Written Answers. - Proposed Legislation.

Ruairí Quinn

Question:

742 Mr. Quinn asked the Minister for Social, Community and Family Affairs the proposals for legislation being prepared under the auspices of his Department where heads have not yet been approved by the Government; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [19594/00]

My Department is developing proposals for legislation in four areas, which may be summarised as follows: registration of births, marriages and deaths Bill – The purpose of the proposed Bill is to reform the existing births, marriages and deaths registration legislation, and to underpin the modernisation of the General Registrar's Office; money advice and budgeting service Bill – This Bill will provide for the establishment of the money advice and budgeting service on a statutory basis; family mediation service Bill – This Bill will provide for the establishment of the family mediation service on a statutory basis. social welfare Bill, 2001 – This Bill will provide for the implementation of the social welfare provisions of budget 2001.

Ruairí Quinn

Question:

743 Mr. Quinn asked the Minister for Social, Community and Family Affairs the proposals for legislation being prepared under the auspices of his Department where heads have been approved by the Government; the expected date of publication; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [19609/00]

My Department is currently preparing proposals for a new pensions Bill which will include provisions governing the regulation of occupational and personal pension arrangements. It is expected that the Bill will be published in early 2001.

Ruairí Quinn

Question:

744 Mr. Quinn asked the Minister for Social, Community and Family Affairs the proposed statutory instruments being prepared in, or under the auspices of his Department; the proposed effect of each; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [19624/00]

The information requested by the Deputy is as follows:

Statutory Instrument

Proposed effect:

Social Welfare Act, 2000 (sections 8(1)(d) and 8(1)(f) (Commencement) Order, 2000:

Sections 8(1)(d) and 8(1)(f) of the Social Welfare Act, 2000 provide for a reduction of O.7% in the standard and lower rates of employer PRSI contributions, which will conincide with the introduction of the new national training levy. The purpose of the measure is to ensure that there is no overall increase in employer-rate PRSI. The sections will be commenced to coincide with the introduction of the National Training Levy Bill.

Social Welfare Act, 2000, Part (III) Commencement Order, 2000:

Part III of the Social Welfare Act, 2000 gives effect to the new carer's benefit scheme. This part will come into effect on 26 October 2000.

Social Welfare (Consolidated Payments Provisions) (Amendment) (Carers) Regulations, 2000:

To provide for the extension of the existing claims and payments provisions to the new carer's benefit scheme.

Social Welfare (Consolidated Contributions and Insurability) (Amendment) (Credited Contributions) Regulations, 2000:

To provide that social insurance contributions will be credited to recipients of carer's benefit for the duration of their entitlement in order to preserve and protect their personal social insurance records.

The regulations will further provide that cover for carer's benefit will be extended to all PRSI classes (other than class S and class J), in accordance with the provisions of the Social Welfare Act 2000.

Social Welfare Act, 2000 (Section 28) (Commencement) Order, 2000:

To provide for amendments to the carer's allowance scheme consequent on the introduction of the new carer's benefit scheme from 26 October 2000.

Social Welfare (Consolidated Payments Provisions) (Amendment) (Personal Public Service Number) Regulations, 2000:

These regulations prescribe the information which may be shared between my Department and any other specified body in relation to a person for the purposes of seeking or providing that person's personal public service number.

Statutory Instrument

Proposed effect:

Social Welfare (Miscellaneous Control Provisions) (Amendment) Regulations, 2000:

This regulation will be promulgated in the near future. Similar regulations currently provides that employers in the construction industry maintain records. The purpose of the amendment will be to ensure that those records are maintained on site.

Ruairí Quinn

Question:

745 Mr. Quinn asked the Minister for Social, Community and Family Affairs the Acts or sections or other provisions of Acts under the auspices of his Department or for the commencement of which his Department is responsible which have not commenced by reason of the fact that a commencement order has not been made; if he has any plans to make such an order in each case; if so, when; the reason for the failure in each case to make such an order to date; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [19639/00]

There is no Act, for which my Department is responsible, that has not been commenced. The Social Welfare Act, 2000, was enacted on 29 March 2000 and the sections listed below have yet to be commenced. The remaining provisions of earlier social welfare Acts in respect of which commencement orders have not been made are also set out in the following table;

Social Welfare Act, 2000 – sections 8(1)(f2>d) and (f2>f) – these sections provide for 0.7% reduction in the standard and lower rates of employer PRSI, to ensure that there is no overall increase in the employer's PRSI contribution following the introduction of the new national training fund levy. The promulgation of the commencement order will co-incide with the introduction of the required employment protection legislation by the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment.

