Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Social Welfare Regulations.

21.

asked the Minister for Social Welfare whether he is aware of an anomaly resulting fron the change over in social welfare regulations in April 1979 whereby persons, who prior to that date were deemed to be in insurable employment and had paid contributions accordingly, were subsequently denied unemployment benefit; and whether he will take steps to remedy this injustice.

The regulations to which the Deputy refers concern the insurability under the Social Welfare Acts of part-time employment and employment remunerated at a rate of less than £6 a week or £26 a month.

Prior to 6 April 1979, all part-time employees who were employed for the purposes of an employer's trade or business were insurable for all benefits under the Social Welfare Acts, irrespective of the duration of the employment or of the amount of the remuneration. In addition, persons such as private domestic workers who were employed otherwise than for the purpose of the employer's trade or business were insurable for all benefits including unemployment benefit it they worked for a total of 18 hours or more in the week for one or more employers or, if working for a total of less than 18 hours in the week, were mainly dependent for livelihood on the earnings from such employment or employments. All other part-time employees were insured for occupational injury benefits and services under the Health Acts. Otherwise, persons in insurable employment were, generally speaking, likewise covered for all social insurance benefits, regardless of their rate of earnings.

As from 6 April 1979, the date of the introduction of the PRSI contributions scheme, revised regulations provide that irrespective of the nature of the employment any person who works for 18 or more hours in the week in one or more employments, continues to be insured for all benefits under the Social Welfare Acts. Where the total number of hours worked is less than 18 hours in the week, the employee continues to be insured for all benefits including unemployment benefit if he/she is mainly dependent for livelihood on the earnings from such employment or employments. Any person who works for a total of less than 18 hours in the week and who is not so dependent continues to be insured for occupational injury benefit and Health Act services.

The revised regulations also provide that a person who has only one employment remunerated at a rate less than £6 a week or £26 a month is from 6 April 1979 similarly insured only for occupational injury benefit and Health Act services.