Tuesday, 18 June 2019

Ceisteanna (223)

Róisín Shortall

Ceist:

223. Deputy Róisín Shortall asked the Minister for Education and Skills the position regarding the cycle to work scheme; if the administration of the scheme can be improved in order to ensure that more teachers can take up the scheme; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [25605/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

My Department operates a cycle to work scheme for teaching and non teaching staff employed in Primary, Voluntary Secondary and Community/Comprehensive schools and the details are outlined in Circular 0066/2017. The Circular sets out the parameters of the scheme facilitated by my Department.

The Education and Training Boards also operate a cycle to work scheme for staff employed in their schools and the details are outlined in Circular 25/2014. (Link attached)

https://www.education.ie/en/Circulars-and-Forms/Active-Circulars/cl0025_2014.pdf

The Department acts as paymaster to over 4,000 schools whose Boards of Management are the direct employers of the teachers and non-teaching staff employed in those schools. My Department facilitates the scheme by paying the cost of a bicycle and associated safety equipment up front from approved providers. The scheme as operated by the Department specifically allows teachers to obtain a new bicycle and associated safety gear to a maximum value of €1,000 every five years, avail of tax relief on the costs and repay the net amount by salary deduction through the Department’s payroll. The scheme as operated by the Department must be in accordance with Revenue Guidelines in relation to cycle to work schemes.

Circular 0066/2017 (link attached) provides a number of options for the teaching and non teaching staff covered by the terms of the scheme who wish to avail of it to repay the net cost through salary deduction over a period of time within the calendar year. Given the nature of their employment contracts, there are some categories of teachers the Department is unfortunately unable to facilitate under the cycle to work scheme, for example casual substitute teachers, teachers replacing teachers absent from teaching duties on approved leave such as maternity leave, sick leave.

I would encourage teachers and non teaching staff to avail of the cycle to work scheme and if possible to submit their applications for it as early as possible in the calendar year, so if desired the salary deductions can be spread over the longest repayment period. Alternatively, this can be achieved by completing the salary deductions over a shorter period or by a single salary deduction.

Further details of the scheme including application forms and frequently asked questions are available to all education staff on my Department’s website.

Link to Circular 0066/2017:

https://www.education.ie/en/Circulars-and-Forms/Active-Circulars/cl0066_2017.pdf