Fine Gael TD for Mayo, John O’Mahony, has received confirmation from Minister for Social Protection, Joan Burton, that part-time fire-fighters will now be entitled to jobseeker's payments. Up to now, many retained fire-fighters were deemed ineligible for jobseekers on the grounds that they were not 'available for and seeking work'.
Minister Burton, in response to representations made by Deputy O’ Mahony, has confirmed that she intends to legislate for this anomaly in the upcoming Social Welfare and Pensions Bill which will finally provide clarity to this long-standing problem.
“Minister Burton has confirmed to me that the Social Welfare and Pensions Bill 2013 will provide that any days of employment as a fire-fighter will not reduce the individual's jobseeker's benefit weekly entitlement. If they work five days as a fire-fighter they will also receive five days of jobseeker's benefit. However, if they have other employment aside from fire-fighting, then their jobseeker's benefit entitlement will reduce for days worked in their non fire-fighting job. As such, the legislation will result in no losses being imposed on existing retained fire-fighters who are in receipt of a jobseeker's payments.
Having taken up the case of part-time fire-fighters who have been disallowed jobseeker's benefits, I want to welcome this news and commend Minister Burton for her efforts.”