Know Your Rights – January 2017

Know Your Rights

A: The Housing Assistance Payment

January 2017


How does the Housing Assistance Payment work?


The Housing Assistance Payment (HAP) is a form of social housing support for people with a long-term housing need. It is administered by local authorities and will eventually replace long-term Rent Supplement. You must be on the local authority’s housing list (which means that you qualify for social housing support) to be eligible for HAP.


HAP is being introduced in phases. From March 2017 the final phase will bring it fully into operation in the last three local authority areas – all in Dublin.


Under the HAP scheme, you find your own private rented accommodation. Although the local authority administers HAP, you will not be a local authority tenant. The rental agreement will be between yourself and the landlord. This means that you will have certain rights and obligations, as will your landlord.


The rent must be within the HAP rent limits, which are based on your household size and the rental market in your area. Additional flexibility is provided where a household cannot find suitable accommodation within the HAP rent limits. The Homeless HAP Pilot in Dublin offers further flexibility for homeless people.


The local authority will pay your landlord directly and you will pay a differential rent to the local authority. This means that the amount of rent is based on your income and your ability to pay. If you are getting a social welfare payment at a post office, you must pay the local authority through the Household Budget Scheme.


If you take up a job or increase your working hours, you will still be eligible for HAP, provided that you meet the other conditions of the scheme.


People who are on the housing list and currently getting Rent Supplement will be transferred to HAP on a phased basis. If you are on the housing list, living in a HAP area and getting Rent Supplement, you can now apply for HAP.


Detailed booklets and other information about HAP are available on


Further information is available from the Citizens Information Centre below.





Know Your Rights

B: The minimum wage

January 2017

I heard that the minimum wage has increased to €9.25 an hour. My employer says that this only applies to adults and that, as I am under 18, he won’t be increasing my hourly rate of pay. Is that right?
No. Since 1 January 2017, the statutory minimum wage for an experienced adult has increased to €9.25 per hour. Under the National Minimum Wage Act 2000, there are also pro-rata increases for those aged under 18 and for trainees. The new rates are as follows:

  Minimum hourly rate % of minimum wage
Experienced adult worker* €9.25 100%
Aged under 18 €6.48 70%
First year from date of first employment aged over 18 €7.40 80%
Second year from date of first employment aged over 18 €8.33 90%
Employee aged over 18, in structured training during work:
   In the 1st one-third period €6.94 75%
   In the 2nd one-third period €7.40 80%
   In the 3rd one-third period €8.33 90%

*You can find a definition of an experienced adult worker in this list of frequently asked questions on the national minimum wage.

If your employer is not paying you the appropriate minimum wage, you can make a complaint to the Workplace Relations Commission (WRC) using the online complaint form available on In the complaint form you have two options. You may either request an inspector from the WRC to investigate a claim that the national minimum wage is not being paid or you may refer a dispute to a WRC adjudicator. However, you can only refer a dispute if you have requested a statement from your employer outlining the calculation of the average hourly pay.

You can get more information on the minimum wage and your employment rights from the WRC Information and Customer Service (Lo-call 1890 80 80 90 or or from the Citizens Information Centre below.



Know Your Rights

C: Consumer rights during sales

January 2017

What are my consumer rights when I buy something in the sales? Can I return sales items?

Your consumer rights during a sale are exactly the same as at any other time of the year. Your rights do not change just because you bought the item in a sale.

Goods should be of merchantable quality, fit for their intended purpose and as described. If they are not, you are entitled to a repair, a replacement or a refund.


If there is a fault with goods that you bought at full price and are now on sale at a reduced price, you are entitled to a refund of the full price (if the shop is willing to offer a refund).

Shop notices such as “No Refunds” or “No Exchanges” do not limit your rights, if you have a complaint about faulty items.

However, you are not entitled to a refund because you change your mind about something you have bought in a shop, whether this is during the sales or at any other time of the year. Many shops do allow you to exchange goods that you have had second thoughts about, but this is at their discretion. It is a good idea to check the shop’s refund policy before buying anything.


You should always keep your receipts as proof of purchase and the price paid. This does not necessarily have to be the shop receipt. You could show your credit or debit card statement if you used one or any other documentation that proves it was purchased.


For more information, visit the website of the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission at


Further information is available from the Citizens Information Centre below.




Know Your Rights

D: Taxi complaints

January 2017



I’m unhappy with a recent experience I had when hiring a taxi. Where can I make a complaint?

The National Transport Authority has overall responsibility for regulating taxis, hackneys and limousine drivers. It deals with complaints relating to the:

  • Condition, roadworthiness and cleanliness of the vehicle
  • Conduct, behaviour and identification of the driver
  • Fares charged by the driver
  • Hiring and booking of the vehicle
  • Identification and the general appearance of the vehicle

The Authority’s website,, provides information on the hiring of taxis, hackneys and limousines and about making a complaint. If you wish to make a complaint, you can make it online, download a complaint form or obtain a complaint form from the Authority’s information line at 0761 064000. You need to submit a copy of any receipt obtained for the journey with the completed complaint form.


Once the complaint has been investigated, the Authority will decide whether to take further action. If it decides to take further action it can:

  • Give advice to the driver or operator, or
  • Issue a formal warning or
  • Proceed with prosecution in court

When making a complaint you should be prepared to give evidence in court, if necessary.


You can find out more at


Further information is available from the Citizens Information Centre below.

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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