204. Deputy Willie O’Dea asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection when arrears will issue in relation to a carer’s allowance for a person (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 8831/18 asked on 21 Feb 2018 - Carer’s Allowance Payments)

Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection (Deputy Regina Doherty): Carer’s allowance (CA) is a means-tested social assistance payment made to a person who is habitually resident in the State and who is providing full-time care and attention to a person who has such a disability that they require that level of care.
Once claims are in payment, the Department periodically reviews them to ensure that there is continued entitlement. Depending on the circumstances in each case and to mak...

36. Deputy Willie O’Dea asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection her views on a recent ESRI report (details supplied) and in particular the high rate of deprivation being experienced by lone-parent households and persons with a disability; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 8465/18 asked on 20 Feb 2018 - Income Inequality)

Deputy Willie O’Dea: I raise this question in view of a recent ESRI study of 11 European countries which found a significant gap in the rate of persistent deprivation experienced by lone parents and adults with a disability, as opposed to the rate suffered by other adults. The gap in regard to lone parents is 26% in Ireland, which is the worst of the 11 countries and compares with an average of 5% to 20% elsewhere. The gap in regard to adults with disability is 14% here compared to 5% to 11% e...

38. Deputy Willie O’Dea asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection her plans to deal with the issue of bogus self-employment; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 8466/18 asked on 20 Feb 2018 - Employment Rights)

Deputy Willie O’Dea: The Minister understands the concept of bogus self-employment. I have been approached by groups of people on many occasions - one as late as last week - who are working as employees in the normal way who were suddenly told by their employers that from the following week they would be self-employed. That has certain devastating consequences, obviously, for the employees themselves and also for the Exchequer. I am trying to ascertain what is the Government’s policy on this....

170. Deputy Willie O’Dea asked the Minister for Education and Skills the timeframe to end pay inequality for teachers; when a decision will issue on the pay review; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 6676/18 asked on 13 Feb 2018 - Teachers’ Remuneration)

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Richard Bruton): The public service agreements have allowed a programme of pay restoration for public servants to start. I negotiated together with my colleague the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform, a 15-22% pay increase for new teachers. The agreements to date have restored an estimated 75% of the difference in pay for more recently recruited teachers and deliver full equality at later points in the scale.
As a result of the changes I negotiat...

388. Deputy Willie O’Dea asked the Minister for Health the steps that have been taken to enable persons who work as home helps to join the HSE pension scheme; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 7004/18 asked on 13 Feb 2018 - Home Help Service)

Minister for Health (Deputy Simon Harris): As access to the HSE Superannuation Scheme is managed by the employer, I have asked the Executive to respond directly to the Deputy.
 ...

622. Deputy Willie O’Dea asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection to outline her plans to review the process with the back-to-education allowance in view of the fact that a person has to apply each year for a back-to-education allowance if doing a four-year course despite the fact that previously the allowance granted the person the full four years of study; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 6824/18 asked on 13 Feb 2018 - Back to Education Allowance Eligibility)

Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection (Deputy Regina Doherty): The objective of the Back to Education Allowance (BTEA) is to assist those who are distant from the labour market to acquire the necessary education to improve their chances of becoming independent of the social welfare system. Administration of the BTEA by my Department is aligned with the student support schemes under the Department of Education and Skills.
The Allowance enables social welfare customers in receipt ...

201. Deputy Willie O’Dea asked the Minister for Health his plans to provide at home palliative care between 6 p.m. and 6 a.m. for persons that are terminally ill in order to allow them the dignity to remain at home; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 6225/18 asked on 07 Feb 2018 - Palliative Care Services Provision)

Minister of State at the Department of Health (Deputy Jim Daly): The Night Nursing Service is operated by the Irish Cancer Society for cancer patients and by the Irish Hospice Foundation for non-cancer patients. This service plays a vital role in ensuring quality and continuity of care at the end of life stage, and enables people who wish to die at home to do so. 
Night Nursing is accessed by referral through community-based specialist palliative care services and GPs. A terminally ill person...

