Written Answers. - School Staffing.

Jack Wall

Question:

625 Mr. Wall asked the Minister for Education and Science if he will investigate the problems that special needs attendants are encountering within the educational system, especially those doing 20 hours who it appears are not entitled to payments for mid-term breaks; if he will clear up these matters in view of the problems being encountered in finding staff for these positions; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [7655/01]

Part-time special needs assistants are contracted to deliver a specified number of hours service per week in the schools in which they are employed and are paid accordingly. In addition, under current legislation 8% of total earnings is paid to each part-time special needs assistant in respect of holiday pay. Also under current legislation, a part-time worker must have worked at least a total of 40 hours in the five weeks immediately before a public holiday in order to be entitled to payment for the public holiday. Apart from the general problem of securing suitable staff, which is a feature of many sectors of the economy at present, I am not aware that schools are encountering any particular difficulty in filling their special needs assistant posts.