Written answers

Wednesday, 20 May 2020

Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection

Working Family Payment Eligibility

Norma Foley (Kerry, Fianna Fail)
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1253. To ask the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection if she will review the requirement to work for 38 hours or more per fortnight to be eligible for the working family payment (details supplied). [6343/20]

Photo of Regina DohertyRegina Doherty (Meath East, Fine Gael)
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The Working Family Payment is an in-work support which provides an income top-up for employees on low earnings with children.  Working Family Payment is designed to prevent in-work poverty for low paid workers with child dependents and to offer a financial incentive to take-up employment.  The estimated annual expenditure on Working Family Payment in 2019 is approximately €397.2 million.  As of February 2020 the support is paid to approximately 52,469 families in respect of some 117,940 children.

It important that Working Family Payment does not inadvertently subsidise unsustainably low earnings or encourage employers to offer minimal hours of employment.  The longer term goal of Working Family Payment, as an incentive to take up and remain in work, could be compromised if the nature of the work taken up is not sustainable.

There are a number of supports currently available from the Department in cases where an individual may not be eligible for Working Family Payment include the Short Term Work Support and Jobseekers Allowance, which allows an individual to work up to three days without losing their benefit.  The Department regularly updates information regarding the supports available during Covid-19 and details of these can be found at .

Reducing the “hours worked” requirement for Working Family Payment would also have significant expenditure implications which are difficult to quantify and would have to be considered in an overall budgetary context.

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