Tuesday, 2 July 2019

Questions (660)

Pearse Doherty

Question:

660. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the full cost of the Christmas bonus for the past five years it was issued; the size of the bonus, for example, 85% or 100%; and if the bonus is included in the expenditure base in each year in tabular form. [28015/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Employment)

The Christmas Bonus payment is made to long-term social welfare recipients, such as pensioners, carers, people with disabilities, lone parents and long-term unemployed people who rely wholly or mainly on their social welfare payments for financial support.

The payment of a Christmas Bonus is a discretionary decision made by Government in the context of the annual Budget process and available resources. The level of payment made can vary annually and, in fact, was not paid at all in the period from 2009 to 2013.

The bonus was reinstated in 2014, initially at a rate of 25%, rising to 75% in 2015, 85% in 2016 and I am happy to say was paid at 100% in 2018.

The following table provides details of the percentage of Christmas bonus paid and its cost since it's reinstatement.

Year

Expenditure

Christmas Bonus

€m

%

2014

€63.5

25%

2015

€197

75%

2016

€221

85%

2017

€219

85%

2018

€264.3

100%

The Revised Estimates do not include a specific allocation in respect of a Social Welfare Christmas Bonus. This is in line with the practice that such payments are funded based on the fiscal position at Budget time. For this reason, the expenditure does not go into the base for the following year, as the decision on whether to pay a bonus as well as the rate of that bonus depends on the projected end-year position.

Any decision taken regarding the payment of the Bonus has to be consistent with the legal requirements set out in the domestic Fiscal Responsibility Acts 2012 and 2013 and the targets set for Ireland by the EU Stability and Growth Pact.