The Department

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The Department supports the Minister in the discharge of Governmental, Parliamentary and Departmental duties.

It plays a key role in two of the major Government policy domains – the distribution and re-distribution of income to assure social cohesion and equity of economic outcomes, and the efficient operation of the supply side of the labour market.

The Department is the largest payment organisation in the State.  It also operates the public  employment service and directly funds a wide range of employment programmes and citizen advisory services. Our annual expenditure of just under €20bn accounts for about 37% of the voted expenditure of the State. Given the breadth and scale of its operations, the Department touches in one way or another, on the lives of every person in the State.  Each week, some 1.4 million people receive a social welfare payment. In the region of 625,000 families receive child benefit payments in respect of 1.2 million children each month.  There are 6,500 staff directly employed in the Department.

The Department’s Mission is:

“To promote active participation and inclusion in society through the
provision of income supports, employment services and other services.”

Our main functions are to:

  • advise Government and formulate appropriate social protection and social inclusion policies;
  • design, develop and deliver effective and cost efficient income supports, activation and employment services, advice to customers and other related services;
  • work towards providing seamless delivery of services in conjunction with other Government Departments, Agencies and Bodies; and
  • control fraud and abuse within the social protection system.  
In January 2011, responsibility for the processing of claims under the Redundancy and Insolvency Payments Schemes transferred from the former Department of Enterprise, Trade and Innovation to the Department.
On 1 October 2011, to give effect to a Government decision in 2010 regarding changes to Departmental functions and responsibility, the Community Welfare Services of the Health Service Executive (HSE) transferred to the Department.
Responsibility for social inclusion, which had been assigned to the Department of Community, Equality and Gaeltacht Affairs in 2010 was transferred back to the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection during 2011.
Employment services and community employment services of FÁS also transferred to the Department on 1 January 2012.
Last modified:26/07/2017

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