Action Plan for Jobs 2015

The Action Plan for Jobs 2015 was launched yesterday, Thursday 29 January 2015. The Plan is the fourth annual plan in a multi-year process which started in early 2012. It sets out in detail the actions to be taken by government departments and state agencies during 2015 to support job creation.

Find out exactly what the Action Plan for Jobs is. 

Thinking of starting a business?

The Start Your Own Business scheme provides a two-year exemption from income tax (up to a maximum of €40,000 per year) for people who have been unemployed for at least 12 months before starting their own business. You must have been getting a qualifying social welfare payment to take part in the scheme. It runs from 23 October 2013 to 31 December 2016.

It’s European Data Protection Day

When you give your personal details to an organisation or individual (a data controller), they have a duty to keep these details private and safe. This process is known as data protection. Data protection issues arise at work, when interacting with public services, when you buy goods or services, and when you travel or surf the internet.

European Data Protection Day aims to help citizens understand more about how and why their personal data is collected and their rights when data about them is processed and held.

The Irish Data Protection Commissioner has a short guide to data protection which outlines your rights and the responsibilities of those who hold and process your personal details.

Visit dataprotection.ie to read the guide and find out more.

 

 

Know your rights: Consumer rights during sales // Cearta tomhaltóra i rith díolachán

Question

What are my consumer rights when I buy something in the sales? Can I return sales items?

Answer

Your consumer rights during a sale are exactly the same as at any other time of the year. Goods should be of merchantable quality, fit for their intended purpose and as described. If they are not, you are entitled to a repair, replacement or refund. The legislation does not specify whether it is the retailer or the customer who decides which form of redress is offered.

If you have a problem with goods that you bought at full price and are now on sale at a reduced price, you are entitled to a refund of the full price (if the shop is willing to offer a refund).

However, you are not entitled to a refund because you change your mind about something you have bought in a shop, whether this is during the sales or at any other time of the year. Many shops do allow you to exchange goods that you have had second thoughts about, but this is at their discretion. It is a good idea to check the shop’s refund policy before buying anything.

If you buy goods at full price but change your mind about them, and they are now on sale at a lower price, you may only be offered the reduced amount (if the shop is willing to offer a refund). You should always keep your receipts as proof of purchase and the price paid.

For more information, visit the website of the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission at consumerhelp.ie.

Know Your Rights columns cover topical subjects every month in a question-and-answer format. They are published by the Citizens Information Board online and syndicated through Citizens Information Services to local newspapers around Ireland.

Further information is available from Citizens Information Centres and from the Citizens Information Phone Service, call 0761 07 4000.

Ceist

Cad iad mo chuid cearta tomhaltóra nuair a cheannaím rud éigin sna díolacháin? An féidir liom earraí díolacháin a thabhairt ar ais?

Freagra

Tá do chearta tomhaltóra i rith díolacháin díreach mar an gcéanna leis na cearta a bhíonn agat ag aon tráth eile den bhliain.

Ba cheart go mbeadh earraí ar chaighdeáin inmhargaidh, oiriúnach dá gcuspóir beartaithe agus ba cheart gurbh ionann iad agus an cur síos a dhéantar orthu. Murab amhlaidh iad, tá tú i dteideal deisiú, earra ionaid nó aisíocaíocht a fháil. Ní shonraítear sa reachtaíocht cibé acu arb é an miondíoltóir nó an custaiméir a dhéanann an cinneadh cén fhoirm shásaimh a chuirfear ar fáil.

Má bhíonn fadhb agat le hearraí a cheannaigh tú ar lánphraghas atá anois ar díol ar phraghas laghdaithe, tá tú i dteideal aisíocaíocht an lánphraghais a fháil (má tá an siopa toilteanach chun aisíocaíocht a thabhairt).

Níl tú i dteideal aisíocaíocht a fháil, áfach, díreach mar gheall gur tháinig athrú intinne ort faoi earra éigin a cheannaigh tú i siopa, cibé acu má bhíonn seo le linn na ndíolachán nó ag tráth ar bith eile den bhliain. Ní cheadaíonn go leor siopaí duit earraí a mhalartú nach bhfuil tú sásta leo a thuilleadh, ach is faoin siopa féin atá sé é seo a cheadú. Smaoineamh maith atá ann chun beartas aisíocaíochta an tsiopa a sheiceáil sula gceannaíonn tú rud ar bith.

Má cheannaíonn tú earraí ar lánphraghas ach má thagann athrú intinne ort fúthu, agus má tá siad ar díol anois ar phraghas níos ísle, tharlódh nach dtabharfaí ar ais duit ach an tsuim laghdaithe (má tá an siopa toilteanach chun d’airgead a thabhairt ar ais duit). Ba cheart duit d’fháltais a choimeád i gcónaí mar chruthúnas den cheannach agus den phraghas a d’íoc tú.

