Wednesday, 19 December 2018
Employment (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill 2017: From the Seanad
While that sounds incredibly reasonable, the difficulty is that there is an amendment and a subsequent one in the Bill that do not allow me the time to commence them after a couple of months or even after a public consultation process. There is an amendment in the Bill that includes a date, after which the Bill cannot be commenced. Originally it was six months, but we had an argument and now it is three.
I thank the Deputy for respecting my word. I am the daughter of a shop steward and did not grow up in a house that did not have the struggles the people about whom we are talking and whom Solidarity-People Before Profit proclaims to represent have. It is not unique in the knowledge it possesses. This is groundbreaking legislation and I am glad that today collectively we are passing it, but there are other issues and challenges, of which I am totally aware. It is not a surprise that the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection has a difficulty with this section. I cannot tell the Deputy anymore than what I am telling him. My bona fides are sincere. I want to address this issue and we will address it, but I cannot do so without knowing its size, scope and different pieces. I will not address one bit of it and then suddenly discover that people want to be self-employed and are co-operating because coercion can happen in an arrangement where one person has the upper hand. When we introduce penalties, change how we conduct inspections and introduce different social insurance classes for persons who are self-employed, it will all collectively resolve the issue for now. However, we all have to genuinely respect the fact and understand the world of work is changing and that in ten years' time, the Deputies who will be lucky enough to be in this House representing their constituencies will be faced with an entirely different world of work. The gig economy will probably be so commonplace we need to ensure the legislation we bring forward today will actually ensure the employment rights we want people to have will continue to be as robust as they will need to be into the future when the world of work changes.