Friday 28 November 2014

Farmers' spouses deal on PRSI contributions welcomed by IFA

Martin Ryan

Published 06/08/2014 | 02:30

An agreement has been reached on PRSI contributions between the IFA and Social Welfare.
An agreement has been reached on PRSI contributions between the IFA and Social Welfare.

Agreement has been reached between IFA and Social Welfare on a system of PRSI payments that will entitle farmers' spouses to a pension in their own right in the future under a 'partnership' farm arrangement.

IFA farm business chairman, Tom Doyle, described the agreed extension of PRSI eligibility to partners of self-employed, such as farmers, who assist in the business, as a positive move. It has also been welcomed by IFA farm family chairperson Maura Canning.

Mr Doyle has confirmed that spouses of self-employed farmers who assisted in the farm work, but who were not operating a partnership structure, did not qualify to make PRSI contributions.

"From 2014 on, this group will be entitled to make PRSI contributions, provided their income from all sources exceeds the minimum insurability threshold of €5,000," Mr Doyle said.

"This will be of benefit for individuals who between now and their turning 66 years can make sufficient contributions to bring them up to a minimum of 10 years of contributions, thereby qualifying for a contributory pension. It is critical that the rules for participation are straightforward and accessible for those to whom this extension applies," he added.

Maura Canning said the IFA had always argued that access to the social insurance contributory system should be open to all. "Where possible, individuals should be entitled to make PRSI contributions which would qualify them for their own individual future benefits, such as the contributory pension. However, the continued exclusion of spouses of self-employed farmers who are employed in the PAYE system on the farm is unfair and IFA will continue to pursue this issue, " she added.

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