Thursday, 18 February 2021
Covid-19 (Enterprise, Trade and Employment): Statements
I want to raise the issue of bogus self-employment, which he will be aware of. The pandemic has exposed the nasty and disgusting nature of bogus self-employment within this State. We know that those workers misclassified as self-employed receive reduced entitlement to social welfare but also they do not have access to the same level of sick pay. We could debate all day the adequacy of the sick pay arrangements but these people have none. The recent judgment regarding the Domino's workers shows that cognisance has to be taken of the actual relationship and not just the contractual relationship. Many of these people are given a bicycle and a navigation system, patted on the back and told they are an entrepreneur now but the pandemic has exposed the real need for action to be taken on this area. We know that this is a playground for unscrupulous employers. I use the word "unscrupulous" but I have others that I would use for those employers. Effectively, they have workers but they do not have any responsibility. That puts decent employers in a very invidious position. It allows unscrupulous employers to get away with extremely poor treatment of their workers and in the middle of a pandemic when we cannot have a significant cohort of workers in a situation where they do not have access to a sick pay scheme. Will the Minister outline what his Department is and will be doing to tackle the issue of bogus self-employment, especially in the gig economy where we all saw recently the implications for the workers in that area?