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FAQs: Employment and redundancy

Q.   Can a person living in the South and claiming Jobseekers benefit take up part-time work in Northern Ireland and continue to claim Jobseekers benefit in the South?

A.    YES.  But it is essential to get confirmation from your local welfare office in advance of taking the job in Northern Ireland.  Please refer to the following: EU Recommendation No U1 of 12 June 2009  – “Where persons residing in the territory of a Member State are eligible, under the legislation applicable to them, to receive unemployment benefits, they should be allowed to pursue a part-time professional or trade activity in the territory of another Member State, while retaining entitlement to unemployment benefits provided by the State in which they reside.”

If issues arise about payment of National Insurance in the North it can be sorted out by the Special Collections Section which is based in Waterford.   The office will forward a Form A1 on which you should cite the above EU recommendation:  The Special Collections Section will then consult with the Northern Authorities and issue a certificate to the effect that the person remains subject to Southern legislation.  Contact address:  Special Collections/CES, Dept of Social Protection, Cork Road, Waterford. [Last updated Nov 2010]

Q:  I have been unemployed for over a month and I have being living in Northern Ireland during that time in rented accommodation.  Should I apply for unemployment benefit in the north or the south?

With regards to claiming job seeker benefits there are special rules for frontier / cross border workers:

  • Frontier workers who are wholly/fully unemployed, e.g. made completely redundant, receive benefits in the state in which they live.
  • Frontier workers who are partially or intermittently out of work (e.g. reduced working hours) receive unemployment benefits in the state where they were last employed.

Under aggregation rules previous Social Insurance paid in other European countries can be combined with PRSI or National Insurance Contributions to help qualify for social welfare benefits.[Last updated Sept 2011]

Q:  I live in Northern Ireland and started work in the south several months ago.  I have been ill for the past few weeks and have no income.  Do I claim sick pay from the North or the South?

A: Under EU regulations it is generally the case that the country where you last paid social insurance is liable to consider your entitlement to sickness benefits.

For example a cross border worker resident in Northern Ireland who becomes ill when working in the South can apply for Illness Benefit from the Department of Social Protection.  Under aggregation rules previous Social Insurance paid in other European countries can be combined with PRSI or National Insurance Contributions to help qualify for social welfare benefits.

However, if you have not paid sufficient PRSI or National Insurance Contributions in recent years you may not be entitled to any Illness Benefit or any other contribution based payment from the South. In this case it would be advisable to contact your local Citizens Advice Bureaux for a Benefit Check to see if you are eligible for any benefits in the North. [Last updated Sept 2011]

Q:  My husband has worked in Northern Ireland for the past 4 years and we both live in Ireland, I also work in Ireland.  Can I claim my husband’s Irish tax free allowance, or can he claim credits now that we are married.  With the sterling to euro rate so poor at the moment we are having to consider wheather we can afford for him to earn sterling or if he needs to find a job in Ireland so any extra income/credits we are entitled to would be a great help.

A:  As cross border worker your husband is required to declare his foreign earnings by completing a Self Assessed tax return to the Irish Revenue Commissioner each year. He is entitled to claim Trans-border Workers Relief, which effectively means he will not have any further tax to pay in the South unless he has other income from another Irish source or is jointly assessed for tax with a spouse.

So if you opt for the Married Persons tax credit it is likely that your joint income will be assessed and further tax may be due to the Irish Revenue Commissioner. It would be advisable to contact your Local Tax Office for guidance how much that additional tax might be.

Q:  I live in Northern Ireland (NI) and am soon to start a job in Ireland but shall continue to live in NI.  How does me working in Ireland affect my state pension (in NI) in years to come?

A: EU regulations allow cross border workers to combine social insurance contributions paid in other EU countries. So if you work across the border your PRSI and National Insurance payments (from previous employments) can be combined to help you qualify for a UK State Pension.

Depending on the length of time you remain employed in the South you could potentially be entitled to a pension from both jurisdictions. EU directives state that cross border workers who have paid social insurance contributions in two or more member states may be entitled to a pension or partial pension from each country awarded on a pro rata basis. This will be decided when they reach State Pension age, taking into account their country of residence.  [Last updated Sept 2011]

Q:  I am a frontier worker living in Northern Ireland (NI) and commuting to work in Ireland. Do I still need to pay National Insurance contributions in NI?

A:  No, you are only required to pay social insurance contributions in one country at a time.

