Thursday, 24 October 2013

Questions (140)

John Halligan

Question:

140. Deputy John Halligan asked the Minister for Social Protection the number of public service workers who are currently supplementing their income with family income supplement; the number of those public service workers currently with applications awaiting approval; her views on whether, in certain cases, the reduction of public service hours in an effort save money on wages has put an additional burden on her Department, specifically in respect of family income supplement; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [45474/13]

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Written answers (Question to Social)

The family income supplement (FIS) is an in-work income support for employees on low earnings who have families and who otherwise might be at risk of financial poverty. FIS also preserves the incentive to remain in employment in circumstances where the employee might only be marginally better off than if he or she were unemployed and claiming social welfare. FIS is available to public sector employees and private sector employees on an equal basis. While the estimated expenditure for 2013 on FIS is expected to be €229.6 million, almost €282 million has been provided in Budget 2014 for this scheme. There are currently some 41,000 families in receipt of a FIS payment. Take-up of FIS has continued to improve over the past 2 years as more people are supported to take up or remain in employment.

To qualify for payment of FIS, a person must be engaged in full-time insurable employment which is expected to last for at least 3 months and be working for a minimum of 38 hours per fortnight or 19 hours per week. Furthermore, the average family income must be below a specified amount which varies according to the number of qualified children in the family.

Figures for the recorded numbers of public servants in receipt of FIS for each year from 2008 to August 2013 are given in the following table. The proportion of FIS recipients who were employed in the public service stood at about 10 -11% between 2008 and 2011. Since 2012 the proportion of FIS recipients who are public servants has dropped somewhat to approximately 9%.

Table: FIS recipients who are public servants

Year Ending

Number in receipt end Dec

Number Public Servants end Dec

% of FIS recipients who are Public Servants

2008

27,798

2,720

10%

2009

25,963

2,951

11%

2010

28,223

3,151

11%

2011

28,876

2,976

10%

2012

32,307

2,860

9%

2013*

41,391*

3,595*

9%

*End August 2013.

There are approximately 300 recently received new and renewal applications from public servants currently awaiting a decision.