Chun teacht ar bhreis faisnéise, tabhair cuairt ar láithreán gréasáin an Choimisiún um Iomaíocht agus Cosaint Tomhaltóirí ag consumerhelp.ie.

Know your rights: Preparing for retirement // Ullmhú do dhul ar scor

Question

I will be retiring from work in 2015 when I reach 65. What do I need to know about pensions and other benefits in retirement?

Answer

When you retire at age 65 you can claim Jobseeker’s Benefit, which is based on your Pay Related Social Insurance (PRSI) contributions. If you do not qualify for Jobseeker’s Benefit you can claim Jobseeker’s Allowance, which is a means-tested payment.

At age 66, you may be entitled to the State Pension (Contributory). If you do not have enough PRSI contributions, you can apply for a State Pension (Non-Contributory), which is means-tested. You should apply for State pensions at least three months in advance.

You may have contributed to an occupational pension scheme during your working life or you may have a personal pension arrangement. You need to contact the pension provider to find out exactly what benefits your pension gives you.

If you move from employment to retirement in the course of the year, you should get a PAYE Balancing Statement (P21) from your local tax office at the end of the year. This will trigger a refund of any overpayment of tax you might have made.

Your Jobseeker’s Benefit or State pension and any occupational pension are taxable. However, the tax exemption limits are much higher for people aged 65 or over and there are some extra tax credits.

At age 66 you will be exempt from paying PRSI. At age 70 you will pay a reduced Universal Social Charge if your annual income is €60,000 or less.

At age 66 you will also be eligible for a Free Travel Pass and may be eligible for the Household Benefits Package, which consists of a free TV licence and an electricity or gas allowance.

For medical cards and GP Visit Cards, which are means tested, the income limits are higher for people aged 70 and over.

Know Your Rights columns cover topical subjects every month in a question-and-answer format. They are published by the Citizens Information Board online and syndicated through Citizens Information Services to local newspapers around Ireland.

Further information is available from Citizens Information Centres and from the Citizens Information Phone Service, call 0761 07 4000.

Ceist

Imeoidh mé ar scor ón obair in 2015 nuair a bhainfidh mé aois 65 bliain amach. Cad is gá dom a bheith ar eolas agam faoi phinsin agus sochair eile agus mé ar scor?

Freagra

Nuair a bhainfidh tú aois 65 bliain amach, féadfaidh tú Sochar Cuardaitheora Poist a éileamh, atá bunaithe ar do ranníocaíochtaí Árachais Shóisialta Phá-Choibhneasa (ÁSPC). Mura gcáilítear thú do Shochar Cuardaitheora Poist, féadfaidh tú Liúntas Cuardaitheora Poist a éileamh, arb íocaíocht ar a ndéantar tástáil mhaoine í.

Ag aois 66 bliain, féadfaidh tú a bheith i dteideal Pinsean Stáit (Ranníocach) a fháil. Mura ndearna tú dóthain ranníocaíochtaí ÁSPC, féadfaidh tú iarratas a dhéanamh ar Phinsean Stáit (Neamh-Ranníocach), ar a ndéantar tástáil mhaoine. Ba cheart duit iarratas a dhéanamh ar phinsin Stáit ar a laghad 3 mhí roimh ré.

B’fhéidir go ndearna tú ranníocaíochtaí le scéim pinsin cheirde i rith do shaoil oibre nó b’fhéidir go bhfuil socrú pinsin phearsanta agat. Is gá duit teagmháil a dhéanamh leis an soláthróir pinsin lena dheimhniú go díreach cén sochair a thugann do phinsean duit.

Má aistríonn tú ó fhostaíocht go dtí scor le linn na bliana, ba cheart duit Ráiteas Comhardaithe ÍMAT (P21) a fháil ó d’oifig cánach áitiúil ag deireadh na bliana. Déanfaidh seo aon ró-íocaíocht chánach a rinne tú a aisíoc.

Gearrtar cáin ar do Shochar Cuardaitheora Poist nó do phinsean Stáit agus aon phinsean gairme. Tá na teorainneacha ar dhíolúintí cánach i bhfad níos airde, áfach, do dhaoine atá 65 bliain d’aois nó níos sine agus tá roinnt creidmheasanna breise cánach ann chomh maith.

Ag aois 66 bliain, beidh tú díolmhaithe ó ÁSPC a íoc. Ag aois 70 bliain, íocfaidh tú Muirear Sóisialta Uilíoch laghdaithe más ionann d’ioncam bliantúil agus €60,000 nó níos lú.

