People in employment pay contributions to the Social Insurance Fund. The contribution you pay depends on your earnings and occupation and therefore it is called a Pay Related Social Insurance (PRSI) contribution. Some people who have unearned income are also liable for PRSI. There are currently 11 different PRSI classes. They are A, B, C, D, E, H, J, K, M, S and P - see 'Further information' below. The social insurance payments to which you may become entitled depend on the PRSI class you are in.
Each PRSI class is in turn divided into different subclasses. These subclasses do not affect your entitlements under the social insurance system. They only relate to the amount of PRSI which you or your employer must pay.
PRSI is calculated on your reckonable pay. Reckonable pay is the gross money pay plus notional pay (or benefit in kind) if applicable. There is no PRSI relief for employers on pension contributions made by employees. There is some PRSI relief on pension contributions paid by employers.
A wide range of payments are available to people who have paid social insurance. If you are not a Class A contributor you are not entitled to the full range of social insurance payments. This is because you are paying less towards social insurance than a Class A contributor. In certain cases, if your income falls below a certain amount you do not have to pay a social insurance contribution, however, you will still be covered by social insurance because your employer must pay social insurance for you. More information is available in our document Employer's duty to pay social insurance.
Your working week may not be the same as the PRSI contribution week. The PRSI contribution week starts on 1 January each year. Week one is the period from 1 January to 7 January, week two is from 8 January to 14 January and so on. For 2014, the contribution week starts on Wednesday and ends on Tuesday. For 2015, it starts on Thursday and ends on Tuesday. The contribution week can affect the social insurance cover of part-time workers and people job-sharing.
Most people pay Class A PRSI. It applies to people in industrial, commercial and service type employment who are employed under a contract of service with a reckonable pay of €38 or more per week from employment. It also includes civil and public servants recruited from 6 April 1995.
Class A does not apply to people in insurable employment and over 66 years of age. They are insurable under Class J.
The amount of PRSI you pay will depend on your earnings and the class you are insured under.
Employees insured under Class A:
If you are earning less than €352 gross per week (before tax is deducted), you will not pay any PRSI. This does not mean that you are not getting a contribution. You are still covered by Class A social insurance. Your employer is paying on your behalf. Your employer pays a contribution of 8.5% on your earnings.
If you earn over €352 per week, you pay 4% PRSI on all your earnings.
Your employer pays 8.5% on your earnings up to €356 and your employer pays 10.75% on your earnings over €356.
For people insured under other classes, the amount of PRSI they pay will vary.
If the wrong rate of PRSI is deducted from your wages you are entitled to a refund. There are a number of reasons why you might be paying the wrong PRSI rate.
To get a refund either you or your employer should contact the Refunds Section in the Department of Social Protection - see 'Where to apply' below. You will be sent a refund application form to fill out. If you have paid too much PRSI you will get a refund and the Department will correct your social insurance record.
You may be entitled to a refund of the Health Contribution if you earned less than €26,000 in 2010 and earned more than €500 in any one week. You can find out what you earned in a year from your P60.
You must apply for a refund of Health Contributions paid in 2010 by 31 December 2014. You apply to the Refunds Section in the Department of Social Protection (see 'Where to apply' below).
You can get more information on refunds of the Health Contribution from the Department of Social Protection.
If you are an employee, your employer deducts your PRSI contribution from your wages. Your employer then submits your contribution and their employer's contribution to the Revenue Commissioners. Your employer must also pay social insurance on your behalf.
If you are self-employed, you pay Class S social insurance. In this case, you pay your social insurance contributions directly to the Revenue Commissioners.
If you are a PAYE worker and have unearned income of over €3,174 you are a chargeable person and you must pay 4% PRSI under Revenue's self-assessment system (Pay and File). Revenue pay the money into the Social Insurance Fund. A record of the contributions you have paid is then sent to the Department of Social Protection.
If there is a problem in deciding what class of social insurance you
should pay contact:
Department of Social Protection
212-213 Pearse Street
Tel:(01) 673 2585
Department of Social Protection
Tel:(01) 471 5898
Locall:1890 690 690
Department of Social Protection
Tel:(01) 673 2586
There are 11 different social insurance classes in Ireland. They are as follows:
Class A applies to people in industrial, commercial and service type employment who are employed under a contract of service with a reckonable pay of €38 or more per week from employment. It also includes civil and public servants recruited from 6 April 1995. In fact, most employees in Ireland pay PRSI Class A. People on CE schemes pay a special contribution at Class A8/A9.
Class J applies to people earning less than €38 per week. However, people aged over 66 or people in subsidiary employment are always insurable at Class J, no matter how much they earn. Subsidiary employment for Class J is for example, people who are insurable at Class B, C, D or H in their main employment. Only Occupational Injuries Benefit is covered by Class J social insurance.
Class E applies to ministers of religion employed by the Church of Ireland Representative Body. It covers all social insurance payments except Jobseeker's Benefit and Occupational Injuries Benefit.
Class B applies to civil servants and Gardai recruited before 6 April 1995, and registered doctors and dentists employed in the Civil Service. It covers only a limited number of social insurance payments.
Class C applies to commissioned Army Officers and members of the Army Nursing service recruited before 6 April 1995. It covers only a limited number of social insurance benefits.
Class D applies to permanent and pensionable employees in the public service other than those mentioned in Classes B and C recruited before 6 April 1995. It covers only a limited number of social insurance payments.
Class H applies to NCOs and enlisted personnel of the Defence Forces. It covers all social insurance payments except Occupational Injuries Benefit.
Class K applies to public office holders with an income of over €5,200 a year. Public office holders with weekly income of €100 or less are recorded under Class M. Class K also applies to people who pay PSRI on unearned income. There are no social insurance payments for people insured under Class K.
Class M applies to employees with no liability to contribute to social insurance such as employees under 16 years of age and people with an income of €500 or less and insured in Class K. Class M covers certain contributors with Occupational Injuries Benefit.
Class S applies to self-employed people including certain company directors, people in business on their own account and people with income from investments and rents. It cover only a limited number of social insurance payments.
Class P applies to sharefishermen or sharefisherwomen who are classified as self-employed and who are already paying PRSI under Class S. It covers them for social insurance payments not covered by Class S. These payments are as follows, limited Jobseeker's Benefit, limited Illness Benefit and Treatment Benefit.
If there is a problem in deciding what class of social insurance you should pay, the Scope Section in the Department of Social Protection may decide the issue after examining your employment situation.
If there is a problem in deciding what class of social insurance you should pay contact the Scope section in the Department of Social Protection (see 'Where to apply' above)
If you have a question relating to this topic you can contact the Citizens Information Phone Service on 0761 07 4000 (Monday to Friday, 9am to 8pm) or you can visit your local Citizens Information Centre.