A person must either be available for employment or be exempt from availability. He must show to the satisfaction of the relevant officers of the Department that he or she is willing and able to take up an offer suitable full-time employment. If a person imposes unreasonable restrictions on the nature of employment, hours, remuneration, duration, location and conditions of employment, he may be deemed not to be available for employment.
The Department has regard to a person’s skills, qualification and experience, period of unemployment, availability of vacancies within traveling distance in appraising whether there is suitable fulltime employment available. If a person places unreasonable restrictions on his ability to obtain suitable employment, he may be deemed not unemployed.
If a person were to move to a particular location that made it difficult to secure work of a suitable type, he might not be regarded as genuinely available to take up work. If, however, there are good reasons for relocation or it is done under a formal program for housing reasons, then he may be accepted as still available for employment.
A person may be required to participate in a course of education, training or development considered appropriate by social welfare office, relative to his training needs or his personal circumstances.
If a person is out of work for a relatively short time while seeking alternative employment in his previous employment type, he may be in a position to show he is available for work. If, however, he is unable to obtain employment in his former employment role or type, he may be required to be available for a wider range and type of employment having regard to his qualification, experience and other factors.
A person who is not entitled to work may not be regarded as available for work. This may arise in relation to a person who requires an employment permit but does not hold one.
The application must show positively, if required ,that he is taking active steps to obtain suitable employment in the circumstances. He must show that he has taken reasonable steps to obtain offers of employment. He may be obliged to show responses to advertisement, applications for employment to those who would appear to be in a position to offer employment. He may be obliged to show evidence of seeking information in relation to employment, employment agencies and prospective employers.
The applicant may be obliged to undertake opportunities for retraining or training. He may be obliged to show that he has consulted with and taken advice from the relevant training and other authorities as appropriate. This may include taking steps to become self-employed if appropriate.
The step and efforts undertaken by the person must be reasonable in the circumstances having regard to the nature of his previous employment skills, qualifications, previous efforts, vacancies and availability of work and , duration of unemployment.
A person is not unemployed if he does any paid or remunerative work at a day unless the work could have been done in addition to his usual employment outside his ordinary working hours. Remuneration must not exceed €12.70unless the person has at least a 117 in contribution in the last three contribution periods.
The application must show he has suffered a substantial e loss of employment in a six day consecutive period and that his earnings are reduced as a consequence of the loss of employment. The officers will consider the normal level of employment and remuneration and compare it with the position that arises.
The requirement for a substantial loss of employment does not apply to persons in casual employment. A person is in casual employment if he normally works for period less than a week, the number of days and the days of the week of which he is employed varies with the level of activity of the employers’ business and on termination of the period, he has no assurance or being reemployed with the employer. The deciding officer will decide whether a person is in casual employment taking account of the previous pattern in the preceding six months or another period if appropriate.
A person may be deemed unemployed notwithstanding that he is contracted to be available for work on days on which he did not actually work. The social welfare appeals office will look at the facts of the situation to determine whether there was, in fact, limited employment or de facto unemployment and the claimant shows he was available for alternative work and was seeking it. Where the claimant is not available for alternative work and there is considerable employment, then he is likely to be held employed for the above test.
There are a number of basis upon which a person who would otherwise qualify for a Jobseeker’s Benefit is disqualified. A person resident outside the State is disqualified subject to European Union law on social security. The first two weeks of a period of holidays and certain other circumstances including representing Ireland in an amateur capacity, force majeure and other special circumstances may be allowed as exceptions to the disqualification.
A person is disqualified while in lawful custody. Persons on community employment schemes are disqualified.
A person may be disqualified for up to nine weeks of unemployment if he has lost his job as a result of his own misconduct or has voluntarily left without just cause.
A person who becomes redundant under 55 years and receives a redundancy payment of more than €50,000 is similarly disqualified for up to nine weeks.
A person may be disqualified for up to nine weeks if he has refused to suitable offer of employment. He may be disqualified if he without good cause, he has refused or failed to avail himself of an opportunity for training provided by training service that is suitable to his case. A person may be disqualified if he has failed or neglected reasonable opportunity to obtain suitable employment.
Where a person loses his employment as a result of a work stoppage or trade dispute in his place of employment, he is disqualified during the work stoppage. This does not apply where he becomes bona fide employed in the occupation he usually practises or has become engaged in other occupation. The disqualification does not apply to persons not participating in or directly interested in the trade dispute that caused the stoppage.
The social welfare tribunal considers cases of where a finding has been made by deciding or appeals officer that the dispute disqualification applies. The person may apply to the tribunal for the termination that he is entitled to the benefit notwithstanding the disqualification. The tribunal may have regard to the reasonableness of the employer and employees in relation to the strike and may allow the benefit.
A person attending a course of study other than in certain exceptional and prescribed circumstances is disqualified from Jobseeker’s Benefit while attending the course.
The following periods are excluded
- three months immediately following completion or leaving of second level education or the Leaving Cert whichever is later;
- the duration of the academic year;
- or period following completion of one academic year, other than final year until the following academic year.
There is an exception to disqualification, where a person is a mature student within the higher educational grants legislation and certain cases where persons between 18 and 21 are deemed to be available for work notwithstanding that they are attending approved courses of education.