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Sinn Féin call for regulation of au-pair sector – Quinlivan

13 July, 2016 - by Maurice Quinlivan TD

Sinn Féin spokesperson on Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation Maurice Quinlivan TD has called for regulation of the Au-Pair/domestic worker sector in Ireland.   Speaking during debate on the Fianna Fáil Au Pair Placement Bill 2016, Deputy Quinlivan said:

“Sinn Féin favours the regulation of the Au-Pair sector, but we do not feel the Au Pair Placement Bill 2016 achieves this.

“The proposed Au Pair Placement Bill 2016 will undermine domestic worker’s rights and creates a flawed and unnecessary hierarchy of rights within the sector.

“The proposed definition of au pair within the Bill is very vague and lacks clarity. The Bill fails to provide a clear definition of ‘light housework/or light domestic duties’.

“This is a key weakness that has been exposed in other jurisdictions that have au pair schemes.

 “A critical point is that the Bill will have a very narrow applicability as it proposes ‘no more than a 30 hour working week’.

“The Bill will also require resources in order to establish and run an Au Pair Accreditation Council.

“This Council is to be tasked with the protection of the rights of au pairs. However, such a body already exists in the Workplace Relations Bodies.

“We believe this proposal undermines the work of the WRC. Clearly, the sector needs to be regulated.

“The Bill proposed by Fianna Fáil’s to categorize au pairs as ‘cultural exchange participants’ will result in a domestic workers scheme that creates an underclass of migrant domestic worker removed from the reach of labour law protections.

“This is not acceptable as migrant women are more at risk of poverty and suffer more in relation to the gender pay gap.

“Addressing the exploitation of au pairs requires enforcement of existing law, aligning labour migration and employment policy, and sectoral employment orders.

“This Bill is ill conceived; it is lazy sloppy legislation that is not fit for purpose.” 

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