Tuesday, 23 July 2019

Questions (332)

Bobby Aylward


332. Deputy Bobby Aylward asked the Minister for Education and Skills the position regarding the entitlement of special needs assistants, SNAs, to breastfeeding breaks and annual leave for the graduation days of children; if the possibility of reviewing the entitlement of SNAs to bereavement, assault and health and safety leave will be considered in order to ensure their needs are being met; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [33923/19]

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Written answers (Question to Education)

Special Needs Assistants (SNAs) are recruited specifically to assist in the care of pupils with disabilities who have additional and significant care needs in an educational context. They may be appointed to a special school or a mainstream school to assist school authorities in making suitable provision for a pupil or pupils with special care needs. The first priority is that the care needs of the pupils are met on an ongoing basis during the school year.

In accordance with the Education Act, the terms and conditions of employment of SNAs employed in approved posts funded by moneys provided by the Oireachtas are determined by the Minister for Education and Skills, with the concurrence of the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform.  

Circular 17/2013  issued by my Department, deals with the Maternity Protection entitlements, including provision for breastfeeding and Maternity Health and Safety Leave for SNAs employed in Recognised Primary and Post Primary Schools.  

Circular 32/2010 caters for Brief Absences and Circular 62/2017 deals with Leave of Absence following Assault for SNAs employed in Recognised Primary and Post Primary Schools

A Union has recently submitted a claim on behalf of SNA members, for brief absences which are available to teachers to be made available to SNAs.  This is currently under consideration in my Department.