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Case Studies » Social Insurance » Insurability of Employment - from 2016 Annual Report (ref: 2016/31)

Background: From a date in 2015 until the date of their marriage later that year, the appellant was employed by her husband, a self-employed veterinary surgeon in a veterinary practice, and paid Pay Related Social Insurance (PRSI) at the standard Class A rate. That employment was terminated with effect from the date before their marriage, a Form P45 confirming cessation of the employment from the same date was issued and the appellant’s employment contract was terminated. She continued to work at the practice and paid social insurance contributions at the PRSI Class S (self-employed) rate. In connection with a claim for Maternity Benefit made some time later, her insurability status was examined. She was deemed to have continued as an employee after the date of marriage and the employment was held to be an excepted employment with reference to Part 2, Schedule 1 of the Social Welfare Consolidation Act 2005 and no longer insurable under the Social Welfare Acts. The legislative provisions in question apply to employment in the service of the spouse or civil partner of the employed person.

Oral hearing: The appellant and her husband attended. They outlined the background to the change which they asserted occurred in relation to the appellant’s work in the veterinary practice following their marriage in 2015. They submitted that the appellant assisted with and participated in the business, performing ancillary and supportive tasks to those performed by her husband. They made reference to administrative tasks, including book-keeping, the maintenance of business records and customer accounts, processing payments and issuing of receipts. They stated that the appellant also assisted with the provision of grooming services and pharmaceutical treatment for small animals. They advised that she had made returns to Revenue in respect of income from self-employment and they confirmed that she had paid PRSI at the Class S rate in the period at issue.

Consideration: The Appeals Officer made reference to the appellant’s husband having been a self-employed contributor for social insurance purposes. It was noted that her former position as an employee had been terminated with effect from a specified date, as evidenced by the issue of a Form P45 which confirmed the cessation of employment. It was noted also the nature and extent of the work undertaken by the appellant, with effect from the relevant date. The Appeals Officer was satisfied that from that date, the appellant had been performing ancillary tasks to those performed by her husband as a self-employed contributor in the course of his veterinary enterprise and that she was subject to PRSI at the Class S rate. Accordingly, she was deemed to be a self-employed contributor as is prescribed for the purpose of entitlement to Maternity Benefit.

Outcome: Appeal allowed.