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Know Your Rights – June 2020

Know Your Rights: Back to School Clothing and Footwear Allowance

I am getting the COVID-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment. I have one child starting school in September. Can I qualify for the Back to School Clothing and Footwear Allowance?

Yes, you can. To qualify for this payment which helps with back to school costs, you must be getting a social welfare payment or taking part in a training, employment or adult education scheme. Your children must be aged between 4 and 22 on or before 30 September 2020. If they are aged between 18 and 22 they must be in full-time second-level education in a recognised school or college. In general, you must be getting an Increase for a Qualified Child with your payment.

However, if you are getting the COVID-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment, the Working Family Payment or the Back to Work Family Dividend, you can qualify. Your application will be means-tested and your total family income must be below a certain level for your family size.

The Allowance is €150 for children aged between 4 and 11 and €275 for children aged between 12 and 22. It is paid automatically to many families. This means that they do not have to apply for the payment. If you qualify automatically, you will get your payment the week beginning 13 July 2020.

You will need to apply online for the BTSCFA, if you do not get a letter confirming your payment by 6 July 2020.If any of your children are aged 18 or over, you must apply for the BTSCFA for them and show evidence that they are in second-level education (even if automatic payments have issued for other children in your family).

From 6 July 2020, you can apply for BTSCFA online through MyWelfare.ie. You must have a Public Services Card and a verified MyGovID account to apply online.

Read more about the Back to School Clothing and Footwear Allowance and you can read detailed guidelines on gov.ie.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Citizens Information Centres are offering a phone and email service. You can access information and advice from:

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Citizens Information Centres are offering a phone and email service. You can access information and advice from:

  • Bray CIC on 0761 07 6780 Monday to Friday, 9am-5pm
  • Email Bray CIC at bray@citinfo.ie – anytime
  • The Citizens Information Phone Service: call 0761 07 4000, Monday to Friday, 9am-5pm

◾Our national call back service: visit citizensinformation.ie/callback to book a phone call from an information officer

Know your rights: Maternity leave during COVID-19

I’ve been on maternity leave from work. What are the rules about the Temporary Wage Subsidy Scheme for people returning from maternity leave?

The Temporary Wage Subsidy Scheme (TWSS) provides financial support to workers affected by the COVID-19 shutdown.  The scheme makes it easier for businesses to re-open with staff when COVID-19 restrictions are lifted.

To access the scheme, businesses had to be substantially affected by COVID-19. They also needed to provide employee payroll details from January and February 2020. This meant that if you were on maternity leave or adoptive leave you were not eligible for the scheme.  People on paternity leave, illness benefit or unpaid leave were also affected by this anomaly in the TWSS.

This will now change. From 12 June 2020, Revenue will allow payroll changes to be made to the scheme for these workers and payments can be backdated to 26 March in some cases.

How to get onto TWSS after maternity leave

When you return to work from maternity or adoptive leave, your employer must complete details about you as a returning employee through MyEnquiries on revenue.ie.   The form includes details of your weekly gross salary. 

Revenue will consider each case. They will cross-reference the information from your employer with maternity benefit data previously sent to the DEASP and your last full weekly gross pay on record before your maternity or adoptive leave.

Revenue will then calculate an Average Revenue Net Weekly Pay (ARNWP) to work out your TWSS payment.  The payroll files will then be updated to include the calculated ARNWP. Your employer can still top up your pay in line with the current TWSS rules and threshold amounts.

If your employer took you off the payroll, they can re-hire you. They need to request a new Revenue Payroll notification before you can benefit from TWSS. If you stay on your employer’s payroll, your TWSS payment can be backdated to 26 March.

If you were getting the COVID-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment, you cannot get the backdated TWSS payment because you cannot get two payments. However you can switch to the TWSS from 12 June.

You can read more about COVID-19 and Maternity Benefit.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Citizens Information Centres are offering a phone and email service. You can access information and advice from:

  • Bray CIC on 0761 07 6780 Monday to Friday, 9am-5pm
  • Email Bray CIC at bray@citinfo.ie – anytime
  • The Citizens Information Phone Service: call 0761 07 4000, Monday to Friday, 9am-5pm

◾Our national call back service: visit citizensinformation.ie/callback to book a phone call from an information officer

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