Ceisteanna — Questions. Oral Answers. - Employment Equality Legislation.


asked the Minister for Labour if he has any plans to review and up-date the employment equality legislation.

A review of the employment equality legislation has been carried out by my Department and proposals and options for the amendment of the Anti-Discrimination (Pay) Act, 1974 and the employment Equality Act, 1977 were put forward in a discussion document on labour legislation which I published on 30 November, 1987. Submissions from interested parties were to be made to my Department by the end of January, 1988. All submissions will be carefully considered by my Department.

Would the Minister consider extending the scope of the amendments to the legislation in line with what the Employment Equality Agency are recommending? Would he consider extending the scope of the legislation to cover contract workers and access to goods, facilities, services and education? Will he shift the onus of proof in the equality area to the employer rather than the employee? Will he include pension benefits in the definition of remuneration in the 1974 Act? These recommendations have come from the agency which has monitored equality legislation over the past ten years. Has the Minister an open mind in these areas?

I have an open mind and for that reason we set up the discussion group which reported fairly quickly. We gave the commitment in May and we have now issued a document. The agency is one of the organisations which have asked for a month's extension so that they can elaborate the views which the Deputy has outlined to the House. Certainly we will wait. I am not prepared to say what amendments will be introduced later this year. We are open to the consideration of any amendments.

When does the Minister expect to be in a position to bring the amended legislation into the House?

The legislation section in my Department are waiting for the report of the Employment Equality Agency. Some other organisations have also asked for an extension of time. As soon as we have those reports we will proceed with a review. In due course I will be able to reply to that question.