Free travel for children

Children can travel for free on public transport services from 2 – 15 July 2018, under the National Transport Authority’s ‘Kids Go Free’ initiative.

During this period, Child Leap Card holders can travel free on bus and rail services including Dublin Bus, Bus Éireann, Luas, DART, Commuter Rail and LocalLink services.

To travel for free, present your Child Leap Card as normal. Your card won’t be charged while the initiative runs.

Find out more on leapcard.ie.

Hosepipe ban

Irish Water has temporarily banned the use of hosepipes in the greater Dublin area. The ban is being introduced to help conserve water as the dry weather continues.

While the ban is in place, you cannot use a hose to water your garden, clean your car or fill a paddling pool, pond or fountain.

The ban runs for one month from today, 2 July – 31 July 2018.

Read more about the hosepipe ban on water.ie.

Know Your Rights: Young workers

Question

I am 17 years old and I have just finished school. I would like to get a part-time job over the summer. Are there restrictions on the number of hours I can work and will I get the minimum wage?

Answer (June 2018)

The maximum working week for young people aged 16 and 17 is 40 hours, and you cannot work more than 8 hours a day. If you work for more than one employer, your combined daily or weekly hours of work cannot be more than this maximum. Usually, you are only permitted to work between 6am and 10pm, but in licenced premises (pubs and restaurants) you are legally allowed to work until 11pm at weekends and during school holidays.

The national minimum wage for an experienced adult is currently €9.55 per hour. People aged under 18 are only entitled to up to 70% of the experienced adult rate This is €6.69 per hour. Your employer is free to pay you more than the minimum wage if they wish, but they are not required to do so by law. You must get a payslip from your employer. A payslip is a statement in writing from the employer that shows your total pay before tax and details of deductions from your pay.

If you get tips from customers there is nothing in law to state you are automatically entitled to these tips. However, the law does not require you to hand these tips to your employer either. Instead, it depends on the custom and practice in your workplace.

These rules are set out in the Protection of Young Persons (Employment) Act 1996. Your employer must give you the official summary of the Act, along with other details of your terms of employment, within one month of your start date. All employers with employees under 18 must display the official summary of the Act somewhere visible where it can be easily read. Your employer must also see a copy of your birth certificate, or other evidence of your age, before employing you.

Getting married – exemptions from notice requirement

If you are getting married in Ireland, you must notify a Registrar at least 3 months before the date you plan to get married. However, in some special circumstances you can get a Court Exemption Order allowing you to marry without giving the 3-month notification, for example, if you or your partner has a very serious illness.

You can apply for this exemption at the Circuit Family Court or High Court in the area where you or your partner live. You can apply without a solicitor and there is no court fee or charge.

To get an exemption, you need to show the court that there are good reasons for your application and that the exemption is in the best interests of both parties to the marriage.

Read more about the notification requirements for marriage.

Risk of forest fires

The Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine has issued a nationwide Condition Red Forest Fire Danger Rating Notice.

While the notice is in place, you should avoid lighting fires around forests or open land. Be careful when disposing of smoking materials, such as cigarette butts. If you do come across a fire, do not attempt to fight it yourself. Try to move to a safe area upwind of the fire, and phone 112 to alert the emergency services.

Read more about the forest fire notice on dafm.ie.

Weather alert

Met Éireann has issued a high-temperature weather alert nationwide.

Temperatures are expected to reach 27 degrees and higher in parts of the country throughout the week. The warning will be in place until 9pm on Friday, 29 June 2018.

The following information will help you stay safe while enjoying the hot weather:

Long periods of hot, dry weather can also put pressure on domestic water supplies. Check out ways to use less water at home on water.ie.

Read more about the weather alert on met.ie.

Know Your Rights: Home Renovation Incentive Scheme

Question

My partner and I own our home and want to extend it this year. Would we qualify for a tax credit for the work, and if so, how do we apply?

Answer (May 2018)

The Home Renovation Incentive (HRI) scheme lets homeowners, landlords and local authority tenants claim tax relief on the cost of repairs, renovations or improvement works carried out on their main home or rental property.

To qualify for the HRI, you must be paying income tax and be up to date with your Local Property Tax (LPT). The work must be carried out by a contractor who is registered for Value Added Tax (VAT) and is tax-compliant.

Any repair, renovation or improvement work subject to VAT at 13.5% qualifies for the scheme, so your proposed extension would be covered. Work that is subject to VAT at 23% (such as architect’s fees) is not covered. Neither are items such as furniture, white goods or carpets.
The HRI is paid as a tax credit at 13.5% of the cost, effectively reducing the rate of VAT on qualifying work to zero. The qualifying work must cost at least €4,405 before VAT at 13.5% (€5,000 including VAT). The credit can be claimed up to a maximum of €30,000 (before VAT) of the total cost of works.

The work must be carried out and paid for before 31 December 2018. However, this can be extended if you need planning permission. If this is the case, planning permission must be in place by 31 December 2018. You will then have until 31 March 2019 to complete the work.

To apply for the HRI, your contractor(s) must enter details of the work and payments on the HRI online system on revenue.ie. You should access the system to check that these details have been entered correctly. You claim the credit after the end of the tax year in which you have the work done. In general, the tax credit is applied over the two years following the year in which the work is carried out and paid for.

Read more about the Home Renovation Incentive Scheme.