Sections 10 and 11 – provide for the introduction of the new carer's benefit scheme. This is an insurance-based scheme designed to facilitate people who wish to leave the work-force temporarily to care or older people or for people with disabilities who are in need of full-time care and attention. The scheduled date for implementation of the scheme is 26 October 2000.

Section 23 provides for the return of social insurance contributions in certain circumstances to people who make enforceable maintenance payments. This will be commenced before the end of March 2001 and will apply to maintenance payments made in the current income tax year.

Section 28 provides for a number of amendments to existing carer's allowance legislation designed to align that scheme with the provisions of the new carer's benefit. The amendments will take effect from the date of introduction of the carer's benefit scheme on 26 October 2000.
Section 31 provides for changes in the administration of the supplementary welfare allowance scheme, which will be addressed in conjunction with additional procedural issues.
Social Welfare Act, 1999 – all provisions commenced.
Social Welfare Act, 1998, section 17 – provides for actuarial reviews of the social insurance fund to be undertaken on a five yearly basis and will be commenced later this year;
Social Welfare Act, 1997, Part IV – provides for the introduction of a new Sickness Allowance scheme. The overall purpose of the proposed sickness allowance scheme will be reviewed this year as part of the review of the income maintenance schemes for people with illness disability. All those who would have qualified for sickness allowance are currently being catered for through other payments, such as supplementary welfare allowance.
Section 26 (1)(f2>b) – this section contains regulatory powers to prescribe the provisions relating to benefit and privilege in the context of means assessment.
Social Welfare (No. 2) Act, 1995. Section 10 (4) provides regulatory powers under which a divorced person may receive a qualified adult allowance in respect of more than one person. The need for this Regulation is reviewed on an ongoing basis; Social Welfare Act, 1995
Section 22 provides regulatory powers designed to standardise the arrangements applying to various social welfare schemes, in relation to absence from the State; Social Welfare Act, 1994
Section 20 provides for the integration of injury benefit and unemployability supplement, payable under the occupational injuries benefits scheme, with disability benefit.The overall role of occupational injuries benefit payments will be examined as part of the current review of sickness/disability schemes. Decisions on the implementation of this section will be taken in the light of the findings of this review.

Ruairí Quinn

Question:

746 Mr. Quinn asked the Minister for Social, Community and Family Affairs the directives issued under the treaties establishing the European Communities of which any provision coming under the auspices of his Department has not yet been transposed into law; if in each case such transposition will be effected by Bill or statutory instrument; if transposition is overdue in any case; if so, the steps, if any, taken by the European Commission by way of enforcement; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [19654/00]

There are currently two directives relating to my Department which are for transposition into Irish law. They are Council Directive 98/49/EC on the safeguarding of the supplementary pension rights of employed and self-employed persons moving within the European Community, which was adopted on 29 June 2000, providing for equal treatment between persons irrespective of racial or ethnic origin.

Directive 98/49/EC primarily deals with the preservation of benefits, disclosure of information and payment of occupational pensions across borders for workers who move from one member state to another. It also provides for workers who are posted abroad to be allowed to stay in their occupational schemes and to be exempt from joining such a scheme in the country to which they are posted.

Member states are required to bring into force the laws, regulations and administrative arrangements necessary to comply with the directive not later than 25 July 2001.

To comply with the terms of the directive, an amendment to the pensions Act is necessary. This amendment will be incorporated into the new pensions Bill, which I expect to publish by early next year.

Council directive 2000/43/EC was adopted on 29 June 2000. This directive relates to implementing the principle of equal treatment between persons irrespective of racial or ethnic origin. The purpose of the directive is to allow the participation of all persons, natural and legal, in society regardless of racial or ethnic origin. While primary responsibility for its implementation rests with my colleague, the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform, the scope of the directive does include social security. Any necessary changes in the social welfare system arising out of this directive will be implemented not later than 19 July 2003, the deadline for compliance with the directive.