Oireachtas Joint and Select Committees

Tuesday, 17 November 2020

Select Committee on Finance, Public Expenditure and Reform, and Taoiseach

Finance Bill 2020: Committee Stage (Resumed)

Photo of Paschal DonohoePaschal Donohoe (Dublin Central, Fine Gael) | Oireachtas source

We debated this matter at length yesterday, so I will not repeat the same arguments. However, I will emphasise two points to the Deputy. First, I expect that the process that is under way in the Workplace Relations Commission, WRC, which I understand is hoped to lead to a framework agreement on such matters by the end of the year, will be a significant step forward in dealing with the matters to which the Deputy referred. I accept the point that he made yesterday that it is not a collective agreement, but I do not believe I ever stated that it was purported to be one.

I understand the Deputy's point about this being an employment relationship between an actor, a set designer and a film or television series that is due to be made and that there is not the same continuity of relationships as there is in other parts of our economy for different kinds of work. All of that being said, the process of trying to get to a framework agreement later this year must have an effect on the matters the Deputy raised. They are best dealt with as employment relations and in the arms of the State that deal with such matters as opposed to in the Finance Bill.

Second, and as the Deputy has been good enough to acknowledge, this is an area that my officials and I have followed up on over the past two years after he raised it with me. I have with me a copy of the form that he referred to yesterday. It lays out the requirements that we expect to be adhered to in order to access section 481 tax relief. This form has not been implemented for long. If it does not begin to have the kind of effect that we want it to have, we will take further action. In what I believe was a Report Stage debate two years ago, I made the point to the Deputy that, if a tax relief was granted on the expectation of quality employment being made available, such employment should be made available. That is what led to the development of this form, which reads: “Undertaking in respect of quality employment”. We did what we said we would do in conjunction with the Deputy. If this does not begin to have the desired effect or if issues are raised with me regarding its operation, there is much that we will be able to do between Finance Bills to examine these matters.


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