Tuesday, 12 March 2013

Questions (331)

Paschal Donohoe

Question:

331. Deputy Paschal Donohoe asked the Minister for Social Protection if she will give consideration to a proposal whereby persons on the live register and in receipt of jobseeker's payments can avail of a social welfare holiday for a time limited period in order to allow them seek employment overseas and whereby on their return they would still have the same benefits available to them; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [12752/13]

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Written answers (Question to Social)

An unemployed person may qualify for jobseeker’s benefit or jobseeker’s allowance. Jobseeker’s benefit is based on a person’s social insurance record and jobseeker’s allowance is based on weekly means. A fundamental qualifying condition for a jobseeker’s payment is that a person must be available for full-time work.

Under EU Regulations, in certain circumstances a person on jobseeker’s benefit may retain payment for a period of up to 13 weeks, while seeking work in another EU Member State. However, it is not possible to transfer jobseeker’s allowance in the same way.

Jobseeker’s allowance is listed by EU Regulation 883/2004 as a special non-contributory cash benefit and, as a result, it is paid “exclusively in the Member State in which the persons concerned reside, in accordance with its legislation”. A jobseeker’s allowance customer, to retain his or her payment, is therefore required to remain in the State. Locally, however, arrangements may be made between a local office and a person on jobseeker’s allowance, permitting the person to travel abroad for a job interview or a short holiday.

There are no plans to introduce changes to these arrangements.