Seanad debates

Tuesday, 4 December 2018

Employment (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill 2017: Committee Stage


2:30 pm

Photo of Regina DohertyRegina Doherty (Meath East, Fine Gael) | Oireachtas source

The reason the scope section is included is that it must mirror every other section in the organisation. We have deciding officers. This is what our scope inspectors do. One brings forward one's complaint and a deciding officer determines whether one is on the right classification. The reason we do not prosecute is that all we are concerned about is ensuring someone is on the right classification and that the backdated payments for the term of that employment are paid to ensure the person meets all the qualifying criteria historically to access the proper social insurance schemes should that prove necessary in future. We are more concerned about righting the wrong than putting people in the blocks for it. Perhaps that needs to change; I do not know. The reason there is a section providing for an appeal from a deciding officer's decision is exactly the same as the reason appeals are provided in respect of carer's allowance and so on. From the judicial review perspective of our Department, it provides a person with the opportunity to get a second opinion. When we have conversations like this in the Dáil, Seanad or at committees, people are often under the impression that it is the employers who appeal decisions to change an employee's designation from "S" to "A". Nine times out of ten, it is the other way around and it is a positive decision for the employee nor the employer. Either way, there is also the option to take the appeal to the High Court. That is just the way it is structured. It does not mean it is right or suitable but we must look at it in the next couple of months to determine what we want to do for the people who are being maligned and forced into self-employment against their will and what we want to do with people who are doing it with their will in co-operation and conjunction with their employees.


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