Two employees from the same construction firm in Monaghan are laid off; one lives in Monaghan, the other in Fermanagh. For the first three months of lay off both workers are paid jobseeker’s benefits from the South. They both have a family and their payments of Job Seekers Benefit based on their social insurance work out at over €330 per week (2008 figure) during this period.
After the three months they are both made redundant, the employee resident in Monaghan potentially remains entitled to Job Seekers Benefit for another twelve months, while the employee resident in Northern Ireland loses his entitlement to Job Seekers Benefit once redundancy has been confirmed. This is because the UK then becomes responsible for paying him a contributory unemployment benefit under EU rules relating to frontier workers.
This employee then claims contribution based jobseeker’s allowance in Northern Ireland where the maximum weekly allowance for him and his partner £94.95 (2008 figure)
Therefore if a firm is closing down or reducing its work-force in the Republic of Ireland, frontier workers from Northern Ireland will be worse off than their former colleagues who live in the South, when they become unemployed.