Case study: Jobseeker’s Benefit and systematic short time work

Michael has been working for the same company for over 10 years. The company has run into difficulties and 12 months ago it temporarily reduced the number of days employees work each week from 5 days to 3 days. When this happened Michael went to his social welfare local office where he was assessed for Jobseeker’s Benefit (JB).

As Michael’s number of days at work had been reduced temporarily from 5 days per week to 3 days per week he was assessed as a systematic short time worker. This means that he is considered unemployed for 2 days a week. He is paid 2/5th of the weekly rate of JB for these 2 days.

Michael has been getting Jobseeker’s Benefit for a year and wants to know how long he can continue to get Jobseeker’s Benefit?


The number of days a person can claim Jobseeker’s Benefit (JB) depends on a number of factors. Since Michael has over 260 PRSI contributions he is entitled to 234 days JB. He is claiming 2 days JB every week. Divide 234 by the number of days he claims JB each week to find the potential number of weeks he could claim JB.

234 ÷ 2 = 117 weeks

This means, he could potentially claim JB for 117 weeks, that is, over 2 years. For the last 12 months (52 weeks) Michael has been getting 2 days Jobseeker’s Benefit for systematic short time work. To find out how many days JB he has used to date, multiply the number of days JB he gets each week by the number of weeks he is claiming JB.

2 x 52 = 104

He has used up 104 days of his Jobseeker’s Benefit.

To find the number of days he has left on his JB claim, subtract the number of days he has used (104 days) from the maximum number he can claim (234 days).

234 – 104 = 130 days

This means, he has 130 days (or 65 weeks) of Jobseeker’s Benefit remaining if he continues to be assessed as a systematic short-time worker. However, 2 years is not short term and Michael is currently being assessed as temporarily laid off from work i.e. as a systematic short-time worker.

The Department of Social Protection (DSP) will reassess a systematic short time worker’s JB claim if it goes on for an extended period. If DSP decide that it is unlikely he will return to full-time work with that company in the short term, he will be reassessed as a part-time worker and will have to meet the conditions for JB to continue to get JB.

DSP uses a 5-day week for systematic short time working and a 6-day week for part-time working (note that this is different from the payment week which is 5 days for both). If Michael is reassessed as a part-time worker and continues to work 3 days per week for his employer, he will be considered to be unemployed for 3 days a week rather than 2 days a week (this means that his JB claim will end sooner).

If he is reassessed as a part-time worker and continues his current work pattern and continues to qualify for Jobseeker’s Benefit, he will have 130 days of JB remaining. Divide130 by the number of days he claims JB each week to find the number of weeks left on his JB claim.

130 ÷ 3 = 43 weeks (approx)

Page edited: 19 November 2014