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Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire TD condemns “bogus self-employment” and the ill-treatment of workers

1 June, 2016 - by Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire TD

Speaking during a Dáil debate this evening on a Labour Party motion regarding the right of workers, Sinn Féin TD Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire condemned the practice of bogus self-employment and the ill treatment of workers.

Deputy Ó Laoghaire said;

“This has been for a long time a significant issue as regards the Building Trades, however, I know that it is creeping into other forms of employment, including in IT, and many employment agencies. In January of this year, ICTU calculated that this loss is at roughly €80 billion per year, or circa €680 billion since 2007.

“Bogus self-employment allows the company to make an illegitimate saving on tax and employers PRSI, a figure which increases profit by roughly 11%, all at an expense to the exchequer.

For the worker, this can mean no entitlement to holiday pay, sickness or maternity benefit, or even pension contributions. No redundancy, no notice of termination, and no recourse when it comes to a case of unfair dismissal.

“The “eRCT” (electronic Relevant Contracts Tax) system was introduced in 2012 by Minister Noonan in order to clamp down on the black economy, however in ways it has consequently facilitated employers in declaring workers as self-employed instead of the proper designation of employees.

“What’s more in some instances, it forces many individuals to engage directly with the revenue themselves, which can be very complex, and often causes significant difficulties and errors, and can end up leaving workers effectively out of pocket. These types of contracts are archaic in nature, must be buried for good, and mechanisms that create a disincentive to exploiting workers must be enacted.”

Deputy Ó Laoghaire also raised the need for redundancy reform:

“Unfortunately, Workers having to sit in to secure basic statutory rights, and redundancy that they were entitled to, was a hallmark of industrial relations during the term of the last Dáil.

Workers upon being made redundant do not have adequate protections, and I would urge the Minister to act on this. The German model of redundancy with payments approximate to pay and complemented by training is worth considering.”

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