on any of nine grounds, as follows:

• Gender: this means man, woman or transsexual
• Civil status: includes single, married, separated, divorced, widowed people, civil partners and former civil partners
• Family status: this refers to the parent of a person under 18 years or the resident primary carer or parent of a person with a disability
• Sexual orientation: includes gay, lesbian, bisexual and heterosexual
• Religion: means religious belief, background, outlook or none
• Age: this does not apply to a person aged under 16
• Disability: includes people with physical, intellectual, learning, cognitive or emotional disabilities and a range of medical conditions
• Race: includes race, skin colour, nationality or ethnic origin
• Membership of the Traveller community

If you think that you have been discriminated against during recruitment on one of these grounds you can bring your case to the Equality Tribunal under the Employment Equality Acts 1998 to 2011. You should use the online complaint form (available by selecting ‘Make a complaint in relation to employment rights’ on workplacerelations.ie). You must lodge your complaint within 6 months of the alleged act of discrimination.

The Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission can provide information on employment equality legislation. It can also, at its discretion, provide legal assistance to people who wish to bring claims to the Equality Tribunal.

Further information is available from the Citizens Information Centre below.

 

Know Your Rights C: Taxation of social welfare pensions

December 2014

Question

I am about to retire from work. I will get a State Pension (Contributory) and a small occupational pension. Are these pensions taxed?

Answer

If you have a State pension and another source of income, you may have to pay tax on your combined income. Some social welfare payments are not taxable, but most long-term payments, including the State Pension (Contributory) are. Your State pension and Occupational Pension are added together and your tax liability is calculated on the total amount.

There is no mechanism for taxing your social welfare pension at source (before it is paid to you). Your other income determines how tax due is paid. There are increased tax exemption limits for people aged over 65. If you are aged 65 or over and your total income is less than €18,000 a year (if you are single) or if your joint income is less than €36,000 (if you are married or in a civil partnership) you are exempt from income tax.

In your case, you will be getting a State Pension (Contributory) and an occupational pension. Your occupational pension is taxed through the PAYE system in the same way as a wage or salary. This means that you get your tax credits or tax exemption in the normal way. Revenue collects tax on your State Pension by reducing your annual tax credits on your occupational pension. You then effectively pay tax on both the pensions, but it is collected from the occupational pension. For higher incomes, the standard rate cut-off point, the amount of income at which the higher rate of tax starts to apply, will also be reduced. The technical term for this is coding-in of credits.

If the tax exemption thresholds do not apply to you, then you are entitled to a personal tax credit, PAYE tax credit and age tax credit (which applies to people over 65). You do not pay the Universal Social Charge (USC) on the State Pension, but you may have to pay USC on your occupational pension. People aged over 65 do not pay PRSI.

Further information is available from the Citizens Information Centre below.

Know Your Rights D: The Youth Guarantee

December 2014

Question

What is the Youth Guarantee?

Answer

The Youth Guarantee aims to provide young people under the age of 25 with a good quality offer of employment, education, training or apprenticeship within a short time of leaving education or becoming unemployed. It is an EU initiative developed in response to the youth unemployment crisis across Europe.

In Ireland the Youth Guarantee is being introduced on a phased basis and a range of initiatives were recently announced. Jobseekers under 25 who have been unemployed for over 12 months will be prioritised and given additional support during the Department of Social Protection (DSP) Intreo process for jobseekers.

JobsPlus is an initiative that pays a cash incentive to employers who employ jobseekers on the Live Register. The qualifying period for JobsPlus for jobseekers under 25 has been reduced to four months. It will remain at 12 months for other jobseekers. Eligible young people, who are in the Live Register, will be given certification that they qualify for JobsPlus and they can use this when applying for jobs.

A Youth Developmental Internship (YDI) is currently being put in place. Internships are expected to start from March 2015. The YDI will be aimed at young people aged between 18 and 24 who have little or no experience of work. The YDI is similar to JobBridge but offers more support to interns including a work preparation course and a shorter internship week of 4 days. YDI internships will not be publically advertised. DSP staff will select candidates and refer them for interviews with organisations that have offered internships.

Other activities under the Youth Guarantee include a new Experience Your Europe (EYE) programme which offers sponsored internships in other EU countries, support for jobseekers who want to work in Europe and an apprenticeship programme in Germany. Employment schemes such as Gateway and Tús will have places reserved for young people who are long-term unemployed.

Further information is available from the Citizens Information Centre below.

Know Your Rights has been compiled by Co Wicklow Citizens Information Service which provides a free and confidential service to the public. See www.citizensinformation.ie for details of your local centre or phone our main office in Bray on 0761 07 6780
Information is also available online at citizensinformation.ie and from the Citizens Information Phone Service, 0761 07 4000.

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