You can pay voluntary contributions if you wish to safeguard your UK pension or your entitlement to contribution based benefits should you return to live in Northern Ireland. Further information is available on www.hmrc.gov.uk/nic.  However, before you pay voluntary contributions you should note that EU regulations allow cross border workers to combine social insurance contributions paid in other EU countries in order to help qualify for benefits and pensions. [Last updated Sept 2011]

Q.  I live in Northern Ireland but have been employed in Ireland for about a year; previously I have only ever worked in Northern Ireland. I am concerned that I may not be entitled to contributory sickness or retirement benefits as I am not paying National Insurance in Northern Ireland, can you provide clarification on these issues?

A:  Under EU regulations it is generally the case that the country in which you last paid social insurance is liable to consider your entitlement to a sickness benefit.  Therefore, if you become sick whilst working in Ireland, you may qualify for Illness Benefit or other sickness benefits administered by the Department of Social Protection (DSP) in Ireland.

You can combine National Insurance contributions from your previous employment in Northern Ireland with PRSI (Pay-Related social Insurance) from your employment in Ireland to allow you to meet the necessary contribution conditions for these DSP benefits. [Last updated September 2011]

Q: I live in Northern Ireland and work in Ireland.  My employer has advised me that I am not entitled to sick pay if I take time of work sick, is this correct?

A:  There is no statutory obligation on an employer to pay an employee sick pay in the event of absence from work due to illness in  Ireland. If you become sick whilst working in Ireland, you may qualify for Illness Benefit or other sickness benefits administered by the Department of Social Protection (DSFA).

You can combine National Insurance contributions from your previous employment in Northern Ireland with PRSI (Pay-Related social Insurance) from your employment in Ireland to allow you to meet the necessary contribution conditions for these DSFA benefits. [Last updated September 2011]

Q:  I currently live in Ireland and receive Job Seekers Benefit.  I am moving to Northern Ireland in order to look for work.  Can I continue to receive this benefit when I move to Northern Ireland and are there any steps I need to take in order to do so?

A:  Yes you can continue to receive Jobseekers Benefit, but only for a limited time.

A person in receipt of Irish Jobseekers Benefit for at least 4 weeks may transfer the Jobseekers Benefit claim to a country covered by EC Regulations for up to 3 months (78 Days) if the person is looking for work.  You must apply via your Social Welfare Office prior to moving and you must register as a jobseeker with the social security authorities in the other country within 7 days of your departure from Ireland.

The 13-week period of payment may be extended to 6 months in exceptional circumstances. Also you may now transfer your benefit more than once while you are unemployed provided you do not exceed the maximum period of 13 weeks (6 months if extended). If you do not find work, you must return to the first country within 3 months, otherwise you will lose your right to unemployment benefit.  [Last updated September 2011]

Q:  I live in Northern Ireland (NI) and I am considering moving with my husband and child to live in Donegal.  My husband will continue to work in NI.  At present I am receiving Incapacity Benefit in NI and was wondering if I would loose this payment along with our Child Benefit and Child Tax Credit if we move to Ireland?  Also can we continue to access NHS services?

A:  Incapacity Benefit is an exportable benefit under EU legislation therefore you can continue to receive it if you move to Ireland.  As your husband will continue to work in Northern Ireland the UK is the “competent state” for the payment of family benefits therefore you should continue to receive your Child Benefit and Child Tax Credit.

In terms of healthcare, whilst your husband remains employed in NI he is entitled to access the NHS in NI on a routine basis; this right does not extend to you or your children.  However you are also entitled to apply for an Irish medical card which would entitle the family to free public healthcare in Ireland.  [Last update September 2011]

Q:  I currently work and live in Northern Ireland, however am planning on moving to the Republic of Ireland next month as I am getting married.  I will continue to work in Northern Ireland and am wondering if I need to close my savings accounts, credit cards etc. once I move to the Republic?

A:  Generally you should be able to retain these but I would suggest you contact each individual provider, i.e. bank/building society/credit card company in case there are any implications in terms of you moving out of the UK.  [Last updated September 2011]

Q:  I have been living in Ireland and commuting to work in Northern Ireland (NI). I have recently been made redundant. Am I entitled to receive any unemployment benefits in NI?

A:  Under EU social security rules you are regarded as a ‘frontier worker’.  As you have been made redundant, your country of residence is ‘competent’ to pay you a social insurance based unemployment payment under EU rules relating to frontier workers.

You should therefore make a claim for Jobseekers Benefit in your local social welfare office in Ireland.  You must have a paid sufficient social insurancecontribtutions in recent years to qualifiy.  This can be National Insurance, PRSI or a combination of both. If you do not qualify for Jobseekers Benefit you may, subject to a means test, qualify for Jobseekers Allowance from social welfare in Ireland instead.