Fianna Fáil Au Pair Legislation would lead to exploitation – Ó Laoghaire
Speaking today on Fianna Fáil Au Pair Bill that was presented to the house this evening, Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire expressed his concerns at the apparent lack of thought and consideration given to this Bill.
Deputy Ó Laoghaire said:
“The fundamental point is to recognise that Au Pairs provide a service, are workers, and consequently have to enjoy minimum working conditions.
“Consequently, and Sinn Féin has been active on this issue for some time, we wish to support Au Pair workers by regulating the sector in a way that ensure that all workers are protected because, as I am sure you are all aware, many workers within this sector experience exploitation in many forms.
“This is a Childcare issue, but it is also a Workers’ Rights issue, in so much as we must ensure that the rights of these workers are protected. We must ensure that this or any legislation brought in with the same intention, will not allow other domestic workers to be undercut, and allow any category of workers to have protections lesser than exist in the Industrial Relations Act 1990. The under resourced Workplace relations commission is needed to ensure that rights are enforced.
“The current situation allows opportunity for those Housing Au Pairs to avail of a cheap childminding service. We cannot allow the interests of families and agencies to trump that of the workers.
“Indeed, even aside from Au Pairs, there is a great deal of unregulated childminding, some of which is relatively benign, but some of which involves exploitation also, and childminders being paid under minimum wage also, and this affects migrant and non-migrant workers. This is an issue I believe we should return to.
“It needs to be considered, with regard given to the opinion of stakeholders. Clearly, this was not done in this instance, as displayed by stakeholder’s opposition to this Bill.
“We cannot support this bill because of our fears it would lead to exploitation.”