Thursday, 26 February 2004

Questions (17)

Trevor Sargent

Question:

14 Mr. Sargent asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the reason persons providing personal services in domestic settings are excluded from the definition of employee in the Equality Bill 2004 and therefore from the protections afforded under the Bill in relation to harassment; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [6372/04]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform)

Section 3 of the Equality Bill, as passed by the Seanad, provides a new definition of "employee" to include, where the context admits, members or former members of regulatory bodies as required by the directives and to exclude, with respect to access to employment, persons employed in the provision of personal services in another person's home affecting the private or family life of those concerned. For clarity, section 3 of the Bill also includes the following definition "personal services" in relation to such services, provided in a person's home, includes but is not limited to services that are in the nature of services in loco parentis or involve caring for those residing in the home".

This limited exclusion replaces more broadly based exclusions of employment in domestic settings in the Employment Equality Act 1998 and is intended to strike a balance between the rights of a person to private and family life with the right to equal treatment in employment. The Bill does not exclude from the protections against discrimination afforded persons who are employed in the provision of personal services in domestic settings. The provisions of section 8 of the Bill, which enhance the protection available to employees against harassment, apply fully to persons employed in domestic settings.