Know Your Rights December 2016

Citizens Information

Know Your Rights 

A: Christmas Bonus

December 2016


I’m getting a social welfare payment. Will I get a Christmas Bonus?


The Christmas Bonus is paid to people getting a long-term social welfare payment. Long-term social welfare payments include the following:

  • State Pensions and Widow’s/Widower’s/Surviving Civil Partner’s Pensions
  • Invalidity Pension, Blind Pension, Disability Allowance, Carer’s Allowance, Carer’s Benefit, Domiciliary Care Allowance and guardian’s payments
  • Jobseeker’s Transitional payment, One-Parent Family Payment, Farm Assist, Deserted Wife’s Benefit and Allowance
  • Community Employment, Rural Social Scheme, Tús, Gateway, Back to Work Enterprise Allowance and Job Initiative
  • Back to Education Allowance (BTEA), VTOS and Further Education and Training (FET) training allowance (people coming from jobseeker’s payments must have been on their payment and/or BTEA or VTOS or FET training allowance for 15 months)

For Jobseeker’s Allowance or Basic Supplementary Welfare Allowance, you must be getting the payment for 15 months to get a Christmas Bonus.

In 2016 the Christmas Bonus will be 85% of your normal weekly payment (including the Living Alone Increase, the Island Allowance and the Over-80 Increase). Fuel Allowance is not included when calculating the Christmas Bonus. The minimum Christmas Bonus payment is €20.

For Domiciliary Care Allowance (DCA), which is paid monthly, the bonus is 85% of the weekly payment. The DCA portion of the bonus is calculated independently of other payments. So, for example, if you are getting DCA for one child, 85% of the weekly payment is €60.70.

Further information is available from the Citizens Information Centre below.



 Know Your Rights

B: Public holidays at Christmas

December 2016


I work full-time, Monday to Friday. What days off will I get at Christmas?

Christmas Day (25 December), St Stephen’s Day (26 December) and New Year’s Day (1 January) are public holidays every year.

In 2016 Christmas Day falls on a Sunday and St Stephen’s Day falls on a Monday. New Year’s Day 2017 falls on a Sunday.

Where a public holiday falls on a weekend, you do not have any automatic legal entitlement to have the next working day off work. This means that, for example, Tuesday 27 December 2016 is not a public holiday. Your employer can require you to attend work on that day. Your public holiday entitlement for Christmas Day will be one of the following:

  • A paid day off within a month of the public holiday
  • An additional day of annual leave
  • An additional day’s pay

Under the Organisation of Working Time Act 1997, you may ask your employer, at least 21 days before a public holiday, which of the alternatives will apply to you. Your employer should respond to you at least 14 days before the public holiday. In practice, many employers will give employees Tuesday 27 December and Monday 2 January off in lieu of Christmas Day and New Year’s Day – but it is important to remember that this is not an automatic entitlement.

You can find out more about public holidays in the Explanatory Booklet on Holidays and Public Holidays (pdf) which is available from the Workplace Relations Commission website,

If you do not get your public holiday entitlement, you may make a complaint under the Organisation of Working Time Act within 6 months of the dispute or complaint occurring. You must use the online complaint form available on

Further information is available from the Citizens Information Centre below.




Know Your Rights

C: Tenants with landlords living abroad     

December 2016


Our landlady lives in Spain and we pay rent into her bank account. Is it true that we need to collect the tax she is liable for?

Yes, if you pay rent directly to a landlord (or landlady) who lives abroad, you must deduct tax from the rent and account for it to Revenue, whether by paying it to Revenue or by reducing your tax credits. You deduct the tax at the standard rate (20% at present) from the gross amount of rent that you pay. This deduction is not your tax relief – it is tax payable to Revenue from your landlady’s income.

Say, for example, you pay gross monthly rent of €1,500 directly to your landlady. The amount of tax to deduct is 20% of €1,500, which is €300. Subtract this from the gross rent to get net monthly rent of €1,200. You pay this to your landlady. The amount due to Revenue is the €300 per month that you deducted.

(The situation is different for a tenant who pays rent through an agent to a landlord living abroad. In this situation, you do not deduct tax from the rent. The landlord’s collection agent must account for it in an annual tax return.)

You must account to Revenue for the tax that you deduct from the gross rent. If you fail to deduct the tax and account for it, this will mean that you (not your landlady) will be liable for any tax that should have been deducted.

If you pay tax under PAYE, you can account for it by reducing your tax credits and Standard Rate Cut-Off Point. You can notify your local Revenue Office and ask them to arrange this. Alternatively, you can make a tax return on Form 12 (pdf) and pay the retained amount to Revenue.

If you pay tax under self-assessment, you should include the details of your rent with your annual return on Form 11 (pdf). A notice of assessment will then issue to you, showing your reduced tax credits.

At the end of the year you must give your landlady a completed Certificate of Income Tax Deducted – Form R185 (pdf).

Further information is available from the Citizens Information Centre below.





Know Your Rights

D: Buying goods online

December 2016


I have ordered a few presents from a Belgian website. Can I return them if I’m not happy with them when they arrive?

Online purchases within the EU are covered by the EU Directive on Consumer Rights. Under this Directive you are entitled to a cooling-off period of 14 days. During the cooling-off period, you can cancel distance contracts such as online purchases without giving a reason and without incurring charges or penalties, other than possible charges incurred in returning the goods. The 14-day cooling-off period begins on the day that you receive the goods.

Upon cancellation, the distance seller is obliged to repay you within 14 days, including delivery costs. If you chose a more expensive type of delivery than the seller’s cheapest standard delivery, you are only entitled to be refunded the cost of the cheaper delivery type.

The seller can withhold the repayment until the goods are returned or until you supply evidence that you have sent the goods back.

You must send the goods back within 14 days of informing the seller of the cancellation. You have to pay for the cost of returning them, unless the seller did not inform you before you ordered the goods that you would have to bear the cost.

The seller should have provided you with confirmation of the contract, as well as  information on aftersales and guarantees, how to cancel the contract and a postal address for complaints. If the seller did not provide you with information on your right to cancel, the cooling-off period can be extended by 12 months.

Cancellation may not be accepted in certain cases, for example, if the goods were made especially for you.

Further information is available from the European Consumer Centre and 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 for details of your local centre or phone our main office in Bray on 0761 07 6780

Information is also available online at and from the Citizens Information Phone Service, 0761 07 4000.


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