Small Step to Make Work Pay:
One-Parent Family Payment and Income Disregard
(Dublin, Wednesday 5 November 2014) One Family – Ireland’s organisation for people parenting alone and sharing parenting – welcomes Tánaiste Joan Burton’s announcement that she will retain the level of the income disregard at €90 for those parents in work and in receipt of the One-Parent Family Payment (OFP), responding positively to One Family’s vociferous calls for its retention following a series of cuts impacting lone parents on social welfare in Budget 2012.
Stuart Duffin, One Family Director of Policy & Programmes, states: “This is a modest investment in poor working parents, helping to make work pay and helping to reduce child poverty. This responsive action by the Tánaiste recognises that many families require two salaries to meet expensive childcare and accommodation costs, something which a family on one income finds extremely difficult to do.”
He continues, “This small step can have a big impact as it will allow parents to stay in part-time work thus keeping their connection with the labour market and making it more likely that s/he will be able to progress to full-time employment when family life permits. We have seen parents have to leave part-time work since the income disregard was cut as work just didn’t pay for them anymore. Keeping the income disregard at this modest level will assist government policy of activating OFP recipients into the labour market.”
Karen Kiernan, One Family CEO explains, “Prior to Budget 2012, 60% of those on the OFP were in work and today that has halved to around 33%. This is a reality which One Family does not want to see perpetuated. To maintain the income disregard at the €90 level will cost €8.3m in 2015 and approximately €15m in 2016 which is a small sum given what has been cut from individual one-parent families’ incomes over the past few years.
She continues, “Income disregards offer an immediate incentive and instant return for parents. However, this is just the first step in economic and social policy working together. More needs to be done to deliver high quality employment, affordable part-time education and appropriate training for those parenting alone so they can move out of consistent poverty. We look forward to working with the Department and the Tánaiste to ensure that the 39,000 parents coming off the OFP in July 2015 have access to quality information, advice, supports and opportunities tailored to their needs so that government policy will be a success instead of a failure.”
Note on Income Disregard
Parents can work and receive the One-Parent Family Payment. The amount of this payment depends on their weekly means. Currently the first €90 of parents gross weekly earnings is not taken into account (or disregarded). This means that parents can earn up to €90 per week and qualify for the full One-Parent Family Payment. Half the remainder of a parent’s gross earnings up to €425 per week is assessed as means. If parents earn between €90 and €425 per week they may qualify for a reduced payment. SW 19 Social Welfare Rates of Payment booklet shows the amount of OPF payable with a parent’s means. Social insurance contributions, superannuation/PRSA contributions and trade union subscriptions are not taken into account in the assessment of earnings. However, gross earnings must be below €425 before any deductions are allowed.
About One Family
One Family was founded in 1972 as Cherish and is Ireland’s leading organisation for one-parent families offering support, information and services to all members of all one-parent families, to those sharing parenting, to those experiencing an unplanned pregnancy and to professionals working with one-parent families. Children are at the centre of One Family’s work and the organisation helps all the adults in their lives, including mums, dads, grandparents, step-parents, new partners and other siblings, offering a holistic model of specialist family support services. These services include the lo-call askonefamily national helpline on 1890 62 22 12, counselling, and provision of training courses for parents and for professionals. One Family also promotes Family Day and presents the Family Day Festival every May, an annual celebration of the diversity of families in Ireland today (www.familyday.ie). For further information, visit www.onefamily.ie.
Available for Interview
Stuart Duffin, Director of Policy and Programmes | t: 01 662 9212 or 087 0622023
Karen Kiernan, CEO | t: 01 662 9212 or 086 850 9191