268. Deputy Willie O’Dea asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs if her attention has been drawn to the fact that a number of programmes which involve giving assistance to vulnerable young persons and special needs children on an occasional basis, which is done without payment and within a school setting, have been discontinued due to the fact the host organisations have incorrectly interpreted the National Vetting Bureau (Children and Vulnerable Persons) Acts, 2012 to 2016, as applying in this situation; the steps she will take to clarify the situation to enable these useful and successful interactions to resume (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 6130/18 asked on 07 Feb 2018 - Legislative Measures)

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs (Deputy Katherine Zappone): I assume that the Deputy is referring to the National Vetting Bureau (Children and Vulnerable Persons) Acts 2012 to 2016.  I have no responsibility in relation to this legislation, which is under the remit of my colleague, the Minister for Justice and Equality.
 ...

290. Deputy Willie O’Dea asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the specific measures that have been taken since the action plan for jobless households was published in September 2017; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 6246/18 asked on 07 Feb 2018 - Labour Activation Measures)

Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection (Deputy Regina Doherty): The Action Plan for Jobless Households is an example of one of the many measures that Government is implementing with a view to assisting people and families to become work ready and gain employment. Adults in jobless households are not all unemployed; they include people who are not seeking work for reasons such as disability or caring responsibilities. The plan therefore sets out to extend activation services to p...

106. Deputy Willie O’Dea asked the Taoiseach the number of jobless households, by county, in tabular form. (Question 5859/18 asked on 06 Feb 2018 - Unemployment Data)

Minister of State at the Department of the Taoiseach (Deputy Joe McHugh): The exact information requested by the Deputy is not available. 
The CSO Labour Force Survey (LFS), which replaced the Quarterly National Household Survey (QNHS) in Q3 2017, is the official source of data for the jobless household indicator in the State. 
The most recent LFS figures available are for Q3 2017.
The indicator “People aged 18 - 59 years living in jobless households” is calculated as the share of persons aged 1...

107. Deputy Willie O’Dea asked the Taoiseach the rate of youth unemployment in each region in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 5861/18 asked on 06 Feb 2018 - Youth Unemployment Data)

Minister of State at the Department of the Taoiseach (Deputy Joe McHugh): The Labour Force Survey (LFS), which replaced the Quarterly National Household Survey (QNHS) in Q3 2017, is the official source of estimates of unemployment in the State. The most recent LFS figures available are for Q3 2017.
The following table shows the unemployment (ILO) rates for persons aged 15 – 24 years classified by NUTS-3 regions in Q3 2017:
Unemployment (ILO) rates for persons aged 15 - 24 years classified by NUT...

598. Deputy Willie O’Dea asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection her plans to put in place protection for persons due to retire in the period 2020-30 to ensure they are not financially disadvantaged and do not receive a reduced rate of pension when the total contributions approach replaces the yearly average approach for entitlement to a contributory pension in 2020; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 5858/18 asked on 06 Feb 2018 - State Pensions Reform)

Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection (Deputy Regina Doherty): A policy to introduce the Total Contributions Approach (TCA) to pensions calculation was first adopted by Government in the National Pensions Framework in 2010, as was the decision to assess all new pensioners under this approach from around 2020.
The Government at that time was aware that there would be some people who would benefit, and some people who would have a lower rate of entitlement as a result of TCA, but t...

599. Deputy Willie O’Dea asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the way in which and when she plans to unwind cuts made to lone parents’ payments during the recession as reported recently; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 5860/18 asked on 06 Feb 2018 - One-Parent Family Payment Payments)

Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection (Deputy Regina Doherty): Since taking up my role as Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection last year, I have made it clear that my priorities include working families, and in particular, lone parents.
In Budget 2018, I continued to improve the situation for lone parents through an increase to the income disregard of the One-Parent Family Payment (OFP) and the Jobseeker’s Transitional Payment (JST) from €110 a week to €130 a wee...

