Explanatory Memorandum

Welfare Reform Act (Northern Ireland) 2010

2010 CHAPTER 13

13 August 2010

Commentary on Sections

Part 1: Social security

Section 11: Conditions for contributory jobseeker’s allowance

This section amends the contribution conditions for jobseeker’s allowance. It amends the Jobseekers (Northern Ireland) Order 1995 so that the first contribution condition for jobseeker’s allowance is met by the claimant having paid, or being treated as having paid, at least 26 weeks of Class 1 contributions on relevant earnings at the base year’s lower earnings limit (£90 per week in 2008/09) in one of the two tax years prior to the claim. Class 1 national insurance contributions are those paid on earnings from employment. Relevant earnings are those upon which contributions have been paid and which count towards establishing entitlement.

Subsection (3) introduces a regulation-making power which will be used to set out the detail of the calculation to determine whether a person has paid contributions on enough earnings to be entitled to the contributory benefit. A further regulation-making power is introduced by subsection (5) to allow for prescribed categories of claimants to satisfy the first contribution condition by alternative criteria. This new provision in the Jobseekers (Northern Ireland) Order 1995 for jobseeker’s allowance will parallel the provision in the Welfare Reform Act (Northern Ireland) 2007 in respect of employment and support allowance.