Tuesday, 8 October 2019

Questions (97)

Fergus O'Dowd


97. Deputy Fergus O'Dowd asked the Minister for Education and Skills the progress that has been made to date to improve the recognition of the role of a special needs assistant; the future plans to strengthen the recognition of the role and the resources that will be made available to acknowledge the need for improved holiday and illness entitlements in the area; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [40766/19]

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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.

Annual Leave and Public Holiday entitlement is regulated by the Organisation of Working Time Act, 1997 (as amended) . In general, full-time employees are entitled to a minimum of 20 days Annual Leave in each leave year.

Sick Leave entitlements for SNAs are governed by the Public Service Sick Leave Scheme and are detailed in Circulars 54/2015 and 26/2018 issued by my Department.

My Department has recently established a Forum comprising of representatives of SNAs, School Management and my Department. This Forum is established to deal with claims and proposals relating to the salaries, other emoluments and conditions of service for SNAs and met for the first time on 3rd October, 2019.