Tuesday, 2 July 2013

Questions (439)

Michelle Mulherin


439. Deputy Michelle Mulherin asked the Minister for Social Protection when she expects legislation that allows retained firefighters to receive full jobseeker's allowance or benefit payments to be enacted; her policy regarding assessing retained firefighters who apply for those payments now; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [31533/13]

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Written answers (Question to Social)

Over 2,000 persons are employed as retained (part-time) fire-fighters, providing services which are vitally important to their communities. Typically, these workers provide services in rural and less densely populated areas but larger urban centres may also have a cohort of part-time workers. Retained fire-fighters who are otherwise unemployed are entitled to a jobseeker’s payment in respect of days that they are engaged in fire-fighting or training. They are, however, required to satisfy the statutory conditions for the receipt of a jobseeker’s payment of being available for and genuinely seeking work. Any person who fails to satisfy these conditions is not entitled to a jobseeker’s payment. Taking account of the unusual circumstances of retained fire personnel the Social Welfare and Pensions (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2013 carried amendments to both jobseekers benefit and jobseekers allowance that put the treatment of retained fire fighters on a legislative basis. The legislation and associated regulations will allow retained fire-fighters a reasonable and fair level of access to the schemes in future. The revised provisions will apply only to claims received on or after enactment of the relevant legislation.