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Know Your Rights October 2019

Know your Rights A: Seasonal flu vaccination

Question

I got the seasonal flu vaccine last year. Do I need to get it again this year?

Answer

Influenza, usually known as the flu, is highly infectious and anyone can get it. However some groups are at greater risk of complications if they get the flu and the flu vaccine is strongly recommended for them. They include people over the age of 65, pregnant women and people who have a chronic medical condition.

The flu viruses that are circulating change every year. This is why you need to get a new vaccine each year. Vaccination is free if you are in one of the following groups:

  • Are aged 65 and over
  • Have a long-term medical condition such as diabetes, heart, kidney, liver, lung or neurological disease
  • Have an impaired immune system due to disease or treatment
  • Have a body mass index (BMI) over 40
  • Are pregnant
  • Live in a nursing home or other long-stay institution
  • Are a carer or a healthcare worker
  • Have regular contact with poultry, water fowl or pigs

This year the flu vaccine is available from October 2019 until the end of April 2020. You should get your flu vaccination from early October to be protected for flu season.You can get the vaccine from your GP (family doctor), pharmacist or Occupational Health Department. Children can get the vaccine from a GP.

While the vaccine itself is free of charge if you are in one of the recommended groups, doctors and pharmacists may charge a consultation fee when they give you the vaccine.

If you have a medical card or GP visit card you can get the vaccine without being charged a consultation fee.

Further information is available from the Citizens Information Centre below.

Know Your Rights B: Tax relief on tuition fees

Question

My brother and I have started in third-level college this year. Can my parents claim any tax relief on our fees?

Answer

Your parents may be able to claim tax relief on both tuition fees, including the student contribution (sometimes called the registration fee) for the following approved courses:

  • Full-time and part- time undergraduate courses in both private or publicly funded third-level colleges – in approved colleges in Ireland or in any EU member state. The course must be for at least two years’ duration.
  • Postgraduate courses in private and publicly funded colleges in Ireland as well as universities and publicly funded colleges in other countries (EU and non-EU). Postgraduate courses must be between one and four years in duration and students must already have a primary degree or equivalent qualification.
  • Foreign language and IT courses that are less than two years’ duration and which result in the award of a certificate of competence. The course fees paid must not be less than €315 and not more than €1,270.

Tax relief is given at the standard rate of 20%. You can claim it as long as you have actually paid the fees, either on your own behalf or on behalf of another person. There is no limit on the number of individuals you can claim for.

The maximum amount of fees, including the Student Contribution, that can qualify for tax relief is €7,000 per person per course. For a full-time student for the 2019/2020 academic year, there is no tax relief on the first €3,000 spent on tuition fees, including the Student Contribution. There is no tax relief on the first €1,500 spent on tuition fees for part-time students. If you are claiming for more than one student, you will get full tax relief on tuition fees for the second or subsequent students.

You can claim tax relief on tuition fees using Revenue’s myAccount service. Alternatively you can download an application form from revenue.ie and return the completed form to your Revenue office.

Lists of courses and colleges approved for relief each year are published on the Revenue website.

Further information is available from the Citizens Information Centre below.

Know your Rights C: Public holiday entitlement

Question

I work full-time, Monday to Friday, but the business will be closed on Monday 28 October. Will I get paid for the day?

Answer

Monday 28 October 2019 is a public holiday and as you would normally be due in work you are entitled to get your normal pay for the day.

If you did work on Monday 28, you would be entitled to your pay for the day and one of the following alternatives:

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

If you are not normally rostered to work on a public holiday you are entitled to one-fifth of your weekly pay as compensation for the public holiday.

Part-time employees also qualify for a public holiday entitlement, when they have worked at least 40 hours in total in the 5 weeks before the public holiday.

If you are not getting your public holiday entitlement, you may make a complaint under the Organisation of Working Time Act within 6 months. You must use the online complaint form (pdf) from the Workplace Relations Commission.

Further information is available from the Citizens Information Centre below.


Know Your Rights D: Rules for operating drones

Question

I am buying a drone for my son as a gift this Christmas. What are the rules for flying it?

Answer

Drones and model aircraft are both considered small unmanned aircraft and the same rules apply to their operation. The rules are set out in the Small Unmanned Aircraft (Drones) and Rockets Order 2015 (SI 563/2015). In June 2019 the European Union published new drone regulations, which will come into force in the coming years. For the time being, drones will continue to be regulated under national legislation.

All drones weighing 1kg or more must be registered with the Irish Aviation Authority (IAA). This includes the weight of the battery and all attached equipment, including cargo, at the start of its flight. You register your drone online at iaa.ie/drones. Your son must be over 16 years of age to register the drone, otherwise it must be registered by a parent or legal guardian. If your drone weighs 4kg or more, you must complete a drone safety training course before operating it.

You must not operate a drone in a negligent or reckless manner which would endanger the life or property of others. You must not operate a drone:

  • Farther than 300 metres from you or out of your direct line of sight
  • Over 120 metres above ground level
  • Over urban areas or over a group of 12 or more people
  • Within 120 metres of any person, vessel or structure not under your control
  • Closer than 5 kilometres from an aerodrome
  • If it will be a hazard to another aircraft in flight
  • In civil or military controlled airspace or in restricted areas such as prisons

If you want to operate your drone outside these limits, you must apply to the IAA for a specific operating permission and complete a drone safety training course. You must have permission from the landowner for take-off and landing. There may be privacy or trespass issues if you operate a drone over private property. While you do not need insurance to operate a drone it is recommended that you are insured and that you complete a drone safety training course.

Further information is available from the Citizens Information Centre below.

Know Your Rights has been compiled by your local Citizens Information Service which provides a free and confidential service to the public.

ARKLOW Citizens Information Centre

73 Lower Main Street, Arklow

Tel: 0761 07 6750 

email: arklow@citinfo.ie

Monday to Friday: 9.30am – 1.00pm; 2.00pm – 5.00pm

BRAY Citizens Information Centre

2 The Boulevard

Quinsboro Road, Bray

Tel:  0761 07 6780 Fax: 01 2116699

email: bray@citinfo.ie

Monday to Friday 10.00am – 4.30pm

Tuesdays: 7.30pm—9.00pm

WICKLOW TOWN Citizens Information Centre

9/10 Lower Mall

Tel: 0761 07 6840 

email: wicklow@citinfo.ie

Mon 10.00am to 4.30pm

Tues, Wed & Thurs 9.30am – 1.00pm & 2.00pm—5.00pm

Fri 9.30am – 1.00pm

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

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