Health and Safety Benefit is a weekly payment for employed women who are pregnant or breastfeeding, and who are granted health and safety leave by their employer.
You are granted health and safety leave from employment if your employer cannot remove a risk to your health while you are pregnant, or breastfeeding, or assign you alternative "risk-free" duties. The right to health and safety leave from employment is set out under Section 18 of the Maternity Protection Act 1994.
To qualify for Health and Safety Benefit, you must meet certain criteria and social insurance (PRSI) contribution conditions. Your employer pays your normal wage for the first 21 days (3 weeks) of your health and safety leave and the Department of Social Protection pays Health and Safety Benefit for the remainder.
If you think you have been wrongly refused Health and Safety Benefit you can appeal this decision.
During health and safety leave from employment, you are still considered to be in employment (this means, for example, that you continue to accumulate annual leave entitlement). However you are not entitled to payment for public holidays that occur while you are on health and safety leave.
Health and Safety Benefit is taxable from 1 July 2013 for all claimants. Health and Safety Benefit is taxed in the same way as Maternity Benefit. Universal Social Charge and PRSI are not payable. You can read about how Maternity Benefit is taxed in the document, Taxation of social welfare payments. You can also get more information from Revenue on taxation of Maternity Benefit.
To get Health and Safety Benefit you must:
You must also meet the following PRSI conditions:
The relevant tax year is the second last complete tax year before you claim Health and Safety Benefit. For example, for claims made in 2016 the relevant tax year is 2014.
Health and Safety Benefit lasts until:
You stop getting Health and Safety Benefit if your health and safety leave ends because:
Weekly payment in 2016
|Earnings per week||Personal rate||Qualified adult rate|
|Less than €150||€84.50||€80.90|
|€150 - €219.99||€121.40||€80.90|
|€220 - €299.99||€147.30||€80.90|
|€300 or more||€188||€124.80|
Half-rate Health and Safety Benefit can be paid if you are getting certain social welfare payments.
You will be paid directly into your bank account, or by weekly cheque. You get a personal rate and may get an increase for an adult dependant and child dependant. Your average weekly earnings do not affect the rate of payment for a child dependant.
To get this benefit you must fill in a Health and Safety Benefit application form (pdf) and send it to the Health and Safety Benefit Section (see 'Where to apply' below).
You must complete parts 1, 2, 3, 5, 6 and 7.
Your employer must fill in, sign and stamp part 4.
Your GP must fill in, sign and stamp part 8.
Tel:(01) 471 5898
Locall:1890 690 690
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.