Ag aois 66 bliain, beidh tú i dteideal Pas Saorthaistil a fháil, chomh maith, agus d’fhéadfá bheith i dteideal an Pacáiste Sochair Teaghlaigh a fháil, a áiríonn ceadúnas teilifíse saor in aisce agus liúntas leictreachais nó gáis.

I gcás cártaí leighis agus cártaí cuairte LG, ar a ndéantar tástáil mhaoine, tá na teorainneacha ioncaim le haghaidh daoine atá 70 bliain d’aois agus níos sine níos airde.

See Something, Say Something: making environmental complaints

If you see environmental problems – backyard burning, fly tipping or illegal dumping it can be hard to know what to do.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has started a campaign to explain how to report and resolve environmental problems – See Something, Say Something.

  • Some problems are the responsibility of local authorities – littering, backyard burning, water pollution, noise, dust and smells.
  • The EPA licenses large industry and large waste management facilities such as landfills so if the problem relates to a licensed business you contact the EPA directly. You can make an online complaint, contact the 24-hour National Environmental Complaints Line at 1850 365 121 or download an app to make a complaint directly from your smartphone.
  • Some areas, like wildlife and habitat protection, workplace health and safety, and public health are the responsibility of specific public bodies.

 

The EPA leaflet explains who you should contact and what you can do to help resolve environmental problems. 

 

Disputes between tenants and landlords

If you have a dispute with your landlord you may be able to resolve it informally. However sometimes this is not possible and you need to involve a third party to help resolve the problem.

The PRTB publishes a checklist for tenants on how to prevent disputes, along with a similar checklist for landlords.

Find out more about resolving disputes including where to go if your rental home does not meet the minimum standards for rental accommodation. 

 

Know your rights: Income tax bands and rates // Bandaí agus rátaí cáin ioncaim

Question

What are the income tax bands and tax rates for 2015?

Answer

The income tax bands and tax rates for 2015 were announced in Budget 2015.

Nearly all income is liable to tax. The amount of tax that you have to pay depends on your personal circumstances. There is a range of income tax reliefs available that can reduce the amount of tax that you have to pay.

Tax is charged as a percentage of your income. The percentage that you pay depends on the amount of your income.

The first part of your income, up to a certain amount, is taxed at what is known as the standard rate of tax. The amount that it applies to is known as the standard-rate tax band. The remainder of your income is taxed at a higher rate of tax.

For 2015 the standard rate of tax remains at 20% but the standard-rate tax bands have been increased as follows:

2014 2015
Single person €32,800 €33,800
Married couple/civil partners, one income €41,800 €42,800
Married couple/civil partners, two incomes €41,800 (1st income)   €23,800 (2nd income) €42,800 (1st income)  €24,800 (2nd income)
One parent family €36,800 €37,800

The higher rate of tax that applies to the balance of your income has been reduced from 41% in 2014 to 40% for 2015.

Know Your Rights columns cover topical subjects every month in a question-and-answer format. They are published by the Citizens Information Board online and syndicated through Citizens Information Services to local newspapers around Ireland.

Further information is available from Citizens Information Centres and from the Citizens Information Phone Service, call 0761 07 4000.

Ceist

Cad iad na bandaí agus rátaí cáin ioncaim le haghaidh 2015?

Freagra

Fógraíodh na bandaí cáin ioncaim agus na rátaí cánach do 2015 i mBuiséad 2015.

Tá nach mór gach ioncam faoi dhliteanas cánach. Braitheann an méid cánach atá ort íoc ar do chúinsí pearsanta. Tá réimse d’fhaoisimh cháin ioncaim ar fáil ar féidir leo an méid cánach a laghdú is gá duit a íoc.

Gearrtar cáin mar chéatadán de d’ioncam. Braitheann an céatadán a íocann tú ar mhéid d’ioncaim.

Gearrtar cáin ar an gcéad chuid de d’ioncam, a mhéid le méid áirithe, ar rud ar a dtugtar an ráta caighdeánach cánach. Is é an banda cánach ráta chaighdeánaigh an méid ar a ngearrtar é. Gearrtar ráta níos airde cánach ar an gcuid eile de d’ioncam.

Don bhliain 2015, is ionann agus 20% go fóill an ráta caighdeánach cánach, ach méadaíodh na bandaí cánach ráta chaighdeánaigh mar seo a leanas:

2014 2015
Duine singil €32,800 €33,800
Lánúin phósta/páirtnéirí sibhialta, ioncam amháin €41,800 €42,800
Lánúin phósta/páirtnéirí sibhialta, dhá ioncam €41,800 (an chéad ioncam)

€23,800 (an dara hioncam)

€42,800 (an chéad ioncam)

€24,800 (an dara hioncam)

Teaghlach aontuismitheora €36,800 €37,800

Laghdaíodh an ráta níos airde cánach a ghearrtar ar an gcuid eile de d’ioncam anuas ó 41% in 2014 go dtí 40% le haghaidh 2015.

