Laois TD Brian Stanley says his party have brought forward to legislation aimed at tackling ‘bogus self-employment’.
This is an issue which the Public Accounts Committee, chaired by Sinn Fein’s Stanley, has focused on recently.
Bogus self-employment arises where employers wrongly misclassify workers as self-employed rather than direct employees.
This results in labour cost savings of up to 30% for the employer and a loss to the PRSI-based Social Insurance Fund, as well as creating a significant competitive advantage over ‘compliant’ companies.
He said: “Bogus self-employment has long been an issue for workers and for the economy as a whole.
“Whether it’s in the construction sector, hospitality, the media or anywhere else, it has become a major financial problem for workers and the state.
“Many workers are being pressured into bogus self-employment contracts across these sectors where the worker loses out on sick, paternity or maternity leave pay, redundancy payments, annual leave, public holiday pay and the employer pays no PRSI to the State.
“For many workers misclassified as self-employed, it is a shock to them years later when they find out they have less entitlement to social welfare supports such as a pension.
“Bogus self-employment also puts an unfair disadvantage on those employers who have their workers correctly classified as employees and pay their portion of the PRSI contributions.
“The State is also a significant loser due to bogus self-employment due to huge losses in PRSI contributions meaning serious consequences for the public finances.
“The surge of bogus self-employment costs the Exchequer hundreds of millions of euro a year.”
The Irish Congress of Trade Unions have previously told Mr Stanley’s committee that the practice of bogus self-employment could be costing the state €240 million a year in the construction sector alone.
Mr Stanley continued: “In the construction sector alone, ICTU have previously put the loss of PRSI paid to the State due to bogus self-employment at €640 million over eight years. This is only one sector where we know that bogus self-employment is an issue.’’
“Sinn Féin’s Bill stands up for workers and the State. Our Bill provides a much tighter definition of what being ‘employed’ and ‘self-employed’ is and will give deciding officers much clearer guidance around making an adjudication.
“We have to make it as difficult as possible for rogue employers to get away with bogus self-employment and we need to empower officials to make the right decision.
“Action is long overdue in this area, and that is why Sinn Féin are publishing this Bill.”
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