196. Deputy Willie O’Dea asked the Minister for Health if his attention has been drawn to the fact that the terms of report No. 42 with regard to higher remuneration in public service was not applied to a small number of former health board officials that transferred to the HSE in 2005, some of whom are still employed by the HSE, whilst others have retired; the justification for this; the action he plans to take in this regard; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 4719/18 asked on 31 Jan 2018 - HSE Staff Remuneration)

Minister for Health (Deputy Simon Harris): At the time of the publication of Report 42 of the Review Body on Higher Remuneration in the Public Service, there was a lack of agreement around the application of recommended pay increases to different categories of managers in the HSE. As a result, the then Minister for Health did not sanction the payment of these increases. Subsequently, due to the severe economic situation in Ireland, in July 2008, the Government decided to cap all increases at ...

286. Deputy Willie O’Dea asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs if her attention has been drawn to the fact that the board of a company (details supplied), which indirectly receives a substantial amount of funding from her Department, is refusing to recognise a trade union the majority of its employees wish to join; her views on whether it is appropriate that this company should be receiving public funding in those circumstances; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 4744/18 asked on 31 Jan 2018 - Trade Union Recognition)

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs (Deputy Katherine Zappone): The company in question is under contract with the Department of Children and Youth Affairs to conduct the pilot Bail Supervision Scheme following a successful public tender. This Department has no role in the internal operations of the company.
 ...

295. Deputy Willie O’Dea asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection when a decision will be made on an application for an invalidity pension by a person (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 4942/18 asked on 31 Jan 2018 - Invalidity Pension Applications)

Minister of State at the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection (Deputy Finian McGrath): The lady referred to has been awarded invalidity pension with effect from the 19 October 2017. Payment will issue to her nominated post office on the 15 February 2018. Any arrears due from 19 October 2017 to 14 February 2018 (less any overlapping social welfare payment) will issue in due course. The lady in question was notified of this decision on the 29 January 2018.
I hope this clarifie...

611. Deputy Willie O’Dea asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the number of persons negatively affected by changes introduced to the contributory pension in 2012; the number of persons expected to benefit from the new total contributions approach and home caring credit; the number expected to benefit by gender; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 4454/18 asked on 30 Jan 2018 - Pensions Reform)

Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection (Deputy Regina Doherty): There were 46,677 people affected by the rate band changes in September 2012. It is estimated that two-thirds of these will see their rate of payment increased by the Total Contributions Approach (TCA) introduced on 23 January. The precise number cannot be known at this time as there may be inflows from other schemes, such as the State Pension (non-contributory). Equally, it is not possible at this juncture to give...

612. Deputy Willie O’Dea asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the estimated full-year cost of the new total contributions approach and home caring credit; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 4455/18 asked on 30 Jan 2018 - Pensions Reform)

Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection (Deputy Regina Doherty): On 23 January, the Government agreed to a proposal that will allow pensioners affected by the 2012 changes in rate bands to have their pension entitlement calculated by a new “Total Contributions Approach” (TCA) which will include up to 20 years of a new HomeCaring credit. This approach is expected to significantly benefit many people, particularly women, whose work history includes an extended period of time outside...

613. Deputy Willie O’Dea asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection if the total contributions approach that is due to come into effect for all pensioners in 2020 will be modelled differently from the one announced for the 2012 pension anomalies; if this will affect those who will be able to avail of the new total contributions approach as a result of the 2012 anomalies; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 4456/18 asked on 30 Jan 2018 - Pensions Reform)

Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection (Deputy Regina Doherty): On 23 January, the Government agreed to a proposal that will allow pensioners affected by the 2012 changes in rate bands to have their pension entitlement calculated by a new “Total Contributions Approach” (TCA) which will include up to 20 years of a new HomeCaring credit. This approach is expected to significantly benefit many people, particularly women, whose work history includes an extended period of time outside...

