Wednesday, 12 June 2019

Questions (50)

Richard Boyd Barrett

Question:

50. Deputy Richard Boyd Barrett asked the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht her plans to improve employment and working conditions for workers in the film industry following the recent debate in Dáil Éireann on the issue; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [24235/19]

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Written answers (Question to Culture)

Employers and employees in the film industry are subject to the same employment law as is every other industry and there are no special exemptions for the sector. Employees are entitled to all existing legal protections and there are institutions for reporting abuse of employment legislation.

The Employment (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2018, which was signed into law by the President in December. The provisions of this Act improved the position of workers on insecure contracts and those working variable hours by reducing insecurity and unpredictability of working hours .

The Act, which is the responsibility of my colleague the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection, delivers on the Programme for Government commitment to address the challenges of the increased casualisation of work and to strengthen the regulation of precarious employment. In a changing world, this reform helps to ensure that the legal protections for all workers will match the conditions experienced by a modern workforce and make a real difference in the lives of thousands of workers.

The Finance Act 2018 made changes to Section 481 the film tax relief and the Revenue Commissioners made the Film Regulations 2019 to give effect to these changes on 27 March 2019. The new Regulations include a compulsory undertaking by employers to provide quality employment which requires both the producer company and the qualifying company to comply with all obligations in the field of environmental, social and employment law. The producer company and the qualifying company must be responsible for compliance with all statutory requirements and have in place written policies and procedures in on grievances, discipline and dignity at work (including harassment, bullying and equal opportunity). The companies are also required to provide details of any Work Place Relations Commission decisions aligned with confirmation that any findings against the companies have been followed or an explanation where the finding has not been followed. This means that employers must provide a workplace which is free from bullying, harassment and intimidation including bullying, harassment or intimidation of workers by other workers; otherwise payment of film tax relief will be withheld.

My Department will continue to work through the Audiovisual High Level Steering Group to address issues raised in the audiovisual industry, and to support the industry and the people who work in it.