Know your rights: Freedom of Information // Saoráil Faisnéise

Question

I believe you no longer have to pay fees when you make a Freedom of Information request. Are there any other changes?

Answer

A number of changes have been introduced to the Freedom of Information (FOI) scheme by the Freedom of Information Act 2014. The FOI scheme provides the following rights:

  • A right to access information that is held by a body to which the FOI legislation applies
  • A right to have official information relating to you amended where it is incomplete, incorrect or misleading
  • A right to obtain reasons for decisions affecting you

Previously, you had to pay an application fee of €15 when making a request for information. This application fee no longer applies. The application fees have been reduced for an internal review of a decision by a body on your request and for a review of the decision by the Office of the Information Commissioner. The new fees (which do not apply in the case of personal information) are as follows:

  • Internal review, €30 (€10 for medical card holder)
  • Review by Information Commissioner, €50 (€15 for medical card holder)

You may be charged for the time spent finding and retrieving records, and for any copying costs. You will not normally be charged for personal records.

Under the revised scheme, if the cost of search, retrieval and copying is €100 or less, no charge is applied. If the cost exceeds €100, the full charge applies. You cannot be charged more than €500. If the estimated cost is more than €700, the body can refuse to process your request, unless you refine your request to bring the cost below this limit.

The new FOI Act widens the scope of the scheme to all public bodies, unless specifically exempt. It also allows the Government to include other bodies that get significant public funds. Under the Act the bodies must publish a wider range of information about their activities than was previously required.

Know Your Rights columns cover topical subjects every month in a question-and-answer format. They are published by the Citizens Information Board online and syndicated through Citizens Information Services to local newspapers around Ireland.

Further information is available from Citizens Information Centres and from the Citizens Information Phone Service, call 0761 07 4000.

Ceist

Creidim nach bhfuil ort táillí a íoc a thuilleadh nuair a dhéanann tú iarratas ar Shaoráil Faisnéise. An ndearnadh aon athruithe eile?

Freagra

Thug an tAcht um Shaoráil Faisnéise, 2014 roinnt athruithe isteach ar an scéim um Shaoráil Faisnéise (SF). Déanann an scéim SF foráil do na cearta a leanas:

  • Ceart chun rochtain a fháil ar fhaisnéis atá á coimeád ag comhlacht lena mbaineann an reachtaíocht um shaoráil faisnéise
  • Ceart go leasaítear faisnéis oifigiúil a bhaineann leat sa chás go bhfuil sí neamhiomlán, mícheart nó míthreorach
  • Ceart chun cúiseanna a fháil a bhí le cinntí a d’imir tionchar ort

Roimhe seo, bhí ort táille iarratais €15 a íoc nuair a bhí iarratas ar fhaisnéis á dhéanamh agat. Ní bhaineann an táille iarratais seo níos mó Laghdaíodh na táillí iarratais ar athbhreithniú a dhéanamh ar chinneadh ag comhlacht ar d’iarratas agus ar athbhreithniú ar chinneadh ag Oifig an Choimisinéara Faisnéise. Seo iad na táillí nua (nach bhfuil feidhm acu i gcás faisnéis phearsanta):

  • Athbhreithniú inmheánach, €30 (€10 do shealbhóir cárta leighis)
  • Athbhreithniú ag an gCoimisinéir Faisnéise, €50 (€15 do shealbhóir cárta leighis)

Féadtar muirir a ghearradh ort as an am a chaitear le taifid a aimsiú agus a aisghabháil, agus as aon chostais chóipeála. Ní gnách go ngearrtar muirear ort as taifid phearsanta.

Faoin scéim leasaithe, más ionann costas cuardaigh, aisghabhála agus cóipeála agus €10 nó níos lú, ní ghearrtar aon mhuirear. Má sháraíonn an costas €100, gearrfar an muirear iomlán. Ní féidir breis agus €500 a ghearradh ort. Más ionann an costas measta agus €700, féadfaidh an comhlacht a dhiúltú chun d’iarratas a phróiseáil, mura ndéanann tú d’iarratas a bheachtú chun an costas a thabhairt faoi bhun na teorann seo.

Déanann an tAcht nua um Shaoráil Faisnéise seo scóip na scéime a fhairsingiú do gach comhlacht, mura bhfuil siad díolmhaithe go sonrach. Ceadaíonn sé don Rialtas comhlachtaí eile a chur san áireamh, chomh maith, a fhaigheann cistí suntasacha poiblí. Faoin Acht ní mór do chomhlachtaí réimse níos fairsinge faisnéise a fhoilsiú faoina ngníomhaíochtaí ná mar a bhí ag teastáil roimhe sin.