614. Deputy Willie O’Dea asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the number of persons in each county who have been subject to sanctions in each of the years 2012 to 2017 and to date in 2018, in tabular form; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 4457/18 asked on 30 Jan 2018 - Jobseeker’s Payments)

Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection (Deputy Regina Doherty): The numbers of persons in each county who had a Penalty Rate applied to them in the years 2012 to 2017 are set out in the following table. Figures to date in 2018 are not yet available. 
The figures are based on the location of Intreo Centres within each county. An Intreo Centre may cover part or all of a county. Its catchment area may also include parts of more than one county. 
Number of persons who had a penalt...

207. Deputy Willie O’Dea asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the reason a disability allowance payment has not been made to a person (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 3757/18 asked on 25 Jan 2018 - Disability Allowance Eligibility)

Minister of State at the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection (Deputy Finian McGrath): Based on the evidence supplied in support of their application for disability allowance (DA), this person’s application was disallowed on the grounds that the medical qualifying condition was not satisfied. They were notified in writing of this decision on 20 May 2017.
The person concerned requested an appeal of the decision and submitted additional medical evidence for consideration. The So...

304. Deputy Willie O’Dea asked the Minister for Health his plans to put ambulance service staff on the same footing as other uniformed services from the point of view of pay, conditions and pensions; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 3293/18 asked on 23 Jan 2018 - Ambulance Service Staff)

Minister for Health (Deputy Simon Harris): The Public Service Stability Agreement includes a commitment for an exercise to be conducted by the Public Service Pay Commission on the issue of recruitment and retention in the public service. The Commission identified recruitment difficulties in the case of some specific and specialist groups across the public service. This included certain areas the health sector, including the ambulance service. 
The Commission has commenced the second phase of it...

600. Deputy Willie O’Dea asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the estimated cost of increasing all social insurance payments by €5, €10, €15, €20 and €25, respectively, by payment type and amount taking into account increases announced in budget 2018, in tabular form; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 3185/18 asked on 23 Jan 2018 - Departmental Expenditure)

Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection (Deputy Regina Doherty): I propose to take Questions Nos. 600 and 601 together.
The costings sought by Deputy O’Dea are detailed in the following tables.
Table 1: Full year cost of varying amounts in all weekly social insurance payments 
 Scheme €5 increase €10 increase €15 increase €20 increase €25 increase €m €m €m €m €m Social Insurance Schemes Pension Payments State Pension (Contributory) 102.29 ...

601. Deputy Willie O’Dea asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the estimated cost of increasing all social assistance payments by €5, €10, €15, €20 and €25, respectively, by payment type and amount taking into account increases announced in budget 2018, in tabular form; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 3186/18 asked on 23 Jan 2018 - Departmental Expenditure)

Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection (Deputy Regina Doherty): I propose to take Questions Nos. 600 and 601 together.
The costings sought by Deputy O’Dea are detailed in the following tables.
Table 1: Full year cost of varying amounts in all weekly social insurance payments 
 Scheme €5 increase €10 increase €15 increase €20 increase €25 increase €m €m €m €m €m Social Insurance Schemes Pension Payments State Pension (Contributory) 102.29 ...

602. Deputy Willie O’Dea asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the estimated cost of increasing maternity benefit by one to six weeks, respectively, taking into account increases announced in budget 2018, in tabular form; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 3187/18 asked on 23 Jan 2018 - Maternity Benefit Data)

Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection (Deputy Regina Doherty): Maternity Benefit is paid by my Department and is based on payment of PRSI contributions while working. The current entitlement to paid maternity leave is 26 weeks. The following table estimates the cost of increasing the duration for which maternity benefit is paid by one to six weeks. 
These estimates are based on the cost for a full year and assume that any increase in duration is implemented from the beginning o...