If you have an unplanned pregnancy, there are free confidential counselling and information services to help you consider your options and access services and supports.
My Options is a freephone helpline that provides counselling over the phone. It is provided by the Health Service Executive (HSE). If you would like face-to-face counselling, My Options can tell you where to get it for free.
My Options provides information and support on all your options if you have an unplanned pregnancy, including information on a range of continued pregnancy supports and on abortion services.
It can give you information about when you can get an abortion and where that service is available. You can also access post-abortion counselling and support from My Options, free of charge.
You can call the My Options helpline on Freephone 1800 828 010 or visit the website, myoptions.ie, for more information.
What is replacing P45 and P60 statements?
Since 1 January 2019, P45s and P60s have been abolished and replaced with an online system as part of PAYE modernisation. You will no longer get a P45 if you leave your job. Instead, your employer must now send this information electronically to Revenue. The P60 certificate will be replaced by an end of year statement.
Your 2018 P60 is the last P60 that you will get from your employer. Your end of year statement for 2019 will be available after 31 December 2019 through Revenue’s myAccount service. An end of year statement includes details of all your pay and the income tax, USC and PRSI deducted by your employer during the year. It also records your Local Property Tax (LPT) deductions (if you choose to have the LPT deducted from your pay).
I have ordered a few presents online. Can I return them if I change my mind when I get them?
If you bought your goods from a business based in the EU, they are covered by the EU Directive on Consumer Rights. Under this Directive, you are entitled to a cooling-off period of 14 days. During the cooling-off period, you can cancel distance contracts such as online purchases without giving a reason and without incurring charges or penalties, other than possible charges for returning the goods. The 14-day cooling-off period begins on the day that you receive the goods.
The distance seller must repay you for the goods including delivery costs within 14 days of cancellation,. If you chose a more expensive type of delivery than the seller’s cheapest standard delivery, you are only entitled to be refunded the cost of the cheaper delivery type. The seller can withhold the repayment until the goods are returned or until you supply evidence that you have sent the goods back.
You must send the goods back within 14 days of informing the seller of the cancellation. You may have to pay for the cost of returning them. The seller must have informed you of these costs before you completed the purchase.
The seller should also have given you confirmation of the contract, as well as information on aftersales and guarantees, how to cancel the contract and a postal address for complaints. If the seller did not provide you with information on your right to cancel, the cooling-off period can be extended by 12 months.
Some purchases are not covered by the cooling-off period. These include customised or perishable goods and bookings for transport or accommodation.
If you bought your goods from a business based outside the EU, they are not covered under the EU Directive. For these goods, you should check the terms and conditions on the website of the business you bought them from.
I work part-time from Wednesday to Friday. This year Christmas fell on a Tuesday. Should I get paid for Christmas Day, even though I didn’t work that day? What about New Year’s Day which fell on the following Tuesday?
Christmas Day, St Stephen’s Day and New Year’s Day are public holidays. Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve are not. All workers are entitled to paid time off or pay for a public holiday. (Your employer can decide whether to give you time off or pay.) Part-time workers must have worked for the employer for at least 40 hours in the previous five-week period to have a public holiday entitlement.
If you work part-time and the public holiday falls on a day that you usually work you are entitled to a day’s pay or a paid day off for the public holiday. Part-time workers who are not rostered to work on a public holiday are also entitled to pay or to paid time off for the public holiday. This is one-fifth of their normal pay for the week as compensation for the holiday.
In your case, you should get one-fifth of your normal weekly pay for each of the two public holidays, Christmas Day and New Year’s Day. So you should get the additional pay or the equivalent amount of time off. Your employer can decide which option to give you.
If you have to work on a public holiday you are entitled to be paid at your usual rate and you are also entitled to either an additional day’s pay or a paid day off. You can get detailed information on employment rights from the workplacerelations.ie website.
The HSE provides information and support on all your options, including continued pregnancy supports and abortion services on myoptions.ie.
The My Options freephone line will be open from 1 January 2019 on 1800 828 010.
Citizens Information Board
The Citizens Information Board will be closed on Tuesday 25 and Wednesday 26 December and on Tuesday 1 January 2019.
Citizens Information Phone Service (CIPS)
CIPS can be contacted on 0761 07 4000. Its opening hours are:
Money Advice and Budgeting Service (MABS)
Check with your local service.
The MABS Helpline can be contacted on 0761 07 2000. Its opening hours are:
Citizens Information Services
Check with your local Citizens Information Centre.
I’ve heard the law around drink driving changed recently. What has changed?
Yes, the law around drink driving has changed. Since 26 October 2018, under the Road Traffic (Amendment) Act 2018, drivers who previously got 3 penalty points for certain drink driving offences will now be disqualified from driving for 3 months instead.
It is an offence to drive in a public place if the level of alcohol in your blood, breath or urine is above the prescribed alcohol limit. There are different alcohol limits for new drivers and experienced drivers. New drivers are drivers with learner permits or drivers who have held a driving licence for 2 years or less, or people without a valid licence or permit.
Drink driving offences can be dealt with through the administrative penalty system or the court system. However, the administrative penalty system only applies in certain cases, for example, where the driver has a valid licence or permit and their alcohol intake is below a certain level. The recent legislation changes the additional penalty for experienced drivers found with the lowest levels of alcohol in their system. These levels are:
- 51mg to 80mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood
- 68mg to 107mg of alcohol per 100ml of urine
- 23mg to 35mg of alcohol per 100ml of breath
Previously, experienced drivers found with these levels of alcohol would be fined €200, and get an additional penalty of 3 penalty points. Now, these drivers will get the same €200 fine, but will also be disqualified from driving for 3 months.
Can taxis charge higher fares over Christmas and New Year?
Yes, taxis can charge more on certain days over Christmas. There are three different rates under the National Maximum Taxi Fare; the standard rate, the premium rate and the special premium rate.
The standard rate applies from 8am to 8pm, Monday to Saturday. The premium rate applies at night from 8pm to 8am and on Sundays and public holidays. And the special premium rate applies between 8pm on Christmas Eve and 8am on St. Stephen’s Day and between 8pm on New Year’s Eve and 8am on New Year’s Day. The rates are lowest at the standard rate and most expensive at the special premium rate. So, taxis can charge more when the special premium rate applies over Christmas.
The National Maximum Taxi Fare consists of 3 separate parts:
- Initial charge:amount which appears on the meter at the beginning of the journey. This is €3.80 at the standard rate and €4.20 at the premium rates. It includes an initial distance of 500m, or 85 seconds.
- Further travel:after the distance/time included in the initial charge has been exceeded, further travel is calculated on small portions of the journey. At low speeds, or when a taxi is stationary, the fare is calculated on the basis of time. The charges for further travel differ depending on what rate applies when you are travelling. The charges are lowest at the standard rate and most expensive at the special premium rate.
- Extra charge: there are strict rules about extra charges, including a booking fee, additional passenger charges and a soiling charge.
You can ask for a discount before engaging a taxi. Drivers have the right to charge the maximum amount calculated on the meter, or a lower amount at their discretion.
The Christmas Bonus is being paid during the week of 3-7 December 2018 to people getting long-term social welfare payments.
You can read more in our Christmas Bonus document and find the rates of qualifying payments on welfare.ie.