Know Your Rights: Jobseeker’s Benefit and subsidiary employment

I was working full-time and was also doing a few hours with another company in the evenings. I recently lost my full-time job. Can I claim Jobseeker’s Benefit and continue working a couple of hours each evening?

Jobseeker’s Benefit is a weekly payment from the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection (DEASP) to people who are out of work and are covered by social insurance (PRSI).

As a general rule, you cannot get Jobseeker’s Benefit for any day you are employed or self-employed. However, it is possible to do some subsidiary work and still get Jobseeker’s Benefit for the day in question.

Subsidiary employment is work that could have been done while you were in full-time employment and outside your normal working hours. For example, you may work a full-time job during the day and have a part-time job in the evening. The part-time job is known as subsidiary or secondary employment if you were able to do the part-time work without it affecting your full-time job for a period of at least 6 months.

If you have subsidiary employment, you should always check with the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection to see whether or not your Jobseeker’s Benefit will be affected.

If you have less than 117 paid PRSI contributions in the 3 years before becoming unemployed there is a limit on the amount you can earn from subsidiary employment while getting Jobseeker’s Benefit. From 1 January 2019, the amount you can earn has increased to €144 per week (or €7,500 over 12 months). There is no earnings limit if you have more than 117 paid PRSI contributions.

If you are a farmer with other full-time employment, your farming will be your subsidiary employment.

Know Your Rights has been compiled by South Connacht Citizens Information Service CLG, which provides a free and confidential service to the public.

Tel: 0761 07 6330 Address: Boyle CIC, Elphin Street, Boyle, Co. Roscommon

Information is also available online at and from the Citizens Information Phone Service, 0761 07 4000.